Winston Churchill once famously said, “never let a good crisis go to waste.”
The executive team at Front Burner Restaurants, LLC took those words to heart during the category-crushing COVID crisis, reshaping and repositioning the company’s portfolio of concepts under a new brand – FB Society – and adopting a 360-degree approach to deliver unrivaled experiences to both their employees and guests.
The award-winning multi-concept operator – which counts among its distinctive restaurant brands Whiskey Cake, Sixty Vines, Mexican Sugar, Ida Claire and Haywire – used the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to analyze and double-down on key elements of its success. The result: a fully integrated collection of brands uniquely positioned for long-term growth and success, and a leadership team focused on WHY.
“While so many brands were forced to retract, or even shut down during the current crisis, we made a decision that Front Burner would not only survive, but emerge smarter, stronger and more cohesive,” said Randy DeWitt, who was named Chairman of FB Society. “I couldn’t be more excited about the future of our company, the brands we have created and those we’ve yet to dream of, especially knowing that my great friend and partner, Jack Gibbons, is at the helm as CEO. Jack has long been recognized for his unmatched creative energy and operational expertise that push culinary and hospitality boundaries.FB Society is in extraordinary hands.”
Gibbons was elevated to the CEO role after serving as president & chief creative officer at Front Burner Restaurants since 2008, during which he spearheaded the creation of nine nationally recognized brands, including The Food Hall Company and Velvet Taco, which was recently acquired by private equity firm L Catterton. Prior to joining Front Burner, Gibbons dedicated 25 years to transforming Pappas Restaurant Group.
“Over the last several months, we have assembled an even more dynamic leadership team with the intellectual and creative firepower needed to propel FB Society to its rightful place among the very best innovators in the country,” Gibbons said. “Dan Lawler, an integral partner to Randy and me, will continue his role as our company’s chief financial officer. And through a strategic partnership with R Circle, Rae Phillips-Luther will now serve as chief brand officer, tasked with growing emotional equity of both internal and external consumers through FB Society’s mission: to create and execute experiences never imagined.”
Gibbons added, “Jeff Carcara is the right executive at the right time to grow Sixty Vines as its CEO and I couldn’t ask for a more skilled president to grow the Whiskey Cake brand than Ray Risley.”
In the weeks and months ahead, FB Society will accelerate the expansion of its popular Whiskey Cake and Sixty Vines concepts to new markets. In addition, the company will build on its unparalleled success in launching and incubating new concepts, with the debut of SoB (Son of a Butcher) in December, followed by an imaginative new chicken tender concept, Buttercup.
Also in December, the company will substantiate its role as a hospitality thought leader with the launch of a new podcast, BTS: Behind the Society, designed to engage both the team and guests and to showcase innovators, disruptors and haymakers in the restaurant space.
“While we are fully aware that the pandemic is far from over, I’ve never been more excited about the future of our company, our brands and our team,” continued Gibbons. “Randy and I have long seen our mission as designing experiences never imagined, and while we have made tremendous strides already, I’m confident in saying ‘you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!’”