STACKED: Food Well Built Names Craig Carlyle First Chief Operating Officer

STACKED's first COO, Craig Carlyle, with Paul Motenko, co-founder and co-CEO of STACKED.
STACKED’s first COO, Craig Carlyle, with Paul Motenko, co-founder and co-CEO of STACKED.

Carlyle, Who Held Senior Roles with Yard House Restaurants, Joins as STACKED Ramps Up Expansion Plans

STACKED: Food Well Built Names Craig Carlyle First Chief Operating OfficerHuntington Beach, CA  (  STACKED: Food Well Built, the innovative casual dining concept delivering experiential dining to allow guests to fully customize their meals and their overall dining experience, has announced that Craig Carlyle, who served in top leadership roles at Yard House Restaurants, has joined the company as its first COO. Carlyle is the latest addition to a loaded management team at STACKED, now majority-owned by two private equity firms, North Carolina-based Hargett Hunter and TriSpan of New York and London, which acquired their stakes in September 2018.

Nation’s Restaurant News “Hot Concept” award winner, STACKED is building on the loyal following it has established in Southern California to expand to new markets outside the Golden State. Founded in 2011, and now with five restaurants in Southern California, STACKED pioneered user-friendly, tabletop technology that allows guests to create their own personal dining experience from ordering to paying their bill. With an inventive and delicious menu of American favorites, including burgers, salads, sandwiches, mac and cheese, shakes, desserts, and much more, guests choose specific ingredients on tabletop iPads to build literally millions of combinations of menu items, and only pay for the ingredients they choose.

STACKED: Food Well Built Names Craig Carlyle First Chief Operating Officer

Carlyle, who joined the leadership team at Yard House at one unit and served as president following its $585 million acquisition by Darden Restaurants in 2012, is joining STACKED to help lead the expansion efforts. He joins an impressive team, led by co-founders Paul Motenko and Jerry Hennessy, the former co-CEOs of BJ’s Restaurants, Inc., who built the BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse concept into a national chain. STACKED is now actively targeting new locations in Texas as well as additional locations in California.

“Craig’s deep industry experience and entrepreneurial expertise in building restaurant brands into America’s favorite dining spots will be invaluable as we bring STACKED: Food Well Built to more communities,” said Paul Motenko, president and CEO, STACKED Restaurants. “The combination of the incredible support of our new private equity partners and Craig’s arrival puts STACKED in an enviable position in this new phase of growth and innovation. We are very fortunate to have such a talented individual join our team.”

Carlyle joined Yard House Restaurants in 1998, serving as general manager at its first restaurant in Long Beach, California, assuming greater roles over 20 years including executive vice president of operations and president. “I am tremendously excited to join STACKED on the cusp of its expansion,” said Carlyle. “I’m excited to work with Paul and Jerry, excited to join the company in this entrepreneurial stage, and excited about its potential to become a popular and loved American restaurant brand.”

STACKED: Food Well Built Names Craig Carlyle First Chief Operating Officer

About Hargett Hunter

Hargett Hunter is a unique private equity firm that invests exclusively in emerging and established restaurant chains generating a minimum of $10 million in annual sales.  In addition to capital, Hargett Hunter offers industry-leading resources in support of the growth plans commonly executed by emerging brands with less than 100 units.  By focusing exclusively US-based restaurant chains, Hargett Hunter offers significant hospitality industry expertise and is the preferred partner for investors looking for exposure to the restaurant industry and operators looking for a partner in growing their brands.  Hargett Hunter is headquartered in Raleigh, NC.  For more information, please visit

About TriSpan – Rising Stars Fund

TriSpan is an independent and management-controlled private equity firm established in 2015 with offices in New York and London, and backed by leading family groups across the US, Europe and the Middle East. Rising Stars focuses on growth investment in the global restaurant sector, and the investment in Stacked is its fourth investment to-date. For more information, please visit

About STACKED: Food Well Built

STACKED: Food Well Built is a full-service restaurant serving premium-quality, inventive and flavorful American favorites, where innovative and user-friendly technology allows guests to fully customize a diverse and delicious menu of appetizers, burgers, pizzas, salads, sandwiches, mac ‘n’ cheese, shakes and desserts. Guests build their meals on tabletop tablets choosing from dozens of fresh ingredients and flavorful house-made sauces. The pioneering technology also lets guests control when they order and pay, giving the STACKED service team more time to deliver a superior level of hospitality. Each STACKED also offers a full-bar experience, replete with multiple, flat screen TVs, and stocked with rotating craft beers, premium wine selections, and top shelf liquor for inventive cocktails.

STACKED: Food Well Built was founded in 2011 by the former co-CEO’s of BJ’s Restaurants, Paul Motenko and Jerry Hennessy, who developed that brand into a national chain. STACKED has restaurants in California, including Torrance, Cerritos, Thousand Oaks, San Diego and Huntington Beach, and today with the support of its private equity partners, Hargett Hunter and TriSpan, will grow into new and existing markets beginning in 2019. For more information about STACKED or employment opportunities, visit,,, or

Erin Peacock
Peacock PR