New York City — As part of an aggressive expansion plan for North America, German Doner Kebab USA (GDK USA) has hired Robert Bray (pictured) as operations director and Mark Treptow as director of franchise development, along with recent hires Georgina Cavendish, chief financial officer, and Darren Cooke as marketing director. GDK was founded in 1989.
Reporting to Nigel Belton, GDK North America’s managing director, Bray has more than 20 years of operations experience with YUM! Brands and was most recently senior regional franchise director at Church’s Chicken. Treptow has franchised multiple emerging restaurant concepts such as Five Guys Burgers, Freshii and The Halal Guys into large national and international brands. Recent UK transplant Cavendish joins from Island Poké — a division of GDK’s parent company Hero Brands — to support the brand and franchisees across North America. Cooke joins the team after international marketing roles for brands that include Kroger, Virgin, Adidas, Starbucks and Google.
“We’ve assembled a team of stellar executives with a wealth of food and beverage experience, and we’re excited to utilize their expertise to aid in our continued growth,” says Belton.
With global headquarters in Glasgow, Scotland, GDK is the fastest growing fast-casual restaurant group in the UK. GDK has over 125 restaurants in the UK, Europe and the Middle East, and is now rapidly expanding rapidly into the U.S. and Canada. GDK opened its first U.S. site in New Jersey’s American Dream Mall in 2021. In Canada, three locations are currently open: one in British Columbia and two in Ontario.
“It is exciting to have the opportunity to shape the creation of the processes, behaviors and relationships with our franchisees to help GDK grow in North America,” says Bray.
The North American operation has ambitious growth plans for the U.S. as it gets set to open 10 locations in 2022, including its first two in the Houston area, Sugar Land and Houston Heights. Clyde Foods has signed on as a multi-unit developer in Houston, an agreement that includes 15 restaurants over the next 10 years and five locations open by 2025. In the Dallas area, a franchisee has signed a multi-unit deal to develop five restaurants in Dallas and its northern suburbs.
GDK’s New York franchisee has signed a development agreement for 25 restaurants over 15 years, with six locations open by the end of 2022. These strategic sites include Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn and Astoria (Queens). In Canada, the search is on for additional sites in Mississauga, Ontario and Surrey, British Columbia.
German Doner Kebab has over 125 restaurants globally and is the fastest-growing international kebab brand in the world. GDK opened its first restaurant in Berlin in 1989. GDK is an affiliate of the Hero Brands group. For more information, visit www.germandonerkebab.com.
SOURCE: German Doner Kebab