Hawaiian chain taps restaurant industry veteran as it prepares to double in size this year
Mo’Bettahs, a Hawaiian fast-casual chain founded in 2008 and acquired by Savory Fund in 2017, named Rob Ertmann president. He will join the leadership team alongside co-founding brothers Kalani and Kimo Mack. The appointment of Ertmann comes as the Salt Lake City, Utah-based chain prepares to double in size by the end of 2022.
Andrew K. Smith, managing partner of Savory Fund, was impressed by Ertmann, a 25-year veteran in the restaurant and retail industries.
“After reviewing and meeting with several dozen impressive leaders within the food and beverage industry, Rob Ertmann really stood out because of his genuine personality, his humility, and his willingness to be a servant leader,” said Smith. “To talk about how, in his first 100 days in a position, he would be in the trenches with the team learning the business, and that nothing was beneath him, was a match for each of us when picking the right person to lead this incredible brand. It is how everyone at Savory operates as well; in the trenches with each brand, every day.”
Ertmann most recently served as chief operating officer at Philz Coffee, a fast-growing specialty coffee company operating out of San Francisco, Calif. There, he and his team improved store-level EBITDA by 10%. Prior to Philz Coffee, he held leadership roles at Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, where he was charged with overseeing 200 company-owned locations and +$170 million in revenue, and at Peet’s Coffee, where he managed 250 company stores +$269 million in revenue.
“Rob Ertmann joins us at such a crucial time in our business as we continue to grow into new markets,” Kalani Mack said. “His experience and multi-unit growth pedigree are the perfect fit to help Mo’Bettahs spread our authentic brand of Aloha to those customers looking for that true island taste.”
Mo’Bettahs will penetrate new markets this year, including Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas City, adding to its current portfolio of 22 locations in Utah and Idaho.
The Hawaiian menu that brothers Kalani and Kimo developed to capture their childhood memories in Hawaii is diverse. The Mo’Bettahs menu offers a selection of boldly-flavored proteins—Teriyaki Chicken or Steak Kalua Pig, Pulehu Chicken, Katsu Chicken, and Shrimp Tempura—served with white rice and macaroni salad, along with a collection of inventive sauces.
Savory Funds helps nurture emerging brands by providing them with access to 65 industry veterans, experienced in real estate, development and construction, store operations, technology, recruiting, training and finance, according to an announcement.
Added Smith, “We were so impressed with his background of multi-unit growth. He’s worked for some impressive firms, and we’re excited to see him implement a lot of his multiunit experience as we grow Mo’Bettahs into multiple new geographies and new states in the coming years.”
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