Luna Grill Lands Former Taco Bell Exec as Chief Brand Officer – Restaurant News
Mediterranean concept Luna Grill has appointed two industry veterans, Rich Pinnella as the company’s first Chief Brand Officer (CBO) and Bob Bartlett, Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Both executives have been brought on-board to scale up the brand and accelerate growth.
Before making the move to Luna Grill, Pinnella was an executive with Taco Bell for 20 years, serving the last seven as a Vice President and General Manager. During that tenure, he directed U.S. based and International functional heads to deliver results across marketing, beverage, culinary, operations, and supply chain, through an aggressive international expansion to over 500 restaurants.
In his new role as CBO at Luna Grill, Pinnella will use his broad experience to help grow, refine and scale the Luna Grill brand. “I am energized to work with the teams, making the brand more accessible, contemporary and telling the story about our ingredient quality and scratch kitchens. People love our food, but don’t realize all the quality that goes into our clean ingredients and daily preparation,” Pinnella says.
Through multiple food, beverage, day-part launches and international development, he significantly contributed to Taco Bell’s growth from a $4 billion to more than $10.5 billion organization.
“Rich’s breadth of expertise in brand development and business model evolution is an incredible asset for us as we look to scale up in California and beyond,” says Luna Grill CEO Sean Pourteymour. “Additionally, his collaborative leadership style is a perfect fit for our culture.”
Joining Pinnella in the C-Suite is Chief Financial Officer Bob Bartlett. Before making the move to Luna Grill Bob held senior finance positions at CKE Restaurants (parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s) and Taco Bell. Bob has more recently served as the CFO at BLD Brands and Vice President of Finance at Real Mex Restaurants. Bob holds an undergraduate degree in business and an MBA from the University of Southern California.
As CFO at Luna Grill, he will oversee a variety of Restaurant Support Center functions including finance, accounting, human resources and risk management, seeking ways to streamline processes and focus on bringing best practices to the organization.
“I am eager to work with such a fantastic group of restaurant professionals to support operations and build a best in class finance and accounting function. Luna has grown rapidly from 20 to 50 locations in just a few years and our support teams are prepared for continued growth and to help drive profitability,” Bartlett says.
“We plan to expand in existing markets as well as identifying potential new markets and Bob’s team will be key to bringing prudent acceleration and growth as we go,” adds Pourteymour.
Luna Grill is a pioneer in the fast-casual segment, providing fresh Mediterranean food such as signature kabob plates, gourmet salads, appetizers including hummus and falafel, wraps, desserts, craft beer and wine in a contemporary setting. The concept has now grown to 50 locations in Southern California and the Dallas Fort Worth area.
Luna Grill also announced it is opening its 50th location on October 11, located at 121 E. Katella Avenue Suite 10 in Anaheim, California. The flagship Orange County outpost for the company built on fresh, quality, authentic Mediterranean cuisine showcases the company’s new interior style, a blend of light and airy elements with gold, silver and blue details, designed to create a transparent, interactive and welcoming environment for guests and team members.
“Opening our 50th location is a major milestone and accomplishment for us. Marking an important point on our journey to become a nationally recognized brand,” Pourteymour says.
Luna Grill Anaheim also offers diners a variety of appealing menu options such as chicken and beef filet Kabobs and numerous fresh Mediterranean salad options. “Luna Grill has always been about quality, clean food sourced from the best possible options, ensuring everyone enjoys a satisfying, energy-producing meal. We’re thrilled to bring these choices to local diners. Just another great reason to come to Anaheim,” adds Pourteymour.
The Anaheim restaurant includes a dog-friendly 500-square-foot patio, designated pick-up and to-go order areas to better facilitate online ordering and third-party delivery services and is conveniently located to nearby businesses and hotels with easy in-out access and parking.
Luna Grill is a pioneer of the “Fresh Casual” movement, providing fast, wholesome food that the whole family can enjoy. Founded in 2004, Luna Grill offers fresh Mediterranean cuisine such as signature kabob plates, gourmet salads, appetizers including hummus and falafel, wraps, desserts, craft beer and wine in a contemporary setting. The concept has now grown to 50 locations in Southern California, Inland Empire and the Dallas Fort Worth area