Industry Leaders on the Move: Red Robin Promotes Denny Post to CEO

Denny Marie Post | Red Robin

Denny Marie Post | Red Robin

The casual dining giant, Red Robin is making some major executive changes lately– the latest movement being in the management team. Denny Marie Post has been appointed as CEO, moving up from her role as president.

She will be taking over for Steve Carley since he is retiring after being the CEO since 2010. Post has also been appointed as one of the board of directors, along with Kalen F. Holmes and Steven K. Lumpkin.

"The board is pleased that Denny will be assuming this new role and joining the board. Denny has proven to be an innovative and transformative leader and we believe she is the right person to lead Red Robin and position the brand for long-term growth," said Pattye Moore, Red Robin board chair in a press release.

Post has been with the burger chain since August of 2011 when she signed on the executive management team as the Senior Vice President and CMO. She quickly moved up the Red Robin corporate ladder with a promotion to Executive Vice President and Chief Concept in March of 2015. And last February, she was promoted to president and now less than a year later she is the CEO of the 540+ restaurant chain.

“I am honored to have this opportunity and greatly appreciate the thoughtful way Steve and the board planned the succession,” said Denny Post, Red Robin’s new CEO in a press release. “As a team, we have a tremendous legacy to build on - a strong and inspiring culture, talented leadership from our restaurants to our home office, and a collective commitment to deliver a superior guest experience. As much as we have accomplished so far, we have many more ‘best years’ to come.”

Post has held executive roles at companies in the restaurant and or the consumer industry, including as the SVP and CMO at T-Mobile USA; SVP and chief concept officer at Burger King Corporation; and as the senior vice president, Global Beverage, Food, and Quality at Starbucks Corporation.

“I’m grateful for my time at Red Robin and after working in the restaurant industry for more than 30 years I am looking forward to relaxing and enjoying my family. It’s been a real pleasure working with the many team members and I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together,” said Steve Carley, former Red Robin CEO in a press release. “Denny has a true passion for Red Robin. She has proven herself as a leader and she’s well-suited to guide the Company’s next phase of growth.”

Will the New Leading Ladies Help the Brand Recover?  

Red Robin recently appointed another leading lady in the restaurant industry to their executive management team. Carin Stutz, the former president at McAlister’s Deli was brought on board as the president and COO in May of this year.

“We are excited to have Carin on our Red Robin team, where her extensive restaurant and new concept development experience, combined with her leadership talents, will be essential as we continue building an organization focused on engaging our restaurant teams, creating memorable guest experiences and driving superior results,” said Post in a press release.

Tequila Day + Sunday Fun Day? Yes Please!

A photo posted by Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (@redrobinburgers) on

Both Post and Stutz have signed on during a brand revamp, where the restaurant is now focusing more on its bar menu with the “Take Back the Bar” program. Starting in 2012, stores have been going through a brand transformation where as there are three distinctive areas in the restaurants– one for family dining, one for 21+ and one for all.

Unfortunately, Red Robin recently reported disappointing second quarter results for this year. The net income for the restaurant chain for 2016’s second quarter was $7.6 million, a significant decrease from the $11.2 million for the same period last year.

So how does the brand plan to improve?

“Given the challenges facing our industry, we are addressing immediate opportunities by focusing on things we can control. These include increasing speed of service, accentuating everyday value, and fostering more ‘top of mind’ awareness through local marketing initiatives and a new media campaign that will launch in the fourth quarter with incremental spending in select, high penetration markets. We will also remain disciplined in allocating capital, investing in initiatives to improve performance and open new restaurants while returning excess cash to shareholders via stock repurchases,” said Carley in a press release.