, the leader in virtual restaurants, today announced that Kat Cole, a 25-year restaurant industry executive and former President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Focus Brands, has joined the company as Advisor. Cole will continue as a long-time friend of Order Mark to guide Nextbite with her experience in building high growth strategies, support the advancement of healthy brands in the portfolio, and streamline operations.
Cole is currently President and COO of Athletic Greens, one of the fastest growing wellness brands and subscription businesses, where she focuses on driving organizational scale, accelerating business growth and global expansion, innovation, and more. Prior to this, Cole most recently served as President and COO at Focus Brands, a developer of iconic global, multi-channel foodservice brands, including Moe’s Southwest Grill, Jamba, Auntie Anne’s and other chains. In her executive position, she led the multi-billion dollar businesses of seven brands and all operating divisions, including franchising, licensing and international divisions, building revenues and profits through global licensing, manufacturing, and e-commerce.
As Nextbite continues its rapid expansion, it will benefit from Cole’s expertise in leading consumer brands, scaling organizations through various stages of growth, and bridging and integrating the worlds of startup thinking and innovation with corporate structures. Cole will advise Nextbite on its virtual, delivery-only strategies, concepts, and operations.
“The restaurant industry is constantly evolving and it’s crucial to thoughtfully innovate in order to grow,” said Cole. “Technology is reshaping restaurants and Nextbite’s virtual, delivery-first concepts and highly specialized capabilities offer the convenience and variety that consumers are craving. Nextbite and a variety of their brands can help brick and mortar restaurants leverage existing assets, drive financial growth, and reach more customers.”
Cole will also provide counsel for Nextbite as the company moves into its next phase of growth to meet the ever-evolving needs of today’s restaurants and consumers, including the development and execution of healthy, innovative delivery brands from strategy to operations, manufacturing, and design and packaging.
A strategic food industry leader, Cole specializes in building global brands, businesses, and high performing teams from Main Street to Wall Street, connecting big brands and businesses with small and mid-sized independent business owners. A seasoned executive, she has years of experience in culture and communications, crisis and change-management, development, mergers and acquisitions. She also has expertise in integrating digital and physical brand expressions and communities, multi-channel brand extensions, consumer brands, marketing, licensing, strategic alliances and partnerships, domestic and international franchising, and operating model pivots.
“Kat’s career was built in the kitchen and she’s recognized as an industry visionary. She understands what it takes to keep customers coming back and how to build and manage brands that are aligned with restaurant and consumer needs and trends,” said Alex Canter, CEO and co-founder of Nextbite. “Her experience and perspective in growing companies and operations is powerful counsel for Nextbite’s continued expansion.”
Cole currently serves on Boards of Directors of Slice, Athletic Greens, HumanCo SPAC, and Milk Bar.