Bojangles has named senior restaurant executive David Whitaker as its new chief operating officer, overseeing company and franchise operations to drive systemwide sales and growth.

Whitaker will join Bojangles on May 2, succeeding Brian Unger, who is retiring after three years at Bojangles and a career in the restaurant business that spans four decades.

“I can’t say enough about Brian’s contributions to Bojangles,” said Jose Armario, CEO of the Southern food chain known for its chicken, biscuits and legendary tea. “He represents the very best in our industry and has helped our company navigate the past few years with outstanding leadership and dedication. We wish him all the best in his retirement.”

Whitaker brings over 35 years of experience as a strategic operator and systems implementation expert for major industry players, including Bloomin’ Brands, Wendy’s and Arby’s. He began his career as an hourly team member working for local fast casual chain Papa Gino’s based in Dedham, Massachusetts and worked through the ranks into executive leadership roles. Prior to Bojangles, Whitaker spent seven years at Inspire Brands, most recently as senior vice president for Arby’s largest division, supporting 300 corporate locations and more than 1,000 franchise units spanning the Southeast to Northwestern Continental U.S.

Advertisement

“We are thrilled to welcome David to Bojangles. His leadership experience, extensive operational knowledge and successful track record working with franchisees are all substantial assets for our team and the Bojangles brand,” Armario said. “David brings a wide base of experience leading Operations and Ops Services functions for multiple brands–inside and outside of the QSR category that will be essential to ensuring Bojangles is keeping up with our customers’ expectations and making excellent operations a priority in all our restaurants.”

“I am very excited to join Bojangles as COO. I can’t think of a better time to be part of this impressive team and help build on all the great work Bojangles is doing today,” said Whitaker. “With such an iconic brand and passionate fanbase, Bojangles has a strong foundation to grow in the years to come, and I look forward to working closely with our Ops leaders, franchisees and executive leadership as we endeavor to bring Bojangles to a much wider audience with a sharp focus on providing exceptional service to our guests and great environments for our team members across the system.”