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Yoshinoya Japanese Kitchen names John Gilliam CEO

20-year veteran to lead expansion plans nationwide

Yoshinoya Japanese Kitchen named John Gilliam chief executive officer. With two decades in the restaurant industry, Gilliam will lead the chain known for Japanese-style customizable bowls as it prepares to ramp up unit growth. As CEO, he’ll be charged with menu innovation, the brand’s ongoing evolution and streamlining operations.

Giliam worked at Moe’s Southwest Grill, where he held the role of vice president of Operations and Retail Technology. Before joining Moe’s, Gilliam held leadership roles at Jamba, SusieCakes Bakery and Starbucks.

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With experience in building up restaurant brands domestically and internationally, Gilliam is well-equipped to lead Yoshinoya as it expands its US presence through franchising, according to an announcement. With over 100 restaurants in California, the Japanese Kitchen brand also seeks to elevate its brand equity and promote itself as a destination for fresh-prepared bowls.

“Yoshinoya is a strong brand with a devoted fanbase and mouth-watering menu items, made from high-quality ingredients and cooked with care in our kitchens daily,” said Gilliam. Building on the company’s rebranding initiative and establishment of off-premise sales channels.

As it readies expansion plans with its recently-hired CEO, Yoshinoya is also testing a new kitchen layout designed to increase throughput and improve the customer experience.

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