Pizza Hut franchisee AWRG names Jason Cochran CEO

Former Chipotle executive joins third-largest US Pizza Hut franchise group

American West Restaurant Group (AWRG), the third largest US Pizza Hut franchisee, named Jason Cochran CEO. With 25 years of combined retail and restaurant experience, Cochran takes the helm of the largest franchise group in Southern California and Utah.

A disruptor to legacy thinking, Cochran comes from Chipotle, where he served as vice president of operations. In the four years at the fast casual, he oversaw hundreds of new locations and operational excellence, working across teams to ensure food safety and ongoing digital transformation.

Before Chipotle, Cochran worked at GameStop for 14 years, holding several operations and executive leadership positions. His tenure included leading 3,900 US video game stores and the company’s omnichannel business, creating a $6B revenue stream.

“I’m thrilled to join the AWRG team,” said Cochran. “I believe that AWRG is poised for growth and success. Now is clearly the right time to advance business process, innovative thinking, improve customer experience and I look forward to bringing my passion for leading operational excellence across the organization.”

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At Southern Methodist University’s SMU Cox School of Business (Dallas), the incoming AWRG CEO earned his MBA.

The 272-store Pizza Hut franchise group operates in five contiguous counties, it said in a statement: central Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, North Orange County, and metropolitan Salt Lake City. According to AWRG’s announcement, 90% of the operating units in its portfolio are “highly efficient, modern delivery/carryout units that generate strong unit-level economics.”

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