Roberts to Run Maggiano’s Restaurants

DALLAS Wyman Roberts, former executive vice president and chief marketing officer of NBC’s Universal Parks & Resorts, was named president of Maggiano’s Little Italy, one of three Brinker International restaurant chains whose combined ad accounts were put into review last week.

Roberts is also a 16-year veteran of Darden Restaurants, where he was executive vice president of marketing for Red Lobster.

“Wyman’s experience in establishing brand identities makes him ideally suited to lead the Maggiano’s team as it continues to bring its distinct style of service and culinary offerings to new markets,” said Doug Brooks, chairman and chief executive officer of Dallas-based Brinker.

Roberts replaces Mark Tormey, who helped launch Maggiano’s in 1991 and had served as the concept’s president since its inception. In June, Tormey announced he would resign so he could spend time with his family.

Brinker is seeking an agency to work for Maggiano’s, Macaroni Grill and On the Border. Hiring a new agency for those accounts will allow incumbent GSD&M in Austin, Texas, to focus its efforts exclusively on Brinker’s Chili’s account, a Brinker’s spokesman said.

Brinker is considering five agencies to handle the three chains: Kirshenbaum Bond in San Francisco, Rapp Collins and Euro RSCG of Dallas and Chicago’s Downtown Partners and Draft. A decision is expected by October.

Brinker spent $21 million on media in 2004 for the Macaroni Grill, Maggiano’s and On the Border brands, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. The client spent $123 million last year advertising all of its restaurants.

Brinker owns, operates, franchises or is involved in the ownership of more than 1,500 restaurants in 24 countries.