Jim Parrish, chief operations officer at HootersHooters of America has appointed Jim Parrish as chief operations officer and Mark Whittle as vice president of North American franchise development.

The Atlanta-based operator or franchisor of more than 410 Hooters restaurants, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, said both executives would play key roles in Hooters’ planned expansion of 150 new locations over the next five years, as well as a major remodeling effort.

“With their extensive restaurant experience, Jim and Mark have already been instrumental in Hooters’ growth and remodel strategies,” Terry Marks, chief executive of Hooters of America, said in a statement. “We will continue to refresh Hooters locations with our new contemporary design elements and look forward to fostering even more franchise relationships to advance our iconic brand.”


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Hooters has executed several branding initiatives this year, including a redesigned logo, the debut of a new prototype restaurant in Louisiana, and the “Step Into Awesome” marketing campaign.

Parrish has served on Hooters of America’s executive committee since April, and he will oversee the operations of approximately 190 locations in the United States and Canada. He replaces Sam Rothschild, who left to become the first vice president of franchising at Houston-based Ignite Restaurant Group in May.

Mark Whittle, vice president of North American franchise development at HootersPreviously, Parrish had been chief operating officer at Friendly's Ice Cream LLC in Wilbraham, Mass. His career also includes operations roles at Atlanta-based Church’s Chicken, where he also served as COO, and Plano, Texas-based Pizza Hut, where he worked for 28 years.

Whittle, who joined Hooters in June, most recently was chief development officer for Atlanta-based family-dining chain Huddle House. His role of vice president for North American franchise development is a new position for Hooters of America, a spokeswoman said.

Previously, he was vice president of real estate for Atlanta-based Focus Brands, which followed prior executive stints with Church’s Chicken and Detroit-based Little Caesars Pizza.

Hooters said it is on pace to remodel about 18 locations by year-end, with another 120 remodels planned over the next few years.

The brand operates in 44 states and 27 foreign countries.

Contact Mark Brandau at mark.brandau@penton.com
Follow him on Twitter: @Mark_from_NRN