If it’s results you're after, this is your team.
This is a group of hospitality specialists, each with 25 to 45 years of real world experience running businesses. In the trenches. We are CEOs, CPAs, CTOs, CCOs, analysts, chefs, strategists, planners, organizers, communicators, researchers, branders, trainers, marketers, and leadership builders.
It’s not our job to make suggestions and wish you luck. We join your team, involve you in assessing your business and uncovering paths to improvement. From what we learn together, we help you devise and execute tactics to optimize every facet of your organization.
Give us the opportunity to help reinvent, improve and evolve your brand. You’ll see the results in your people, performance and profits.
Fred is the founding and managing partner of RTS. LeFranc’s aptitude in strategic planning, leadership training, and business development has helped numerous companies achieve increased sales and profits.
His expertise is in strategic planning, organizational development, executive coaching, performance management, marketing strategy and technology-based systems enhancement. Mr. LeFranc’s 4 decades of hospitality experience includes stints as COO, CEO board member and President of numerous hospitality and technology brands, including Flat Rock Grille, Ruby’s Diner, Fishbowl Marketing and Louise’s Trattoria. His admirable turnaround for Louise’s, which involved design, concept development, food production, IT systems and operational executions, was chronicled in Inc. Magazine.
Alex Birnbaum is a results-focused technology consultant who provides CIO and IT advisory services to hospitality and healthcare companies. His expertise includes strategic planning, architecture, business process engineering, IT governance structures and operational systems efficiency improvements.
From 2010 to 2014, Alex led the Information Technology department for Craftworks Restaurants and Breweries Group, where he transformed IT from a back-office function to a strategic partner with operations and marketing during the merger of Rock Bottom Restaurants and Gordon Biersch Restaurants.
Prior to the merger, he was Senior Director of IT for Gordon Biersch from 2000 to 2010.
Since then, Alex has been helping numerous companies address a range of IT-related issues in such areas as strategic analysis, project management, mobile technology, ERP systems and vendor management.
With roots in operations, Alex is committed to finding low-cost, high impact technology and process changes that boost efficiency and profitability.
David Farkas has covered the restaurant industry for nearly 25 years as a food writer and reporter. He has published hundreds of trend stories, profiles, and case histories about independent and chain restaurants in a variety of consumer and trade publications.
Farkas leads social media efforts at Results thru Strategy, which includes the consortium’s strategic communications on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other digital outlets. David works as a freelance writer specializing in food and restaurants. His experience includes senior editor at Chain Leader for 12 years as well as features editor for Restaurant Hospitality for 10 years and restaurant critic for The [Cleveland] Plain Dealer, Ohio’s largest daily newspaper, for 5 years. Farkas has won nine writing awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE).
Doug Fiedler is a well-traveled food-and-beverage and training executive. He specializes in strategy development, people development, and process analysis.
Fiedler has worked with some of the most prestigious brands in the world, including United Airlines, Ritz-Carlton, Marcus Hotels and Resorts, HEI Hotels, Great Wolf Resorts, Marriott International, Phillips Foods, Foster’s Wine Estates Americas, Audi of America, and Mercedes-Benz USA. Fiedler held several strategic leadership roles with Marriott International. These included leading the marketing effort for Marketplace by Marriott and overseeing Marriott’s global catering sales and service operations for all brands. Fiedler has trained thousands of Marriott employees around the world.
Len Ghilani’s experience includes designing, developing, opening, and operating new restaurants and hotels. He has also developed management systems for operations, finance, and F&B.
Ghilani has opened and operated more than 275 restaurants nationwide — in both public and private arenas, and in regional, corporate and franchise environments. As V.P., restaurant division, for Morrissey Hospitality Companies and as V.P. of operation services for Parasole Restaurant Holdings, Ghilani improved financials and operations of managed restaurant concepts and developed new restaurants and F&B venues in hotels, resorts and family entertainment complexes. Len was chief operating officer of Buca Inc., an Italian casual-dining chain, opening 48 Buca di Beppo restaurants while overseeing a 400 percent growth in staff. He has also held executive positions with Einstein Noah Bagel Corp. and Chi-Chi’s Mexican Restaurants.
Briana Benson’s focus is in providing in-depth proposal research. This includes providing data collection, background information, as well as administrative support as needed for the partners at RTS.
Briana has worked on a variety of projects at Results Thru Strategy including the creation of a digital document library for Goldco, onsite data collection for Goldco and Charlotte Medical Center, and market and competitive research for Del Frisco.
Briana has a Bachelor’s in History from Western Carolina University, and in 2013 graduated with honors from University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Master’s in Library and Information Studies.
Briana lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her partner, Brent Metcalfe, a web developer and her black lab, Snow.
Laura Gosse is an online marketing specialist, helping businesses and organizations explore, harness and push the boundaries of the Internet via email marketing, online advertising, blogging, social media and webinars.
Gosse launched her career in 2001 as Creative Director for Fishbowl, an on-demand marketing solutions company dedicated to the restaurant industry, where she built its award-winning design team. She developed marketing and strategic partnership programs that resulted in sales growth of 270 percent during her tenure. In 2007, Gosse was promoted to Vice President of Marketing, where she again assembled and created the company’s first marketing department. During her tenure, she oversaw the re-branding of Fishbowl from a one-product company to a multi-product company. Through RTS, Laura has redesigned and relaunched social media programs for Chevys Fresh Mex, El Torito, Village Tavern and Hosten Snarklefords.
Lauren LeFranc is an NRAEF Certified Foodservice Management Professional who has negotiated contacts, sourced products, managed vendors, overseen inventory control and distribution, and managed multi-million dollar budgets.
She has worked in a variety of venues, including full service, fast casual, quick service and third-party operations. Lauren has consulted for Bennigan’s, BJ’s Restaurants, Freshii, Pizza Patron, Steak n’ Shake, Which Wich, and Yard House Restaurants. She also spent four years with The Walt Disney Company as Manager of Food & Beverage Sourcing for Disneyland Resort and ESPN Zone restaurants. She earlier served in several sourcing and procurement positions with Fresh Choice and El Torito Restaurants. Her product knowledge has allowed clients to trim food costs by anywhere from 100 to 500 basis points, saving them hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Deb Jones is an award-winning operations expert who brings over 34 years of restaurant experience developing and executing solutions that improve restaurant performance and sales growth.
Deb creates strategic approaches to improve restaurant routines and processes, staff training and development, restaurant financial performance, employee staffing and coaching. Previous to establishing her own consulting firm, Deb was Director of Operations for McDonalds Corporation, overseeing five markets consisting of 130 restaurants with sales of over 250 million annually. Her role encompassed direct responsibility for restaurant operations, P&L performance portfolio management of new restaurant growth, rebuilds and capital investment decisions.
Prior to this role Deb oversaw 40 company-owned restaurants in the Orlando market, including responsibility for several high-volume McDonalds restaurants at Walt Disney World. Deb has won numerous awards while at McDonalds Corporation, including the coveted Presidents Award, given only to the top one percent of employees.
Steve Levine is focused on helping companies understand how the market perceives them, and enhancing or altering that perception by strategically targeting and influencing customers.
He defines, creates, communicates and motivates; his mission is to help you persuade your market that your brand is worth getting to know. He has worked with numerous restaurant brands over the years, including Arby’s, Ed Debevics, Orleans, La Salsa, Ruby’s Diner, Flat Rock Grille, Sweet Tomatoes, Friendly’s and Hamburger Hamlet. His involvement ranged from collateral and menu design to multiple-media advertising campaigns to brand overhauls. Steve has earned dozens of awards for campaigns in brand identity, rebranding, packaging, direct mail, print advertising, collateral materials, radio, outdoor and web design. Levine is a member of the New Mexico Advertising Federatio
Michael Lukianoff is an innovative and trusted adviser, providing strategic and tactical guidance to some of the industry’s largest and most reputable companies.
An expert in applied econometrics, price elasticity, forecasting, and asset management, Lukianoff has also invented unique statistical approaches to site selection and media allocation. He is a registered co-inventor of two patents. Lukianoff has recently been the quantitative backbone for RTS clients who required help with menu analysis, pricing, and consumer research. Mike has served many national brands, including Biscuitville, Bojangles, Boston Market, Church’s Chicken, Freshii, Friendly’s, Lawry’s, Ruth’s Chris, Think Food Group/Jose Andrés and Village Tavern. Prior to joining RTS, he served as president (North American division) of Revenue Management Solutions. Lukianoff led his division to 24 straight quarters of double-digit growth and six consecutive years of new record sales, profit, and client growth.
Laura L. Martin
Laura Martin is an econometric marketing specialist with experience across all restaurant industry segments. Her expertise includes revenue management, marketing and media mix analysis, and branding.
Before joining RTS Martin worked for Revenue Management Systems, where she delivered unprecedented revenue growth by expanding the client base while improving operating margins, profitability and cash flow. Martin helped fuel the most productive years in RMS history, and led the growth from 17 employees to over 110. Prior to RMS, Martin worked for RARE Hospitality International in Atlanta where she served as Marketing Vice President for Bugaboo Creek Steakhouse. Laura spent her formative hospitality years at Metromedia Restaurant Group where she held key marketing positions and various accounting positions within the Steak and Ale and Bennigan’s brands. Martin was an account supervisor at Fricks/Firestone advertising agency where she worked on Logan’s Roadhouse, a NRN Hot Concepts winner
Brian Marvin is an information technology entrepreneur and business consultant with broad restaurant industry experience.
He specializes in creative solutions to complex business problems. Brian has extensive knowledge in SQL, ETL, SharePoint; systems and network automation; virtualization, cloud solutions, project management, POS, back office and general information systems.
He recently developed a franchise intranet management system and business intelligence portal connecting franchisors to franchisees in a uniquely customizable manner. Brian’s consulting and technology firm helps franchises and small restaurant chains grow efficiently. Besides developing cost-effective IT solutions, his firm designs websites, maintains and measures social media effectiveness, and manages email marketing platforms. Brian was formerly a partner at Celerity Systems and Epicenter Research, where he developed Restaurant Master NX, a POS currently used by franchises, kiosks, and retail establishments.
James McGehee is responsible for the Financial Services practice of RTS. He specializes in the creation and implementation of scalable, non-proprietary financial and information technology systems that align with each client’s specific needs.
McGehee’s project work includes arranging a private placement for a small, fast-casual chain seeking a financial sponsor. James has held positions from Senior Financial Analyst to Vice President of Finance to CFO, and has worked for a broad spectrum of hospitality brands, including Hamburger Hamlet, El Gallo Giro, Ruby’s Diner, Pasta Pomodoro, Una Mas Restaurants and Chevy’s Mexican Restaurants. Among McGehee’s talents are strategic planning, financial controls, cash flow management, accounting processes, financial analysis, and insurance and payroll systems. His strengths lie in integrating systems, streamlining operations and eliminating wasteful overhead.
Mark Sutherland is President of VisionBuilders, a culinary foodservice design company. Mark’s firm has designed hundreds of foodservice facilities throughout the US as well as internationally.
Mr. Sutherland and his team specialize in creating foodservice spaces thatengage consumers and promote emotional interaction with the brand. They conduct extensive research into demand analysis, space programming, conceptual design, capital project planning, facilities and equipment assessments, project cost estimating and transition services. Their advanced capabilities include CG visualization and graphic design, which enables clients to see a photographic quality vision of a project from any angle during the design phase. Mark was formerly in-house consultant for The Compass Group, the world’s largest contract foodservice company.
Dee Pettit is a veteran brand, licensing, and design specialist who helps companies turn uncertainty into opportunity. Pettit most recently helped RTS assess a national brand in need of a turnaround strategy by reviewing its menu history and sales trends and then creating an in-store loyalty program that incentivized front-line employees.
During 22 years with Compass Group, Pettit rose from Regional Manager to Vice President. She oversaw an account volume of $90 million and developed a culinary internship program. She launched several new internal foodservice brands, designing the facilities, logos, new products, menus, and packaging for each. She also directed the creative development of Compass Group’s marketing program for the 2002 Winter Olympic sponsorship. Pettit oversaw the expansion of Caffé Ritazza into the Americas. She designed the coffee bar chain for retail, education, and business-industry venues. Pettit is a member of Women’s Foodservice Forum, Society of Food Management, Sustainable Packaging Coalition, and Transfair.org.
Frank Steed began his industry career as the doorman at the second T.G.I. Friday’s unit and proceeded to rise to Executive VP. Today, he is a leading expert at developing and rolling out domestic and international franchise programs.
Steed is currently helping a Dallas-based RTS client organize its franchise business, the fastest-growing in the Southwest. Before joining RTS, Steed was CEO of Romacorp., franchisor of Tony Roma’s. Although the chain already had a base of domestic company and franchised units, Steed signed agreements for more than 60 new international restaurants in South America, Europe, and the Middle East. As President of the Bonanza and Ponderosa Restaurants for Metromedia Group, Steed created a centralized franchise system including Bennigan’s, which was not then franchised. Within three years, Bennigan’s was 50 percent franchised through seed market programs and new area growth. Steed has also been CEO of 300-unit Country Kitchen, where he repositioned the coffee shop chain to family casual-dining by overhauling building, décor, uniforms, and menu.
Leijun Campbell brings over 25 years of business administration experience to the RTS team.
She has held every type of administrative position in her career, which qualifies her to assist just about anybody with just about anything. Among Leijun’s duties are managing travel, setting up meetings, managing projects, coordinating all events and even some bookkeeping. Before joining Results thru Strategy, Leijun operated her own firm, A Little Assistance, providing service to many clients in the Charlotte area. She is a member of the International Virtual Assistants Association.
Jim Greco, a turnaround specialist, is an expert in creating shareholder value through strategic planning, operations engineering and brand positioning. He has led several food-service businesses, most recently Newk’s, a next generation fast casual chain acquired by Sentinel Capital in 2014.
He was engaged to lead the company to accelerated growth. Prior to Newk’s, Jim led a turnaround as CEO at Sbarro, a leading Italian QSR chain with over 1,000 locations in 40 countries. He has also partnered with Sun Capital to acquire and turnaround Bruegger’s Enterprises, where he served as CEO until selling the company in 2011. The turnaround resulted in a return on investment of 13 times. Jim, who holds a law degree, also led two private label food manufacturing companies where he revitalized and grew the businesses. In 2009, Nation’s Restaurant News named Jim Operator of the Year, one of the industry’s highest honors. He is the author of several articles on management and leadership and is a frequent speaker at industry events.
Rebecca Foulk, an accomplished chef and cookbook author, has a passion for food, managing teams and creating craveable menu items that are simple to execute. Her culinary experience includes all industry segments along with gourmet retail and catering.
Most recently, Becky was Corporate Chef/Director at Corner Bakery Cafe, responsible for creation, development and menu planning of all food and beverage items for the 195-unit restaurant chain. In addition, she worked with training to ensure consistent food execution, aided with marketing and helped the chain’s vendors develop new products.
Prior to Corner Bakery, Becky was Whole Foods’ Regional Chef for the Mid-Atlantic Region, creating recipes for both store and commissary and helping to grow the data base from 50 to 1,500 recipes. Her responsibilities included oversight of prepared foods in seven stores and daily operational systems. Earlier in her career, she served as Store Chef at Sutton Place Gourmet, developing a new catering menu while driving prepared food growth by experimenting with new recipes, techniques, food items and trends. She’s a graduate of Johnson & Wales University School of Culinary Arts.
Becky’s new cookbook is “Cooking Soup to Nuts” (Dorrance Publishing). She also writes the weekly food blog Cooking Soup to Nuts.
Lynette McKee, CFE, includes executive positions with Dunkin’ Brands, Burger King, Denny’s, and Metromedia Restaurant Group, and prior to forming McKeeCo Services, was the Executive Director of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. She is considered an industry expert in franchising and is a frequent guest speaker at industry events.
She has been a member of the Strategic Advisory Board of Nova Southeastern University’s International Institute for Franchise Education and has been an instructor for the Fast Track MBA program for franchise executives at the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University. Ms. McKee was also a founding board member of both the Women’s Franchise and Distribution Forum and the Women’s Venture Program, a program to assist women with a desire to enter the franchising industry as an owner of a small business.
As a restaurant industry veteran with more than 30 years’ experience, Brenda Parker has held IT leadership roles with several brands, such as CKE Restaurant Holdings, DineEquity, El Pollo Loco, Denny’s, Taco Bell, Sizzler and Gloria Jeans. She led the Information Technology department for Great Circle Management, a Krispy Kreme and Noodles and Company franchise organization, awarded a Nations Restaurant News IT Innovation Award and a Murtec IT Project of the Year Award.
Brenda has managed large projects, system rollouts and infrastructure upgrades; built and trained IT support teams; helped companies establish steering committees, project management offices and organized cross functional teams; consulted for franchisors and franchisees of such brands as: Burger King, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, McAlisters, Grill Concepts, Peet’s Coffee and Tea, just to name a few. Brenda is a change management professional with deep roots in operations providing her with the ability to translate technical processes into understandable operation-centric applications.
Brenda is a past steering chairman of the NRA’s MIS Study Group, has served on technology advisory boards and was awarded a Committee Contributor of the Year Award by Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF).
Kevin Kulikowski is a veteran human resources executive with more than 25 years in the field. His interest in HR began “organically" while a Taco Bell multi-unit manager in Central Florida.
Since then, he has consulted both emerging brands and large companies, including Hard Rock Café, PepsiCo, Universal Studios, Walt Disney World, Darden Restaurants, Puff ‘n Stuff Catering, and 4Rivers Smokehouse.
His hands-on approach often means spending time onsite assisting frontline leaders and owners with critical human resources based initiative. His wide range of experience — in performance management, compensation plan design, development and implementation of policies and procedures, and workplace safety — enables him to provide broad support.
Kevin holds an MBA from the University of Central Florida and undergraduate degrees from Niagara University and SUNY Cobleskill.
Finance & Info Systems
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