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Executive Ladder


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Vinnie Tracey joined Realty ONE Group as president of Realty ONE Group International.

Capriotti’s hired Jane McPherson as senior vice president of marketing.

Kerry Olson, formerly with Carlson Hotels, joined Faegre Baker Daniels as a partner in its international franchise practice.

Marcia Mead is the new head of franchise relations at Naranga, a provider of franchise operations software. She was at PuroClean.

Dairy Queen announced current Chief Operating Officer Troy Bader will be its new CEO after John Gainor retires at the end of the year. Maria Hokanson is the brand’s new chief marketing officer.

The Learning Experience COO Andrew Alfano has assumed the role of president.

Jessica Harley is KeyMe’s first chief marketing officer.

National Franchise Sales hired Ritchie Labate as leader of its new Northern California office.

Hot Head Burritos Ray Wiley, co-founder, returned as its president and CEO.

Captain D’s promoted Summer Sims to director of operations.

Restoration 1 hired Kurt Lee Hurley as vice president and director of marketing, Thomas Dougherty as vice president of sales training, James Schmidt as director of national
accounts and Dan Thrust as franchise consultant.

Randy Simon was named CEO and president of Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe added five new members to its team: Rob Collins as CMO, Pete Ward as general counsel, Paul Marsden as CFO, Jaime Denney as SVP of operations and Cheryl Fletcher as VP of franchise development strategy.


Doug Reifschneider

Doug Reifschneider

New Pita Pit marketing veep thinks fresh and flavorful

As the new VP of marketing at Pita Pit, Doug Reifschneider finds himself in a familiar place even though he and his wife moved nearly 2,700 miles from Jacksonville, Florida, to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. After spending 11 years in the same role at Firehouse Subs, he’s once again building a marketing team almost from the ground up as Pita Pit accelerates its recent growth streak.

“The similarities between Pita Pit now and where Firehouse Subs was when I started are uncanny,” he said, noting he’s had many “deja vu moments” at Pita Pit, where he hopes to share many of the same tactics that helped grow Firehouse Subs into the 119th largest U.S.-based franchisor in the Franchise Times Top 200+.

Right off the bat, that work includes investing in research to come up with a new Pita Pit-appropriate tagline and expanding the brand’s so-called owned media audience, which includes online avenues such as Facebook and Instagram, as well as a new loyalty program.

Asked which franchisors are setting the pace with their campaigns, he pointed to Arby’s “We have the meats” and Taco Bell’s digital efforts. “I love that campaign,”  he said of Arby’s. “On the social side, Taco Bell is pretty innovative in what they’ve done digitally.”

As Pita Pit searches for a new unique selling proposition, its in-house research is looking to build on its current “fresh grilled and flavor filled,” which touches on the brand’s health hook.

“You eat healthier at Pita Pit,” he said. “The challenge is from a strategy standpoint. Healthy is not usually a word anybody can own, because healthy is different to every person out there whether they’re looking for gluten-free, GMO-free or … whatever the case may be.”

—Tom Kaiser

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