25-year restaurant industry veteran will play pivotal role in chain’s future growth
CiCi’s Pizza, the nation’s leading pizza buffet restaurant, announced that it has promoted Steven Jones to chief operating officer. He joined the company in May 2014 as its vice president of operation services and training.
Jones, who has more than a quarter century of experience in the restaurant industry – including leadership posts at Arby’s, Popeye’s and KFC – now oversees all of the operations and related functions for CiCi’s more than 450 corporate-owned and franchise restaurants.
“In less than a year in his vice president role, Steven made tremendous strides in helping us transform our business through improved systems, processes and procedures, so the decision to elevate him to the COO role was an easy one,” said CiCi’s CEO Darin Harris. “Going forward, Steven will be an even more integral part of our future success as we expand the CiCi’s brand both domestically and internationally.”
Jones is an accomplished restaurant executive who has served in leadership roles with five prominent quick service restaurant brands. His track record includes significant achievements in the areas of strategic planning, marketing, team building, project management, program development, profit turnaround and cost reduction.
“When I first joined the CiCi’s team, I saw the great potential the brand had for growth if we could simply upgrade some of our operational systems,” said Jones. “Now that we have put several new processes and procedures in place, we’re in an ideal position to move forward with our strategic growth plans. The next year and beyond are going to be very exciting for everyone associated with the CiCi’s brand.”
Prior to joining CiCi’s, Jones was a franchise owner in the Charlotte area of Hoodz, a company that specializes in commercial kitchen exhaust hood cleaning. Before that, he served in two officer roles for Arby’s Restaurant Group in Atlanta: vice president of operations readiness and vice president of franchise management.
From late-1994 through May 1998, Jones was director of franchise development for Popeye’s Chicken & Biscuits. Prior to that, he spent nearly five years as market general manager for KFC with Yum! Brands in the Louisville area. He spent the first 11 years of his career as a vice president with Mrs. Winners Chicken & Biscuits.
Jones graduated in 1977 from Jacksonville University with a B.S. degree in Biology Chemistry.