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Modern Restaurant Concepts Appoints John Cywinski as Chief Executive Officer and Board Member

PRESS RELEASE: Paid content from Business Wire
Press release content from Business Wire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.
January 12, 2023 GMT


Modern Restaurant Concepts (“MRC”), a leading fast casual restaurant platform comprising the QDOBA, Modern Market Eatery, and Lemonade brands, announced today that veteran restaurant executive John Cywinski has joined the company as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately.

Mr. Cywinski is a sought out, seasoned and accomplished restaurant executive with leadership experience from some of the industry’s most recognized and successful brands including Applebee’s, Chili’s, KFC, McDonald’s, and Burger King.

Prior to joining Modern Restaurant Concepts, Mr. Cywinski served as the President of Applebee’s Grill & Bar for six years, where he led a dramatic transformation and resurgence of the iconic $4.4B business. Before his role at Applebee’s, Mr. Cywinski also served as the President of KFC where he led the successful turnaround of the $4.5B U.S. business from 2010 to 2014 while at Yum! Brands. Prior to joining Yum!, Mr. Cywinski spent four years as a franchisee, owning and operating a number of successful Dunkin’ Donuts and Sonic restaurants in Chicago, which he has since sold. Earlier in his career, John also served as President of Buena Vista Pictures Marketing for the Motion Picture Group of the Walt Disney Studios. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Restaurant Association and is a recipient of IFMA’s Silver Plate Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the restaurant industry.


“The Butterfly team has a compelling and ambitious vision within the restaurant industry that holds great appeal for me,” said John Cywinski, CEO of Modern Restaurant Concepts. “QDOBA is exceptionally well-positioned, as the number two brand in the Mexican fast casual category, with positive comp sales for 11 of the past 13 years, very attractive restaurant-level margins, broad consumer appeal, and the capacity to double in size over the next decade.”

Mr. Cywinski continued: “Modern Market and Lemonade represent contemporary growth engines uniquely positioned in the made-from-scratch, better-for-you, fast casual space. They offer truly elite sales volumes and margins, with a remarkably passionate and loyal guest following in their initial geographies of Colorado, Texas, Arizona, and California. All three brands provide best-in-class opportunities for distinguished, proven, and culture-driven franchise partners to expand their portfolios.”


Adam Waglay, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Butterfly, majority owner of Modern Restaurant Concepts, added: “John is an exceptional operator and executive with a track record of success in the restaurant space. His expertise and leadership will be invaluable as we accelerate the company’s growth, and we’re incredibly honored to have someone of his caliber join the team.”

Keith Guilbault, prior Co-CEO of Modern Restaurant Concepts, is departing to pursue other opportunities. “We would like to thank Keith Guilbault for the seven years he spent at the helm of QDOBA stewarding the company through two transactions as well as the COVID crisis,” said Butterfly Principal Francesco D’Arcangelo. “We believe that the business is well-positioned for success, in large part due to Keith’s leadership. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”


Rob McColgan, prior Co-CEO of MRC, will remain with the company as President of Modern Market and Lemonade.

About Modern Restaurant Concepts

Modern Restaurant Concepts is one of the largest fast casual restaurant platforms in North America with nearly 800 units across three brands, QDOBA, Modern Market Eatery and Lemonade. The system operates corporate-owned and franchised units across nearly every U.S. state as well as Canada and Puerto Rico.

QDOBA is a fast casual Mexican restaurant with nearly 750 locations in the U.S. and Canada. Committed to delivering flavor to people’s lives, QDOBA uses ingredients prepared in-house, by hand, and fresh throughout the day, to create delicious menu options. Guests can experience QDOBA’s delicious flavors by enjoying one of its signature menu options that are chef-crafted for convenience and ease or by customizing their burritos, tacos, burrito bowls, salads, quesadillas, and nachos to fit their personal tastes. For four years running, QDOBA has been voted the “Best Fast Casual Restaurant” as part of the USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards. Discover more at or on the QDOBA app, which is available for download on the iTunes App Store or Google Play. Fans can also connect with QDOBA on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.


Modern Market Eatery is a food forward, sustainable fast casual restaurant concept that operates in Colorado, Texas, Arizona, and Indiana. Delivering the freshness and flavors of the market in a modern dining format and environment, Modern Market Eatery’s menu of protein-centric bowls, garden fresh salads, toasted sandwiches and brick oven pizzas redefine what it means to eat well at a reasonable price. For additional information about Modern Market Eatery, please visit


Lemonade is a California-based modern fast casual concept serving colorful, seasonal and healthy lunch and dinner options as diverse as California itself. Raising the standard of quality and freshness in the industry, Lemonade entices time-crunched but food-savvy individuals with the simple allure of beautifully prepared salads, hearty braised meats, satisfying sandwiches, decadent desserts, and thirst-quenching, handcrafted lemonades. For additional information about Lemonade, please visit

About Butterfly

Butterfly Equity (“Butterfly”) is a Los Angeles, California-based private equity firm specializing in the food sector, spanning the entire food value chain from “seed to fork” via four target verticals: agriculture & aquaculture, food & beverage products, food distribution and foodservice. Butterfly aims to generate attractive investment returns through deep industry specialization, a unique approach to sourcing transactions, and leveraging an operations-focused and technology-driven approach to value creation. For additional information about Butterfly, please visit its website at

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CONTACT: Modern Restaurant Concepts and Butterfly Contacts

For press inquiries regarding MRC or Butterfly, please contact:

Loren O’Neill

Full Picture

(646) 926-5762



SOURCE: Modern Restaurant Concepts

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PUB: 01/12/2023 09:00 AM/DISC: 01/12/2023 09:02 AM