Bradenton, FL (Sept. 14, 2006) – First Watch Restaurants, Inc., the nation’s fastest-growing daytime-only concept, has announced that it has named Chris Tomasso as Chief Marketing Officer.
A 13-year marketing veteran of the restaurant industry, Tomasso most recently served as vice president of marketing for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBRL) based in Lebanon, Tenn. At Cracker Barrel, his responsibilities included the restaurant-retail concept’s overall brand development, advertising, marketing, public relations, culinary research and development and e-commerce. Tomasso also was responsible for advancing the company’s music platform by negotiating strategic partnerships with contemporary artists such as Alison Krauss, Charlie Daniels, Sara Evans and the soon-to-be-released “Songs of the Year” project.
Previously, Tomasso spent more than 10 years working in various capacities with Hard Rock Cafe International – most recently as vice president of worldwide marketing. At Hard Rock, Tomasso oversaw one of the world’s most recognizable brands and helped guide the company into successful brand extensions including hotels, casinos, licensing and e-commerce.
“Bringing Chris to First Watch was the final key step in rounding out our executive team,” said First Watch President and CEO Ken Pendery. “Chris’ experience and proven success in brand development and strategic marketing will propel our marketing to the next level and further position us for our rapid growth.”
Tomasso, who grew up in the Sarasota area, is happy to return to West Central Florida and tackle the challenges of the fast-growing restaurant company. “First Watch represented an exciting opportunity and it is refreshing for me to join a company in this phase of its development”, said Tomasso. “And, I’ve always been a First Watch fan.”
First Watch Restaurants specializes in daytime dining with unique breakfast, brunch and lunch creations freshly prepared to order. Based in Bradenton, Fla., the company currently has more than 60 restaurants in Florida, Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas, Arizona, Oklahoma, and West Virginia and employs more than 1,400. Its projected annual total system sales of $65 million for 2006 make it one of the largest daytime-only restaurant companies in the country.