UNO Restaurant Holdings Corporation has appointed Ian Baines as its new President and Chief Executive Officer, effective January 7, 2013. Frank Guidara, the Company’s current President and Chief Executive Officer, will remain with the Company in a part-time consulting and advisory capacity until July 2014.
Ian was most recently the Senior Vice President of Strategic Innovation for Brinker International and Chili’s Grill & Bar. In this role, he oversaw kitchen and culinary innovation and led the design and construction team which, among other things, was responsible for the brand’s remodeling efforts for more than 800 company-owned Chili’s locations nationwide as well as the design and construction of the new Chili’s prototype unit.
Prior to Brinker, Ian served as President and CEO of Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill. In that role, he led the transition from corporate ownership under Darden Restaurants to a standalone private equity owned company, successfully restructured the business and established a new senior management team and support infrastructure. Ian also served as Smokey Bones’ President and Executive Vice President of Operations during Darden’s ownership of the Smokey Bones brand.
Prior to Smokey Bones, Ian worked at Brinker as a Regional Vice President of Operations for Romano’s Macaroni Grill® and Vice President of Operations for Brinker’s Big Bowl Fresh Chinese and Thai brand.
Ian initially joined Brinker after spending more than a decade at Toronto-based SIR Corp. Restaurants, serving as President and Chief Operating Officer of Jack Astor’s Bar & Grill. Earlier in his career, he served as Vice President of Restaurant Operations and Vice President of Food and Beverage for Imago Restaurants in Toronto.
Ian began his restaurant industry career as a chef working both in Toronto and London. A British native, Ian graduated from the culinary school of Westminster College in London.
Rob Webster, the Company’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, and co-founder and Senior Managing Director of Twin Haven Capital Partners, the Company’s majority owner, said, “We are extremely pleased to have someone of Ian’s caliber lead the next phase of the evolution of the Uno family of brands. Ian’s well rounded experience, which includes a strong foundation of culinary and restaurant operating skills, combined with leadership positions at both Darden Restaurants and Brinker International, two well respected companies in our industry, make Ian the perfect fit for Uno’s.”
Ian commented, “I am thrilled to be joining the Uno’s team. I am excited about the foundation that Frank and the team have built and the opportunity to partner with Twin Haven, the Company’s other owners and the management team, as we work collectively to help the Uno family of brands achieve their full potential. I feel honored to have been chosen to lead Uno’s and feel a huge sense of responsibility to do all that I possibly can to help the team achieve even higher levels of greatness for the business, its owners and for the individual employees and franchisees.”
Frank Guidara served as Uno’s President and Chief Executive Officer for almost 8 years. Rob Webster noted, “Under Frank’s leadership, the Company developed Uno Dué Go, an exciting fast-casual concept, remodeled over a third of the company-owned restaurants, introduced numerous innovative menu items and guest programs and was a thought leader in the industry in the area of nutrition. Frank is turning over the reins of Uno’s on solid footing and ready for the next stage of growth.”
Rob went on to say, “On behalf of the Board of Directors and ownership of Uno’s, I would like to thank Frank for the significant contributions he has made during the last eight years. Frank’s leadership, integrity and unparalleled work ethic have led the Company through a very challenging economic environment.”
Frank Guidara said, “I have really enjoyed getting to know Ian and believe that he has the right balance of skills and personality to continue to strengthen the culture at Uno’s. I am so proud of what the people in this Company have achieved and the financial condition of Uno’s, that I personally feel this is the perfect time for my transition to occur. I look forward to assisting Ian in any way that I can and wish him the best of luck in his new role.”