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Church’s Texas Chicken taps Focus Brands exec as new CEO

Joe Guith
Church’s Texas Chicken has appointed Joe Guith as CEO.

One of the world’s largest quick-service chicken restaurant chains has named an industry veteran as its new chief executive.

Church’s Texas Chicken named Joe Guith as CEO, effective August 1, 2022. Guith replaces Joe Christina, who served as CEO and president for six years, leading the company through “unprecedented times for the restaurant industry and driving the brand’s continued expansion, adding hundreds of restaurants around the world,” according to a release.

Guith joins Church’s Texas Chicken from Focus Brands, where he was restaurant category president overseeing a portfolio of over 1,500 restaurants across the Moe’s Southwest Grill, McAlister’s Deli, and Schlotzsky’s brands.  Previously, he held brand president positions at McAlister's Deli and Cinnabon.

Earlier in his career, Guith served as general manager of the KFC South Territory, a region that included more than 1,500 restaurants, 200-plus franchisees, and system revenues of $1.5 billion. He also served in several roles for The Coca-Cola Company in a global capacity.

“As a strategic leader with extensive category expertise, Joe’s proven track record supports our efforts to build upon the brand’s strong foundation to drive future success,” said Anand Gowda, founder of High Bluff Capital Partners, which owns Church’s Texas Chicken along with various alternative investment funds managed by FS Investments. “His expertise in operating restaurants, combined with his passion for growing brands, accelerating digital capabilities and developing high-performing teams, will be incredibly valuable to the Church’s Texas Chicken system.”

In addition to continued growth, Guith’s priorities at Church’s Texas Chicken will be to lead insights-driven investments in technology to mirror evolving consumer behaviors, such as an enhanced digital customer experience, including a new mobile app and loyalty program.

“With a strong base of domestic and international franchisees and a number of strategic growth initiatives on the horizon, this is an exciting and defining time in this great brand’s history,” said Guith. “I look forward to expanding the brand’s footprint so that Church’s Texas Chicken continues to thrive and reach new customers across the globe, particularly in new major markets abroad.”

Founded in San Antonio, Tex., in 1952, Church’s Texas Chicken, along with its sister brand Texas Chicken primarily outside of the U.S., is one of the largest quick-service chicken restaurant, has grown to more than 1,500 locations in 26 countries and global markets and system-wide sales of more than $1 billion.

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