Brinker Names Birch President of Romano’s

DALLAS Brinker International has appointed Jean Birch president of Romano’s Macaroni Grill, succeeding John Miller who resigned Monday.

Romano’s Macaroni Grill operates more than 220 restaurants in 40 states and five countries as part of Dallas-based Brinker International. Omnicom Group’s GSD&M in Austin, Texas, serves as the ad shop for Brinker.

Romano’s spent $23 million on advertising in 2003 and $18 million through October 2004, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Birch joined Brinker in 2003 as president of the company’s Corner Bakery Cafe after 12 years with Yum Brands. At Yum, she was vice president of operations for Taco Bell and senior director of concept development for Pizza Hut. Birch has also served as national leadership conference chair of the Women’s Foodservice Forum.

“Jean’s operations knowledge and experience have helped Corner Bakery Cafe set a solid foundation for the future,” said Todd Diener, chief operating officer at Dallas-based Brinker.

John Miller, who had served as president of the brand since 1997, held several leadership positions at Brinker during his 17-year career, including president of On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina.

Brinker has also named John Reale chief operating officer of Romano’s Macaroni Grill. He previously served as regional vice president for the concept’s Western U.S. operations. With more than 27 years of restaurant experience, Reale has held positions with Carlson Restaurants as vice president of international business and Ground Round as regional director of operations.

Brinker owns, operates, franchises or is involved in the ownership of more than 1,500 restaurants in 24 countries. Other Brinker brands include Chili’s Grill & Bar, Maggiano’s Little Italy, Big Bowl Asian Kitchen and Rockfish Seafood Grill.