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Red Robin CEO retires after disappointing year

Denny Marie Post retires as Board Chair Patty Moore takes over

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers announced the retirement of Denny Marie Post as its president and chief executive effective April 3, 2019. Red Robin saw its drive to profitability hamper sales growth during 2018. Comparable restaurant sales were down 2.6 percent, including the impact of comparing a 52-week fiscal year to a 53-week fiscal year. Adjusted diluted earnings share dropped to $1.73 in 2018, from $2.49 in 2017.

Board Chair Patty Moore is now Interim CEO. Post chose to retire after discussions with the Board, Red Robin reported.

The Board of Directors has formed a search committee to find Post’s permanent replacement. Moore has been a director at Red Robin since 2007 and became Board chair in 2010. Outgoing chief executive Post became president in February 2016 and CEO in August 2016, according to Bloomberg.

As the Red Robin CEO retires, the casual-dining burger chain will secure a new chief executive with a fair amount of urgency as it seeks to execute on its turnaround plan. Also, the company identified several key areas of challenges at the end of fiscal 2018, including labor and delivering on operational excellence through standardization.

“We want to recognize Denny for her leadership, commitment to and passion for the Red Robin brand over the last seven years in her roles as CMO, president and CEO,” said Moore. “On behalf of the board, I want to thank Denny for her contributions and wish her well in retirement,”

The Greenwood Village, Colo.-based burger chain ranks 39th on the Top 500 Burger Chain Report, according to data from food consultancy Technomic.

New leadership may be part of turnaround recipe

Off-premises sales became a golden nugget amid a flurry of disappointing financial results at Red Robin. During Q4, off-premises business rose to account for more than 10 percent of Red Robin sales during the quarter. Post will serve as an advisor during the transition period.

According to Moore, Red Robin’s sales are down 3.6 percent in the first three months of fiscal 2019, mainly due to weather, portending an even more dire situation this year. Consequently, the news also signals a time for change in top leadership at Red Robin.

“My years at Red Robin have been by far the most satisfying of my career,” said Post. “We made great strides evolving the brand and have a strategy in place which will ensure Red Robin serves generations of families for years to come. I am confident the team will continue to realize that vision.”

Photo credit: Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews

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