TGI Fridays adds Ray Risley, Nik Rupp to the C-suite
TGI Fridays on Wednesday announced the appointment of two new C-suite executives: Ray Risley as U.S. president and chief operating officer, and Nik Rupp as president of international markets and chief financial officer.
The news comes following the late-October announcement that Weldon Spangler would be taking over as CEO just two months after Brandon Coleman III was promoted into that role. Coleman resigned for personal reasons.
Risley joins Dallas-based TGI Fridays from emerging pizza chain Via 313 Pizzeria, where he had served as CEO since last September. In his time with that brand, he doubled its unit count. Before joining Via 313, Risley was president and COO of Front Burner Society for about two years, working with the Whiskey Cake brand, and spent 20 years with Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group.
In his new role, Risley will be responsible for “the supervision and management of the operational facets and performance standards of all TGI Fridays establishments within the United States, encompassing both company-owned and franchised entities,” according to a news release.
At the casual-dining company, Rupp will “oversee the financial strategy of TGI Fridays with an emphasis in accounting, finance, and capital structure, as well as focus on growth and managing relationships with international franchisees,” the release said.
“We have a significant opportunity to lead this much-loved, heritage brand through a revitalized new chapter, and by bringing on Ray and Nik to our leadership team, we are confident in what we can accomplish in the coming year,” Spangler said. “Not only do Ray and Nik have tremendous experience in the restaurant industry that will drive growth for our brand and our franchisees, but their enthusiasm and passion for TGI Fridays will also be a cornerstone to our vision for the company.”
In early November, TGI Fridays shared its plan for the next stage of a “transformative new phase,” including a revamped bar program. The brand also recently added a new appetizer menu with 18 offerings, including sushi, facilitated through an extended partnership with C3’s Krispy Rice.
The company currently operates and franchises close to 700 restaurants in 51 countries, with its domestic unit count having declined by over 46% in the past 10 years, according to Technomic Ignite data.