Church’s Texas Chicken names Joe Guith chief executive officer

Ex-Focus Brands executive to ramp up growth of Church’s Texas Chicken, Texas Chicken

Church’s Texas Chicken and Texas Chicken named Joe Guith chief executive officer (CEO) effective August 1. Entering its next phase of growth, the chicken QSRs needed an experienced industry veteran with deep franchising expertise. Guith, seasoned in such experience, was the likely choice to accelerate the chains’ growth momentum.

Guith comes to Church’s from Focus Brands. There, he served as restaurant category president, overseeing a portfolio of over 1,500 restaurants across the Moe’s Southwest Grill, McAlister’s Deli, and Schlotzsky’s brands.

Before Focus Brands, Guith held the role of brand president at both McAlister’s Deli and Cinnabon. Both brands realized steady growth, expanded customer bases and improved unit-level economics during his tenure.

Earlier in his career, Guith served as general manager of the KFC South Territory, a region that included more than 1,500 restaurants, more than 200 franchisees, and systemwide revenues of $1.5 billion. Plus, he also held several positions at The Coca-Cola Company in a global capacity, working with franchise bottlers in six continents.

As Church’s CEO, Guith’s “priorities at Church’s Texas Chicken will be to lead insights-driven investments in technology to mirror evolving consumer behaviors, such as an enhanced digital customer experience, including a new mobile app and loyalty program,” according to an announcement.

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Guith will move into the role previously held by Joe Christina, who served as CEO and president of Church’s Texas Chicken for six years. Christina led the company through unprecedented times in the industry, it noted, while focusing on continued expansion and the addition of hundreds of restaurants globally.

“As a strategic leader with extensive category expertise, Joe’s proven track record supports our efforts to build upon the brand’s strong foundation to drive future success,” said Anand Gowda, founder of High Bluff Capital Partners, which owns Church’s Texas Chicken along with various alternative investment funds managed by FS Investments. “His expertise in operating restaurants, combined with his passion for growing brands, accelerating digital capabilities and developing high-performing teams, will be incredibly valuable to the Church’s Texas Chicken system.”

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