The Quaker Steak & Lube board of directors named John H. Longstreet president and CEO, effective April 1, 2010. He succeeds Ken Cole, who stepped down at the end of February to focus on opening Quaker Steak & Lube franchise restaurants and other business opportunities.
Ken Cole Steps Down to Pursue Lube Franchise Opportunities
“I grew up with co-founders George Warren and Gary Meszaros and I have been a huge fan of The Lube since it opened 36 years ago”
Longstreet, a Quaker Steak & Lubeboard of directors member for six years, is president of Hospitality Leaders Group, LLC, a Texas firm which consults on organizational development, service delivery, food and beverage operations, corporate culture, leadership effectiveness and team development.
Previously, Longstreet was executive vice president of operations for Dallas-based ClubCorp, which has more than $900 million in revenue, owning or operating more than 160 golf courses, country clubs, business and sports clubs, and resorts. Longstreet was at ClubCorp for more than six years, most recently overseeing the Business and Sports Club Division. He also was vice president of operations at Intercontinental Hotels Group.
“John will be a great fit for The Lube,” said Mike Stack, Quaker Steak & Lube’s chairman of the board. “His experience and expertise in running high volume operations – combined with his understanding of our concept – will allow him to maximize Quaker Steak & Lube’s growth potential.”
Longstreet, a Sharon, Pa., native, is excited about leading such an iconic brand. “I grew up with co-founders George Warren and Gary Meszaros and I have been a huge fan of The Lube since it opened 36 years ago,” he said. “Having served as a company director, I couldn’t be more energized about getting back to Sharon and building on George and Gary’s successes, as well as, my predecessor, Ken Cole,” said Longstreet.
With 80 percent of the chain’s restaurants franchised, Longstreet credits much of The Lube’s growth to its franchise owners. “I want to recognize our franchise owners’ commitment and dedication to this concept, and I look forward to working with each of them in their local markets.”
Stack said Warren and Meszaros will continue as active board members and will be advisors to Longstreet, who will have day-to-day operating responsibilities.
Former CEO Ken Cole, who helped grow the casual dining chain by 36 percent during the last two years, stepped down to focus on becoming a Lube franchisee. He is exploring Nevada and West Virginia as potential markets. During his tenure, The Lube added 8 units, while sales increased from $49 million in 2007 to more than $102 million in 2009. Cole will assist with the transition and will serve as a consultant to the company through August. “I have a great affection for Quaker Steak & Lube, and I truly look forward to remaining part of this great brand,” he said.
“Ken played a key role in helping The Lubeevolve from an entrepreneurial company to one with professional management that is now better positioned for further growth,” Stack said.