Adams brings executive-level leadership experience; Co-founder and longtime CEO Bruce Dean steps into executive chairman role
Redding, CA (RestaurantNews.com) Black Bear Diner, the fast-growing, family dining concept that offers a one-of-a-kind experience and home-style comfort food classics in a friendly, bear-themed atmosphere, has announced the promotion of Anita Adams to chief executive officer and the addition of restaurant veteran Jeff Guido as chief operating officer. Bruce Dean, the brand’s co-founder and CEO, will remain active with the company as executive chairman.
“As co-founder and chief executive officer, Black Bear Diner is now entering its 25th year in business,” said Dean. “We have grown this brand larger than I ever would have anticipated and hoped for, and there is much more to come. My focus is now on perpetuating the next 25 years and ensuring we continue to prosper, grow and be the leader in family dining. Succession planning is paramount to ensure our long-term success, and to that end, I will be assuming the executive chairman position. I’m pleased to announce that Anita Adams, our president and former chief financial officer, will now assume the role of chief executive officer. Anita is a true industry professional, and she is the right person to guide Black Bear Diner in our next chapter of success.”
With 24 years of broad leadership and transaction experience across private and public companies, Adams was most recently president of Black Bear Diner, overseeing short- and long-term strategies that drove the brand’s rapid growth and performance, as well as the franchise’s shared services, including operations, franchise and corporate development and human resources. Adams first joined the company in 2017 as chief financial officer. In March of 2019, Adams was promoted to president in addition to her role as CFO. In October that same year, the company hired Steve Sparks to assume the role of CFO, allowing Adams to focus on her role as President.
“Black Bear Diner has enjoyed an amazing 25 years and I am proud to assume the CEO role of such a well-respected brand,” said Adams. “Our efforts have been focused on building a scalable foundation to support our aggressive growth strategy, while ensuring we stay true to the brand’s heritage of hospitality, quality and operational excellence. I look forward to partnering with our franchise community, team leaders and shareholders to position the brand for continued prosperity.”
For nearly a decade before joining Black Bear Diner, Adams was CFO of American Blue Ribbon Holdings (ABRH), a diversified food service company that operated more than 690 company and franchise restaurants in more than 40 states, where she helped grow revenue from $400 million to $1.2 billion, managing five restaurant brands and a bakery operation. Before that, she was the vice president controller for VICORP Restaurant Group prior to its acquisition by ABRH, and the vice president of corporate accounting for First Data Corporation, a Fortune 500 global financial services company generating over $10 billion in revenue, in addition to high ranking financial roles with PRO Group, Inc., Seahawk Minerals and Pricewaterhouse Coopers. She has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Wyoming and holds an active CPA license in the State of Colorado.
Guido joins Black Bear Diner as chief operating officer by way of ABRH where he held the position of president for the Family Restaurant Division, overseeing all financial and administrative aspects of Village Inn and Baker’s Square restaurant concepts. During that time, Guido built an exceptional team that delivered 26 consecutive quarters of same store sales growth. With over 40 years leading major restaurant brands, Guido has consistently built value for stakeholders by identifying strategic opportunities to provide exceptional customer service.
“My mission at Black Bear Diner is to ensure we’re operating at the same extraordinarily high level that the company did when it opened its first, single restaurant 25 years ago,” said Guido. “Offering a consistently great experience as we continue to expand is critical. I look forward to working alongside a great leadership team to strengthen Black Bear Diner’s already exceptional offerings of enthusiastic customer service and abundant, quality food to more guests across the nation.”
Dean co-founded Black Bear Diner in 1995, and served as co-president until 2016 when he was named CEO. He will remain with the company as executive chairman. Dean contributed to the brand’s early success by leveraging his early beginnings in the restaurant business. He created the recipes for some of the brand’s most popular and best-selling food items and is also the visionary behind “bear-sized” portions, a brand commitment to deliver unrivaled comfort food value and portions.
“Bruce has shown that family dining, when done right and with authenticity, is here to stay,” said Adams. “Over the last several years, I’ve highly valued Bruce’s leadership and partnership, and will continue to benefit from his experience and passion.”
The last year has demonstrated the brand’s continuous efforts to build Black Bear Diner’s executive leadership team following years of growth and geographic expansion. The executive leadership team includes Bruce Dean, executive chairman; Anita Adams, chief executive officer; Jeff Guido, chief operating officer; Steve Sparks, chief financial officer; Joe Adney, chief marketing officer; and Tammy Johns, chief people officer.
About Black Bear Diner
Founded in Mt. Shasta, Calif., in 1995, Black Bear Diner brings home-style comfort food classics and personal service to the dining experience. The quickly growing family dining concept, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, offers a vast, enticing menu anchored in hearty portions and excellent value, with service rooted in genuine hospitality. The franchise now operates 138 locations in 14 states and growing. Black Bear Diner has been consistently recognized for its significant growth and outstanding performance. The company has been recognized as a Top 10 Customer Service Winner, a Top 10 Fastest-Growing Chain and a Top Disruptor from Nation’s Restaurant News. Franchise Times has called Black Bear Diner one of the “smartest-growing brands” in the country. For a full menu and additional information, please visit blackbeardiner.com.