Ovation Brands, changing the landscape of the buffet industry with Anthony Wedo
Anthony Wedo, President, CEO and Director of Ovation Brands, parent company to popular buffet restaurants Old Country Buffet, Ryan’s, HomeTown Buffet, Country Buffet, and Fire Mountain. Mr. Wedo discusses on Enterprise Radio how he is currently leading the brands in a reinvention that are changing the landscape of the buffet industry.
- Ovation Brands is in full swing with the reinvention of its brands. Why is it necessary to reinvent buffets and who are you targeting? What are the new key components for the restaurants?
- Which markets are undergoing reinvention and what have been the initial results for these markets?
- What are the brands doing to make them stand apart from their competitors?
- Each of the reinvented restaurants is also supported with a new guarantee/brand promise. Can you speak to the “Make It Right” campaign? How is this supported inside and outside of the restaurants?
- What other initiatives are being dedicated to these reinvented markets? What markets are in line for reinvention?
Anthony Wedo, is a highly successful leader, CEO and sought after advisor in the restaurant and hospitality industries. He possesses a unique background, demonstrating success as a Fortune 50 senior executive, an entrepreneur, and a turnaround CEO. He has served as both a private and public company Chairman and CEO and has raised over $500 million of both public and private debt and equity. He has successfully led debt and equity roadshows and has conducted a successful auction as a public company CEO.
He currently serves as President, CEO and Director at Ovation® Brands, the leading buffet restaurant company in the US with $900 million in revenue, 350 restaurants and over 18,000 employees. He has developed new restaurants in every major US market totaling over 500 units and has recruited and managed franchisees in all parts of the country. During his more than 25-year career he has led the turnaround of a variety of businesses, in the QSR, Fast Casual and Family Dining segments of the restaurant industry.
Mr. Wedo is a determined and strong leader who has developed businesses from scratch, assembled numerous senior executive teams and has led companies through many periods of significant change. Wedo was appointed President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Ovation® Brands, the nation’s largest steak buffet company, in December 2012. Ovation® Brands operates 341 restaurants in 35 states including the following six brands; Ryan’s, Fire Mountain, Hometown Buffet, Country Buffet, Old Country Buffet and Tahoe Joe’s Famous Steakhouse restaurants.
Wedo began his career in hospitality at PepsiCo, as part of a new breed of young, entrepreneurial restaurant operators brought on to help the corporate giant create a culture of nimbleness. As one of the first participants in PepsiCo’s Senior Operations Designate program, Wedo was put on the fast track and quickly grew to Vice President and General Manager of the Southeast Division of KFC, overseeing more than 1,200 restaurants, 7,000 employees and $1 billion in revenue.
Following his success at PepsiCo, Wedo founded Mid-Atlantic Restaurant Systems, the largest Area Developer and franchisee of Boston Market. As Chairman, President and CEO, he grew the company over a four-year period to 160 restaurants, generating more than $250 million in annualized sales. During his tenure with Mid-Atlantic Restaurant Systems, he was named Entrepreneur of the Year, Area Developer of the Year and chosen as a top 50 Employer in Pennsylvania.
Following the acquisition of Mid-Atlantic Restaurant Systems by Boston Market, Wedo held the position of Chairman, President and CEO of New World Restaurant Group.
New World, with approximately 1,000 units and $750 million in system revenues, operated six unique brands, including Einstein Bros., Noah’s and Manhattan Bagel.
Before joining Ovation Brands, Wedo served as CEO of Mainline Capital Advisors, LLC, which provided M&A, turnaround management, advisory and executive management consulting services to debt investors and private equity sponsors in the restaurant industry. He developed Leadership – The 12 Commandments, a guide for and about leadership, and is a highly sought after speaker on the subject of leadership.
Wedo holds an MBA from Cornell University and the Queen’s University of Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He has a B.S. from Penn State University. He is also a retired Commissioned Officer in the United States Naval Reserve.
[box_blue]Note: If you would like to listen to a podcast right away you can hear a sample by clicking on the “play” button on our podcasts page. If you would like to play our EPN – Entrepreneur Podcast Network programming later or take it on the road, you will first need to subscribe to and download our podcast programming using the subscription software on your computer, such as itunes. Then you will have to transfer the podcast file to your portable media device. We recommend the following subscription software for the best user experience: