Buffets, Inc., the nation’s largest owner and operator of buffet-style family restaurants, today announced the appointment of seasoned restaurant executive, entrepreneur and turnaround specialist Anthony Wedo to the position of Chief Executive Officer. With more than twenty-five years of restaurant industry experience, including a key leadership position with a Fortune 50 brand, Wedo has developed and led the turnaround of major restaurant chains throughout the U.S. His brand experience includes PepsiCo Restaurants, KFC, Boston Market, Noah’s and Manhattan Bagels, and Einstein Bros. Bagels and most recently as CEO of a firm specializing in consulting private equity and professional debt investors in the restaurant industry.
“Tony has demonstrated consistent success in a variety of settings ranging from growth concepts to brand turnarounds. He has a proven track record in revitalizing brands. His unique background makes him the perfect leader for Buffets,” said Rob Webster, Chairman of the Board of Buffets, Inc.
“I believe I’m joining Buffets and this team at the perfect moment,” Wedo said. “The balance sheet is fixed and the company generates significant cash flow which will enable us to focus on growing the brand and transforming it into something better than it has ever been. We will be fast tracking the ‘Plan to Win’ initiatives that members of this team and the Board of Directors have worked so hard to develop, and we are going to execute it successfully.”
Wedo began his career as an entrepreneur prior to joining PepsiCo as part of a new breed of young, entrepreneurial restaurant operators to help the corporate giant create a culture of nimbleness. As one of the first participants in PepsiCo’s Senior Operations Designate program, Wedo was fast tracked and quickly grew to Vice President and General Manager of the Southeast Division of KFC, overseeing more than 1,200 restaurants, 7,000 employees and $1 billion in revenue.
Following his success at PepsiCo, Wedo founded Mid-Atlantic Restaurant Systems, the largest Area Developer and franchisee of Boston Market. As Chairman, President and CEO, he grew the company over a four-year period to 160 restaurants, generating in excess of $250 million in annualized sales. He was named Entrepreneur of the Year and chosen a top 50 Employer in Pennsylvania.
Following the acquisition of Mid-Atlantic Restaurant Systems by Boston Market, Wedo held the position of Chairman, President and CEO of New World Restaurant Group. New World, with approximately 1,000 units and $750 million in system revenues, operated six unique brands, including Einstein Bros., Noah’s and Manhattan Bagel.
Most recently, Wedo has served as CEO of Mainline Capital Advisors, LLC, which provided M&A, turnaround management, advisory and executive management consulting services to debt investors and private equity sponsors in the restaurant industry.
“Tony is clearly the right person to take the leadership of Buffets, accelerate the transformation of our family buffet restaurants and position our company for a new era of profitable growth and success,” Webster added.
Buffets, Inc., the nation’s largest steak-buffet restaurant company, currently operates 347 restaurants in 35 states, comprised of 337 steak-buffet restaurants and 10 Tahoe Joe’s Famous Steakhouse restaurants. The restaurants are principally operated under the Old Country Buffet, HomeTown Buffet, Ryan’s and Fire Mountain brands. Buffets employs approximately 18,000 team members and serves approximately 100 million customers annually. For more information, visit www.Buffet.com.