Taco Del Mar CEO Schmidt now prexy as Huether exits

Taco Del Mar CEO Schmidt now prexy as Huether exits

SEATTLE — Taco Del Mar founder and chief executive James Schmidt assumed the duties of president of the nearly 262-unit fast-casual chain Nov. 8 upon the sudden departure of David Huether, who also was chief operating officer. Kevin Hansen, formerly franchise development vice president, took over as COO.

The chain’s franchisees have complained in recent months about higher-than-expected food costs, distribution problems, lack of support, and weakening sales and profitability, and 35 branches of the chain closed in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30.

In a memo to franchisees earlier this month, Huether, who had been president since 2005, acknowledged franchisees’ concerns and outlined plans to boost profits, including a shift to smaller portion sizes and the possible rollout of value pricing to the 25-state system.

Officials of the company confirmed Huether’s departure but deferred comment.

Before joining Taco Del Mar, Heuther was a senior executive of the Godfather’s Pizza, Country Kitchen, Vicorp Restaurants and Burger Chef chains.

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