Huddle House Hires 20-Plus-Year Franchise Veteran as CDO

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46-Year-Old Brand Initiates New Growth Strategies with Former Focus Brands Executive Leading Way

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Although the current economic climate may have crippled many brands’ growth strategies, Huddle House—an Atlanta-based, 400-plus-unit family diner franchise—continues to grow. Today, Mark Whittle, former Vice President of Real Estate for Focus Brands, joins Huddle House as Chief Development Officer.

“Mark Whittle has the exact experience, vision and passion necessary to take Huddle House to the next level and spark a new altitude of growth,” said Ken Keymer, CEO of Huddle House. “After the recent launch of our new exterior model and connection to a wider demographic, Whittle will be a key factor in ramping up the development of our brand both internally and externally.”

As a 20-plus year veteran of the restaurant industry and a Certified Franchise Executive, Mark Whittle has experience with a wide variety of brands including Church’s Chicken, Little Caesars and Krystal. Most recently, he served as Vice President of Real Estate for Focus Brands, spearheading site selection and overall development for four of its brands: Carvel, Cinnabon, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Schlotzsky’s. As the new Chief Development Officer of Huddle House, Whittle will be responsible for all areas of growth as a key leader of the franchise sales team. He will also focus specifically on brand development, franchise sales, recruitment, construction, and continuing to update the Huddle House model.

“I am very excited to be a part of such an iconic brand,” said Whittle, “I look forward to bringing my restaurant and franchising experience to Huddle House and further adapting the brand to the 21st century.”

When exploring the opportunity with Huddle House, Whittle saw a quality product, extensive menu and an enduring concept. The Huddle House is able to create incredibly strong community ties with small towns around the U.S., which is another factor that attracted him to the 46-year old brand.

“I’m looking forward to incorporating new characteristics into the Huddle House brand to convey a more contemporary message while still emphasizing the values that differentiate us from our competitors,” said Whittle. “Adding a new modern twist to the timeless elements and incredible history that make Huddle House a household name is just what the brand needs to propel itself into new cities and towns across the U.S.”

ABOUT HUDDLE HOUSE                                                    
Huddle House, Inc. is an Atlanta-based 400-plus-location full-service family diner chain well-known for serving “Any Meal. Any Time.” Located in 17 U.S. states, primarily in the Southeast, Midwest and Southwest, the 46-year-old franchise boasts a colorful and inviting atmosphere, reminding patrons of those friendly neighborhood diners of the past. Typically open 24-hours, the Huddle House menu features a large variety of signature items, including the Big House Breakfast, omelets, lunch platters, steaks, salads and more, all of which are cooked to order. For more information, please call 1-800-418-9555 or visit


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