Meet the 2012 Golden Chain Award winners


A diverse group of restaurant leaders who are growing their companies with energy and optimism, producing strong results, has been selected as the 2012 Nation’s Restaurant News Golden Chain Award winners. They will be honored during the 53rd annual Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators Conference, or MUFSO, which will be held Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas.

“It takes vision and confidence in your strategy to stay the course and prosper through changing and challenging times, and that’s what this year’s Golden Chain winners have been doing,” NRN publisher Randall Friedman said. “We will be honoring these executives at MUFSO not only for their outstanding recent accomplishments but also for career achievements that have benefited our industry and the consumers we serve.”

The 2012 Golden Chain Award honorees will be celebrated during the MUFSO Super Show on Oct. 1, with an awards presentation and panel discussion sponsored by American Express. From this year's lineup, NRN readers can vote for the Operator of the Year, which will be announced on MUFSO's final night.

Meet the 2012 Golden Chain honorees:

Cheryl Bachelder
Chief executive, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen/AFC Enterprises Inc.
Bachelder has been chief executive and president of Atlanta-based AFC Enterprises since October 2007, and president of its Popeyes brand since November 2007. Previously, she served as president and chief concept officer of KFC Corp., where she was responsible for leading their U.S. restaurants.

Under Bachelder’s direction, Popeyes, the world’s second largest quick-service chicken concept, totaling 2,044 restaurants worldwide, is poised for strong growth as it celebrates its 40th anniversary. During the first quarter of 2012, global same-stores sales increased for the eighth consecutive quarter, while same-store sales growth outpaced competitors in the quick-service chicken segment for the 16th consecutive quarter.

John Cooper
President, Bonefish Grill
After a 15-year career with Outback Steakhouse Inc., where he developed 13 Outback restaurants in the Orlando area, Cooper joined Bonefish Grill in 2001 as president. He came aboard to assist founders Tim Curci and Chris Parker with their vision of taking Bonefish to the next level.

As head of the casual-dining restaurant, best known for its big-city bar and market-fresh fish, he has been instrumental in the evolution of the concept. Under Cooper’s guidance and through the partnership with parent company OSI Restaurants, now Bloomin’ Brands, Tampa-based Bonefish Grill has grown from two restaurants to more than 158 throughout the Southeast and Northeast. As noted in NRN’s recent Top 100 Special Report, Bonefish, with $459 million in U.S. systemwide sales last year, ranks fifth in percentage sales growth among casual-dining chains.

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