NASHVILLE, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE/PRESS RELEASE)--O'Charley's Inc. (Nasdaq: CHUX), a leading casual-dining company, today announced that it has named Wilson L. Craft to the position of Concept President of O’Charley’s Restaurants. Craft, age 56, will be responsible for leading day-to-day operations at the O’Charley’s concept, including the formulation and implementation of strategies and tactics designed to enhance sales, profitability and long-term growth. He succeeds Jeffrey D. Warne, who became President and Chief Executive Officer of O’Charley’s Inc. on June 4, 2009.
An executive with substantial experience in casual dining, Craft joins O’Charley’s after serving most recently as President and Chief Executive Officer of Famous Dave’s of America. Prior to Famous Dave’s, he served for three years as Executive Vice President of Operations for LongHorn Steakhouse, when it was part of RARE Hospitality International, and subsequent to its acquisition by Darden Restaurants. Wilson spent 21 years with Brinker International, where he served as the President of Chili’s Grill & Bar, President of Big Bowl Asian Kitchen, and in a number of other senior operating positions.
“In Wilson Craft we have found a proven leader with a broad skill set, an impressive track record, and deep operational experience in the casual-dining segment to guide our O’Charley’s concept,” said Warne. “We believe that Wilson will be a great fit for our Company, and that he is capable of leading an O’Charley’s team focused on growing sales through increasing guest loyalty, and improving margins as well. We are excited to welcome him to the O’Charley’s team.”
Consistent with the Company's philosophy of aligning the interests of its management with those of its shareholders, the Company has agreed to grant Craft 150,000 non-qualified stock options at an exercise price equal to fair market value on the grant date. All of these options will vest on February 10, 2012 and expire on February 10, 2015. This award constitutes an inducement award under NASDAQ Stock Market Rule 5635(c)(4).
O’Charley’s Inc., headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., is a multi-concept restaurant company that operates or franchises a total of 371 restaurants under three brands: O’Charley’s, Ninety Nine Restaurant, and Stoney River Legendary Steaks. The O’Charley’s concept includes 245 restaurants in 20 states in the Southeast and Midwest, including 235 company-owned and operated O’Charley’s restaurants, and 10 restaurants operated by franchisees. The menu, with an emphasis on fresh preparation, features several specialty items, such as hand-cut and aged USDA choice steaks, a variety of seafood and chicken, freshly baked yeast rolls, fresh salads with special-recipe salad dressings and signature caramel pie. The company operates Ninety Nine restaurants in 116 locations throughout New England and the Mid-Atlantic states. Ninety Nine has earned a strong reputation as a friendly, comfortable place to gather and enjoy great American food and drink at a terrific price. The menu features a wide selection of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, burgers, entrees and desserts. The company operates 10 Stoney River Legendary Steaks restaurants in six states in the Southeast and Midwest. The steakhouse concept appeals to both upscale casual-dining and fine-dining guests by offering high-quality food and attentive customer service typical of high-end steakhouses, but at more moderate prices.