Innovation exec from Chili's named as UNO CEO

Jan. 4, 2013

UNO Restaurant Holdings Corporation today announced the appointment of Ian Baines as its new president and chief executive officer, effective Jan. 7.

He will replace Frank Guidara, who will remain with the company in a part-time consulting and advisory capacity until July 2014.

Baines was most recently the senior vice president of Strategic Innovation for Brinker International and Chili's Grill & Bar. In this role, he oversaw kitchen and culinary innovation and led the design and construction team which, among other things, was responsible for the brand's remodeling efforts for more than 800 company-owned Chili's locations nationwide as well as the design and construction of the new Chili's prototype unit.

Prior to Brinker, Baines served as president and CEO of Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill. In that role, he led the transition from corporate ownership under Darden Restaurants to a standalone private equity-owned company, successfully restructured the business and established a new senior management team and support infrastructure. He also served as Smokey Bones' president and executive vice president of Operations during Darden's ownership of the Smokey Bones brand.

Prior, Baines worked at Brinker as a regional vice president of Operations for Romano's Macaroni Grill and vice president of Operations for Brinker's Big Bowl Fresh Chinese and Thai brand. He initially joined Brinker after spending more than a decade at Toronto-based SIR Corp. Restaurants, serving as president and chief operating officer of Jack Astor's Bar & Grill.

Earlier in his career, Baines served as VP of Restaurant Operations and VP of Food and Beverage for Imago Restaurants in Toronto. He began his restaurant industry career as a chef working both in Toronto and London. A British native, Baines graduated from the culinary school of Westminster College in London.

"We are extremely pleased to have someone of Ian's caliber lead the next phase of the evolution of the Uno family of brands. Ian's well rounded experience, which includes a strong foundation of culinary and restaurant operating skills, combined with leadership positions at both Darden Restaurants and Brinker International, two well respected companies in our industry, make Ian the perfect fit for Uno's," said Rob Webster, the company's chairman and co-founder and senior managing director of majority owner Twin Haven Capital Partners.

Guidara served as Uno's president and CEO for almost eight years. Under his leadership, the company developed Uno Dué Go, remodeled more than one-third of company-owned restaurants and introduced numerous menu items and guest programs.

"I have really enjoyed getting to know Ian and believe that he has the right balance of skills and personality to continue to strengthen the culture at Uno's," Guidara said.

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Topics: Operations Management

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