Buffets, Inc., owner of HomeTown Buffet, Old Country Buffet and Ryan’s Buffet, announced the additions of two highly talented, senior marketing executives to its internal team. Amy LaFrank has been named Director, Calendars and Programs and Slaton Smith has been appointed as Senior Director, Field Marketing and Media, reporting to Alice Crowder, Vice President of Marketing. Both Smith and LaFrank will help fast track the rollout of the company’s marketing initiatives associated with “The Plan to Win,” the company’s strategic blueprint for growth that was rolled out earlier this month at its annual field leadership planning meeting. The plan outlines a renewed emphasis in improving the guest experience through a series of investments in better facilities, better food, and better training and support for its employees.
“The recruitment of Amy and Slaton will help us fulfill our brand promise of a rewarding guest experience and they will work together to develop programs that will make our restaurants a first choice for family dining,” Crowder said.
Slaton Smith has extensive advertising agency and client side experience with nearly 20 years restaurant field marketing experience on both the corporate and agency sides of the business for companies like Denny’s, Arby’s and, most recently, T.G.I. Fridays and, as an agency executive, working on McDonald’s and Denny’s regional marketing plans. He holds a BA from West Virginia University at Morgantown.
“Slaton’s focus is on maximizing the impact our restaurants have in their communities,” Crowder said. “He will help our restaurants and field teams find the best ways to communicate with – and have an impact within – the areas in which they operate and for the guests whom they serve.”
Crowder said Smith would also be responsible for all “re-concepted“ restaurant openings. It is expected that 35-40 units will be renovated this fiscal year and 50-60 in each subsequent year.
As Director, Calendars and Programs, Amy LaFrank will serve a vital role in coordinating marketing calendars and operational efforts to maximize customer awareness of the portfolio of the brands’ offerings and to develop other engaging digital and in-restaurant programs that enhance the customer experience. She graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations/Communications. She has more than 12 years experience in increasingly responsible marketing roles at Hardee’s Food Systems and, most recently, Arby’s Restaurant Group. In these roles she oversaw brand marketing, field marketing, franchise field support, calendar planning and media buying.
“In addition to ensuring our marketing calendar runs efficiently, Amy will help shape the programs that allow us to connect to key guest segments — seniors, kids, the military, and others. She will allow us to become even more relevant to the guests we serve,” Crowder.
Buffets, Inc., the nation’s largest steak-buffet restaurant company, currently operates 357 restaurants in 35 states, comprised of 347 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, www.hometownbuffet.com, www.oldcountrybuffet.com, www.countrybuffet.com, www.ryans.com, www.grannysbuffet.com and www.firemountainbuffet.com.