Women in the Lead 2023: Honoring 21 of fast casual’s top female leaders | Women in Leadership

In honor of International Women’s Day, FastCasual interviewed 21 female executives leading the industry.

Women in the Lead 2023: Honoring 21 of fast casual's top female leadersImage courtesy of Networld Media Group.

Happy International Women’s Day!

When I started the “Women in the Lead” series seven years ago in honor of this special day, as well as Women’s History month, it was a lot harder to find female executives to participate. Although we still have a long way to go before the number of women is equal to the number of men in c-level roles, we are making headway — and with good reason.

Even though females are less frequently in higher-ranking positions in the restaurant and hospitality industry, teams with more women in those positions perform better. That’s a fact, according to Castell Project’s Women In Hospitality Industry Leadership report, which found companies with over 30% women on executive teams were more likely to significantly outperform those with between 10 and 30%. This is especially true when comparing companies with 30% women or more to companies with no female executives.

Pretty obvious, in my humble opinion, but I always like to quote a good research study. Here’s another one, which isn’t so grand. According to an Altrata study, women lead fewer than 7% of U.S. restaurants, and fewer than 5% are hospitality CEOs.

We can do better; we MUST do better.

I hope that in the years to come, female leaders are so common that we won’t need a special day or month to celebrate their accomplishments. Until then, I want to thank these 21 leaders for sharing their advice and for their willingness to help the next class of women climb the ladder.

It starts with us.

Interviews are with:

  • Regina Cheung, CFO, Pokeworks.
  • Anchal Lamba, president, Gong Cha Tea.
  • Jennifer Schuler, CEO, Wetzel’s Pretzels.
  • Kim Ellis, CDO, Scooter’s Coffee.
  • Jodi Boyce, CMO, Teriyaki Madness.
  • Donna Golik, chief brand officer, Chill-N Nitrogen Ice Cream.
  • Julie Davis, VP of franchise development, Salata.
  • Denise Pedini, CMO, Newk’s Eatery.
  • Katrina Guevara, director of marketing, Mo’ Bettahs Hawaiian Style Food.
  • Kim Freer, chief marketing officer, Wetzel’s Pretzels.
  • Julie Wade, senior director of marketing, Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe.
  • Lauren Lumbley, senior director of marketing, BRIX Holdings.
  • Julie Canseco, RDN and COO and co-founder, Main Squeeze Juice Co.
  • Leslie Monson, EVP/CMO, Ballard Brands.
  • Abby Taylor, co-founder and CMO, Playa Bowls.
  • Marianne Radley, CMO, Smoothie King.
  • Heather Boggs, CMO, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s & The Brass Tap.
  • Jelena Pasic, founder, Harlem Shake Restaurant Group.
  • Daniela Moreira, owner and chef, Call Your Mother Deli.
  • Lauren Coulter, co-founder, Biscuit Belly.
  • Taylor Gregory, director of marketing, United Franchise Group.

Biggest professional struggle that you overcame: I exited the corporate world for five years to own and operate a franchise business (personal bucket list!). I learned firsthand the blood, sweat, and tears from operating a small business. While the underlying financial stress and daily struggles can be heart-wrenching, it was also the most fulfilling professional experience. The path back to corporate was also a struggle as I was cast as a “non-traditional candidate.” I am grateful for the people who believed that my gritty entrepreneurial spirit means I am a game changer!
Advice to women trying to move up the ladder in the restaurant industry: Seek mentorship. Build your network. Invest in yourself. Learn how to connect and empathize with a diverse group of people.
Favorite meal/item on your menu: Spicy Salmon & Shrimp + Pokeworks classic sauce and all the fixings. Let’s also add a side of spam musubi, please!

Biggest professional struggle that you overcame:I started as a master franchisee when I was 24. I had to be okay with diving into having many different roles earlier on in my career and learning on the spot from my day to day experiences. It was a vulnerable position to be in but it helped me know what kind of team I needed to build to support our business.
Advice to women trying to move up the ladder in the restaurant industry: Trust yourself and make it a point to voice your opinions. I also like to list out my career goals at the beginning of each year to remind myself where I would like to see myself in the future.
Favorite meal/item on your menu: My favorite drink is our Milk Foam Green Tea with Pearls. It comes with our freshly brewed green tea and our tapioca pearls, which sit at the base of the drink and topped with our house specialty milk foam.

Biggest professional struggle that you overcame: I believe every challenge is the biggest one until you conquer it. Each of the companies I’ve worked for had its own distinct strategies and headwinds that impacted their growth. If I had to single one out, the biggest challenge was transitioning from a ubiquitous brand like Blockbuster to growing Panda Express, which had 800 stores located primarily in the West Coast area at the time. Growing an unknown brand successfully into new territories required strategic analysis. For me, that’s my favorite part! With 800 stores at the time, Panda Express was rich in data. Similarly, Scooter’s Coffee is also rich with data as it approaches 600 stores this year.
Advice to women trying to move up the ladder in the restaurant industry: My advice to women who are trying to be successful in any industry is to be passionate about what you’re doing. I’m blessed that I landed in an industry I love. I enjoy the strategy, real estate, construction facilities, and design aspects of the job. Success comes from the relationships that are built over the years. Franchising is an extremely small industry and I’m proud to have worked with so many amazing colleagues. Each person is passionate about our industry and it’s what continues to drive our commitment to retail.
Favorite meal/item on your menu: I’m a big fan of our Americano! My newest favorite is our birthday cake latte with an everything bagel in the morning. My afternoon go-to is any flavor quencher and those red velvet cake bites! Yum!

Biggest professional struggle that you overcame:Understanding as the CEO that there is a duality you have to hold- being very forward-looking, and setting a vision for the organization based on: the place the organization needs to be several years from now, and balancing that with “always coming back around.” When you have that vision, you can’t always run so far ahead that the rest of the team loses sight of where you are going — that idea of always circling back with the team leading from behind. You are only going to go as fast as the slowest member on your team so constantly circling back to make sure you are bringing people along with you.
Advice to women trying to move up the ladder in the restaurant industry: Recognize that you might bring a new model for leadership that is different than what your organization has seen before or what you see out in the world. There are still so few women in the c-suite, but recognizing that difference of approach might actually be the thing that is unique about you — your “superpower.” Rather than trying to conform to be more like what you see in the world, think about what you are trying to create in the world and foster that within you.
Favorite meal/item on your menu:Our new Choco Churro Bitz is the perfect delicious indulgence.

Biggest professional struggle that you overcame:Probably going from companies with large budgets to more of a startup budget. Learned how to be very scrappy and prioritize projects that will have the greatest ROI and be the best bang for our buck.
Advice to women trying to move up the ladder in the restaurant industry: Work hard, speak up and state your worth when appropriate (don’t wait around for raises/promotions — ask for them).
Favorite meal/item on your menu: Spicy Tofu Power Bowl! And I’m a carnivore, but it’s delicious! Teriyaki Chicken Power Bowl and Spicy Chicken Power Bowl are tied for second!

Biggest professional struggle that you overcame: My biggest struggle happened just before our first store opened in Pinecrest (Miami) 10 years ago. I have always been an entrepreneur and owned several businesses, but never in the food industry. My son, Daniel, brought a new, exciting Chill-N Ice Cream concept idea home. My husband and Daniel began to work on this concept together with another friend in the garage. At this point, I had not been involved in this new business venture, other than tasting the most amazing ice cream I had ever tasted before!
Unfortunately, a few months before the first Chill-N store opening, my husband passed away. I immediately stepped into this role to support my son and family. I have always loved to cook — with a passion for desserts — but this role in the food industry was a new challenge for me. I relied on my business background and hard work to navigate this new field. It has been different and exciting and has turned out to be an amazing blessing for me personally and for my family.
Advice to women trying to move up the ladder in the restaurant industry: I believe that women are amazing at multi-tasking, communication, networking and problem-solving. Use these skills and have confidence in yourself and be decisive. Pick up the phone and don’t rely on emails. I believe, now more than ever, you must reach out and be proactive to set yourself and your company apart from the competition. Use networking and communication to become a part of the community. Be generous and give back to the community that you serve. Lastly, be diligent in knowing your P&L and unit-level economics of your business.
Favorite meal/item on your menu: Cuban Coffee Ice Cream + Heath Bar + Hot Fudge

Biggest professional struggle that you overcame: Self-doubt. I didn’t have the pedigree my colleagues did. I forewent the educational opportunities offered to me after high school because I wanted to serve my country through the military. So, for a long while, I had a difficult time recognizing my value next to an amazing peer group that was predominantly male and who mostly held advanced degrees. I was WAY out of my depth — or so I thought. 25 years later it’s fun to laugh at my stumbles and feel triumph in my successes in leading others through their moments of self-doubt. What I thought was my biggest struggle has given me the opportunity and joy to be a better mentor and leader.
Advice to women trying to move up the ladder in the restaurant industry: Never ever give up. When you don’t feel you’re making what you’re worth and are not being recognized for your talents; struggling to make rent and put food on the table…do not give up; I promise it will be worth it. Stick with it. Never abandon your ethics and guiding principles. You can be in business and lead without abandoning your moral compass. Nearly one in three American’s first job is in the restaurant industry. Imagine what our industry could achieve if we properly developed and retained that workforce. Every day you need to remember that every interaction counts.
Favorite meal/item on your menu: We don’t have a traditional menu at Salata and focus instead on creating fully customizable salads and wraps with more than 50 fresh ingredients, so my favorite combination changes all the time. At the moment, I’m really enjoying our new pickled vegetables and especially our new Dill Pickle Salad that features the pickles and our fan favorite, Fresh Herb Vinaigrette dressing.

Biggest professional struggle that you overcame: When I decided to have children, I was conflicted on how I could be a great mother and be successful in my career. I wanted to be great at both and didn’t know how I could do it. I decided to leave my full-time job for a short time so I could focus on being a mom but, I found ways to keep myself in the game. I had lunches with peers and mentors in the industry, often with a baby in tow. I also consulted part time at companies that needed an extra hand. This kept me involved in what I loved to do while also being a present mom at home. This allowed me to gain confidence that I can do both while maintaining the level of quality I expect of myself at being both a professional and a mom.
Advice to women trying to move up the ladder in the restaurant industry: Observe, listen and learn. Take advice from your leaders and find mentors in the industry that will help guide you along the way. Sometimes it’s as easy as asking someone on Linkedin to lunch that is in the same industry and career path that you want to follow. I would also take risks and seek new challenges and experiences. Take jobs not necessarily based on the salary but on what experience you can gain for the next big opportunity.
Favorite meal/item on your menu: Newk’s Favorite salad with a cup of tomato basil soup.

Biggest professional struggle that you overcame In my early years: I struggled to find my voice among the many giants that surrounded me. My daily reminder is to simply work hard, put in the time, show dedication, and remind myself I have what it takes to drive the business forward, no matter how hard the challenge. My voice matters.
Advice to women trying to move up the ladder in the restaurant industry: Learn to multiply the strengths of everyone around you. Study how every department functions. Most importantly, partner with your operations teams. Earn your stripes with the front line and nurture the team you are a part of. You will learn so much more together than on your own. Don’t let boundaries stop you from bringing that brilliant idea to life. Just because it has not been done, does not mean you can’t dare to. The restaurant world is so cluttered, but the best way to define your career will be based on the beautiful moments you create to stand apart and disrupt the industry.
Favorite meal on your menu: Mini Plate of Teri Steak & Katsu Chicken with POG Juice!

Biggest professional struggle that you overcame: When I started in the restaurant industry, the lack of female representation and leadership was unmistakable. Attending a franchisee meeting was a constant reminder of the imbalance, as it was common to be the only woman present, and still one of the few places I’ve seen a line for the men’s restroom. Instead of looking around and concluding ‘I don’t belong here,’ it told me that I was exactly where I needed to be. Now, 15 years later, I’m proud to have joined the c-suite of a female-led company that believes in breaking barriers and helping to raise others up. Through the Wetzel’s Pretzels Access to Equity Program, we’re on a mission to make franchise ownership more attainable for women and minorities, creating a pathway for aspiring entrepreneurs from all backgrounds.
Advice to women trying to move up the ladder in the restaurant industry: Be your own best advocate. Find a mentor you can learn from. Create a network of like minded women you can grow with. And, when you’re the lone female in a meeting, remember that your voice matters even more. So, speak up and use it.
Favorite meal/item on your menu: Pizza Bitz dipped in pizza sauce. Now that’s a dynamic duo!

Biggest professional struggle that you overcame: Two times in my career my position was eliminated. Both times I was devastated and wondered what the future held, but in both situations I ended up with a better position than what I had.
Advice to women trying to move up the ladder in the restaurant industry: I always advise women to learn everything they can about their brand and the industry as a whole: marketing, people ops, development, tech, finance, etc. The more holistic background you have, the more valuable to the organization you become. I’m not advocating the “Jack of all trades, master of none” strategy, but instead, stay grounded in your home field, and use every opportunity (cross-functional meetings, inter-departmental projects, etc.) to learn about other facets of the business.
Favorite meal/item on your menu: Salmon Feast with basmati rice and grilled veggies; our salmon is sushi-grade and the same filet you’d see on the menu at other restaurants for twice the price — it’s the best value on our menu and one of the tastiest!

Biggest professional struggle that you overcame: Being a people pleaser who is driven and taking over too many responsibilities. I enjoy working cross-functionally as a team, and at times I would be too enthusiastic when taking on action items. I would handle as many tasks for the group as possible, thinking the more I did for the team, the better we would be. By doing this, I wasn’t allowing my team members to use their strengths and abilities for the team’s benefit. Then struggling by stretching myself too thin as I was completing too many things at once. I realized having a rockstar team to split action items is always the best solution to ensure mistakes aren’t made and deadlines weren’t missed.
Advice to women trying to move up the ladder in the restaurant industry: Hard work is noticed — maybe not immediately, but be someone who others can rely on, put in the extra time, and be assertive. Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is an inevitable part of success — you learn and keep moving forward to challenge yourself. The challenges you confront will only make you stronger and help you achieve your goals.
Favorite meal/item on your menu: I want all the sweets — swirling the highest froyo creation with unlimited toppings to our Monster Mash Sundae!

Biggest professional struggle that you overcame:Like most people, 2020 was a challenging year. When COVID hit, we naturally feared for our future and the future of every franchisee who believed in Main Squeeze. On top of that, I had just found out I was pregnant with my first child. Not only did my position change from full-time to remote basically overnight, but our store operations also did as well. Added PPE, cleaning materials, hand sanitizer stations, new cleaning procedures, added employee health screenings, and so much more. Thankfully, our team had already integrated an online project management platform just a few months prior, so we were prepared for our remote collaboration and project management from day 1 (I have never been more thankful for that investment!). We launched a curbside order platform in record time. We also took this opportunity to give back to our healthcare workers and donated 10,000 products across Louisiana and Texas. Our franchisee partners were so incredible throughout that year — we all truly banded together to ride the storm of 2020. That persistence paid off — not a single store shut down temporarily or went out of business in 2020. It’s truly one of our team’s most proud accomplishments!
Advice to women trying to move up the ladder in the restaurant industry:Your work ethic should match the job you want, not the job you have. Nothing proves your leadership abilities
like seeing it in action.
Favorite meal/item on your menu: My go-to has always been our Plant Power smoothie. I always ask to elevate w/ veggies so I can get some extra vitamins (I have a 2-year-old to chase
after hours). But more recently with the colder weather, I’ve been addicted to our 100% plant-powered Spicy Breakfast Sandwich paired with a Vitality Juice.

Advice to women trying to move up the ladder in the restaurant industry: Don’t underestimate your experience, knowledge or your worth. I’ve talked to many women in the industry over the years that didn’t apply for the next level position because they felt as though they didn’t check every box in the role requirements. If you are capable, have a strong track record of success in your past and are up for a challenge, apply and make your case. Too often women may sit back without acting — do not let doubt creep in. I encourage those wanting to climb the ladder to be bold, brave, apply and rise to the challenge. You’ve done it before and you will do it again at the next level. Also, find your power pack! There are other women in various areas of the restaurant industry whom you can bounce ideas off of and/or seek advice. In a predominantly male-led industry, it’s important to help other women learn and climb. I believe in “Lean-In ” Circles. It’s our job as female leaders to practice leaning in by helping other women move upwards and onwards.
Women bring intuition and empathy to the table. This is so critical in all of our businesses when we are making decisions that will impact our brands. Women are the largest group of decision-makers in the consumer set when making restaurant selections. That’s why we must constantly work to ensure the female voice is heard — from menu design to interior design and everything in between — women bring a different layer of thought to the decision-making process. I encourage women to continue providing that empathetic and intuitive insight to your teams and boardrooms to ensure female thoughts and voices are heard throughout all dining experiences.
Favorite meal/item on your menu: I love the flavorful and seasonal offerings in our PJ’s Coffee LTO lineups. Right now, I’m drinking our new Strawberry Rose White Chocolate Latte. And, I can’t help but pair it with some of our delicious New Orleans-inspired beignets. It’s an unforgettable combination that works any time of day.

Biggest professional struggle that you overcame: As a fast-growing franchise brand, we struggled with wanting to be present at every shop opening but realized that is not a realistic plan. The solution to that has been making sure that we virtually connect with our franchisees right before their opening to celebrate what’s to come. We truly want to join in on the excitement while making each operator feel special. We feel extremely lucky and thankful to each person who joins Playa Bowls and seeing their passion for the brand first-hand brings me joy.
Advice to women trying to move up the ladder in the restaurant industry: As a leader, mentoring younger female employees to see the great opportunities there are in franchising for themselves is a great way to influence positive change in the industry for women. Although it is scary to take that leap of faith in making bold moves in their careers, we need to take risks to see rewards. Overcoming challenges, learning from your mistakes, continuing to better yourself on a personal level and surrounding yourself with people who understand the vision is a realistic path to success. Women can do anything, and we do it with grace and that gives us an edge.
Favorite meal/item on your menu: Green Smoothie or a Custom Acai bowl with granola, strawberries, coconut flakes and peanut butter

The biggest professional struggle that you overcame: The move from being the Chief Brand Officer of a large Fortune 100 company with a very robust marketing and media budget to the CEO of a regional non-profit was the biggest professional struggle of my career. Through over 20 years of leading marketing efforts for several large CPG companies, I had developed what I thought were incredibly transformational relationships with media partners, agencies, professional sports teams and influencers. What I discovered. though, was that when I no longer had those multimillion-dollar marketing budgets or had my calls or emails answered. These relationships that I thought were transformational were actually transactional. It was a sobering experience initially, but it also helped me grow as a leader. I became more resourceful and a bit scrappier. I also developed a new sense of reverence and appreciation for those relationships that did stay strong through my time in that role.
Advice to women trying to move up the ladder in the restaurant industry: Be confident in your capabilities and know that there is always more than one seat at the table for competent women in leadership. Quiet your internal critic and embrace your internal coach, so that you are your best champion and you recognize your daily successes. Female leaders can be strong, confident, self-assured and decisive while still balancing collaboration, empathy, warmth and inclusivity into their leadership skillset.
Favorite meal/item on your menu: Peanut Power Plus Strawberry smoothie.

Biggest professional struggle that you overcame: In one of my past jobs and very early in my career, I had a team leader who unexpectedly quit her job. I was asked to step up and perform job duties that I was not properly trained on. I had to quickly learn how to use problem-solving skills, push projects forward, and become a team leader. Being put in this situation taught me to stay focused, time management, and to have confidence in my decisions. And most important is to surround yourself with a good team and provide them support and they will support you in return.
Advice to women trying to move up the ladder in the restaurant industry: My advice is to never overlook a learning opportunity. There is no job too small or beneath you, take all opportunities to learn. You should always be open-minded to mentors and be open to learning all aspects of the business. You may find out you have a passion for different roles or within different departments. Surround yourself with the most intelligent people in the industry and learn as much as you can from them. Work for companies that appreciate their people. Stay passionate, have confidence in yourself, stay focused on your goals, and put in the hard work, it will pay off.
Favorite meal/item on your menu: My favorite menu item at our Beef ‘O’ Brady’s brand is Nashville Hot traditional wings and at our Brass Tap brand is our Blackberry farm grilled cheese with a side of tots.

Biggest professional struggle that you overcame:Balancing motherhood and work. As a mother of three, and at one time a divorced mother of two, I always had a struggle with how to dedicate sufficient time and attention to both my career and my family. Growing a family and growing a business are competing endeavors, and this is especially true in the restaurant industry which we know has no 9-5 schedule! A lot of times throughout the years I had to go out on a limb and be VERY creative to make things work, and this still holds true today with my 5-year-old.
I am grateful to my co-founder Emil Radonci, my life and business partner Pedro Ramirez, my mother and all my daughters, and my extended work team for their understanding and flexibility through it all because without their sacrifice I would not be able to achieve my professional goals.
Advice to women trying to move up the ladder in the restaurant industry:We women have some special skills, so be sure to use them to your competitive advantage. Women’s emotional intelligence and communication skills are supreme and will be a huge asset to your leadership. On the same token, analyze and confront your downsides as a woman decisively. For example, especially at the onset of my career, I often had to force myself to take more risks or be less shy when bringing up ideas in a team. In the upper echelons, there is still a glass ceiling to be shattered and while we women made strides, there are still subtle microaggressions present in work teams, and this becomes especially noticeable in boardrooms. Be prepared, and don’t let that get under your skin. Instead, persevere, always believe in yourself, and create your own ladder. If nothing else works, gain experience and knowledge working for someone else, then go out and get your own. That is a surefire way to not let anyone take your crown! Regardless of anything you experience, be graceful and lead by example of fairness for all gender expressions. The world rests on our shoulders!
Favorite meal/item on your menu: I love our Impossible Hot Mess burger, paired with a side of kale salad and Cherrywine fancy soda.

Biggest professional struggle that you overcame: Learning a whole new cuisine! I’m from Argentina and had never had a bagel when we decided to open Call Your Mother. The first bagel I made tasted like bread, which I thought was great, but the overall feedback was “This doesn’t taste like a bagel.” I had to become a student of bagel history and Jewish cuisine early on. It was incredibly fun and rewarding, but learning a whole new cuisine and technique when we were trying to open our doors in a certain amount of time was definitely challenging and stressful.
Advice to women trying to move up the ladder in the restaurant industry: My biggest skill has always been my work ethic. With everything I’ve ever done, my goal was to outwork everybody else. I did this when I moved here as an Au Pair, when I was in Culinary School, and when I was cooking in kitchens. Hard work is undefeated. My advice for women trying to grow and advance would be to outwork the competition and never stop at “good enough.”
Favorite item on your menu: Chocolate Babka! I had never heard of babka until we started researching Jewish cuisine, and wow, I couldn’t believe what I had been missing my whole life! So chocolatey and rich, our Babka ratio is almost 50% chocolate to brioche-like dough — it’s a ratio I can always get behind!

Biggest professional struggle that you overcame: Dealing with Covid shutdowns is hands down the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with professionally. I had just left my easy breezy role as a pharmacist to work alongside my husband at Biscuit Belly and literally 48 hours after, all of our restaurants had to close. I’m someone who is used to having answers and love being a resource to our team for personal and professional help. During that time, we had no idea what was going on. With regulations changing almost daily, we were learning alongside our team. It killed me to watch them struggle. Many of our chefs really struggled feeling a true lack of purpose. I learned more than every what purpose offers people — including myself and my husband.
Advice to women trying to move up the ladder in the restaurant industry:Put yourself out there! Do not hesitate, make your goals known. I’ve noticed women tend to be less likely to put their hands up. GO FOR IT! We have a team of badass women at Biscuit Belly and we are better for it!
Favorite meal/item on your menu: When I’m wanting something a little spicy I go for our ‘Fire in Your Belly’ — a piece of buttermilk fried chicken over cheddar cheese, some of our Nashville Hot Sauce and our Spicy Pickles atop our scratch-made biscuits make for THE most delicious meal.

Biggest professional struggle that you overcame: Being a young professional in the workplace with a strong desire for marketing, I was given a large amount of responsibility in a short period of time. We had 11 brands that I was in charge of generating the franchise sales leads, and I managed a large team alongside that. This was a huge eye-opening experience and pushed me to grow in huge ways with management, how to navigate the Presidents and C-Suite, and marketing for franchise sales. I spent a lot of time being mentored with the amazing team we have here and soaked up as much information as I could. In a year’s time, I went from feeling overwhelmed to becoming knowledgeable in that space and began giving many others advice when attending conferences. After another great year in that role, I was promoted to director of Marketing and now feel much more prepared to take on new challenges with that previous experience under my belt.
Advice to women trying to move up the ladder in the restaurant industry: Utilize the resources you have available to you. I saw the most growth by spending time with mentors, and I say mentors plural because I had one for each area I needed to grow in. I attended conferences, watched webinars, attended training sessions, and did research online. You want to make sure you’re always learning! I also delegated in areas that I knew were not my strengths. It’s important to know you’re not on an island. There are other people and resources you can reach out to find advice. Finally, keep in mind we all have our own strengths, so take those and apply them to your role. You don’t just want to take the role and get it done, but instead, make it better than it was when you started.
Favorite meal/item on your menu: The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill: The Great Greek rice bowl with gyro meat on it and a side of pita bread and hummus. So good! Graze Craze: The Gone Grazey board, but more specifically, a cracker with prosciutto, spicy cheese, and beet hummus with a side of house-made pickles from the gourmet pickle box.

Cherryh Cansler is VP of Editorial for Networld Media Group and senior editor of FastCasual.com. She has been covering the restaurant industry since 2012. Her byline has appeared in Forbes, The Kansas City Star and American Fitness magazine, among many others.


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