Habit Restaurants Inc. named Douglas Branigan chief development officer; he fills a role vacated by Russell Friend, who left the Irvine-based operator of fast-casual hamburger restaurants in August.
Branigan was most recently chief development officer of Black Bear Diners Inc. in Redding, Calif. Black Bear has local restaurants in La Habra, Santa Ana, and Buena Park.
Branigan also has served as chief operating officer at Beverly Hills-based Sprinkles Cupcakes, and vice president of franchising at Smashburger, a Denver-based competitor of Habit.
His LinkedIn profile lists him as a joint venture partner with Mimi’s Café between 2002 and 2009; Habit Chief Executive Russ Bendel was chief executive of Mimi’s from 1999 to 2007.
Habit has 175 restaurants in 10 states and in Dubai, up from about 130 locations 18 months ago.
All but 10 are company-owned: Habit has grown its own portfolio as many restaurant chains have focused on franchising, and re-franchising—selling—company-owned locations.
The company will stay with its strategy: it plans to open 31 to 33 company-owned locations and 5 to 7 franchised locations this year.
"We continue to be committed to our development strategy as we continue to be very pleased with our results," a spokesperson said.
Average annual unit volume for a Habit restaurant is about $1.9 million.
The company had net income of about $9 million on revenue of about $284 million last year.