Honest Burgers appoints former McDonald’s executive Thomas Kelly as CEO

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Honest Burgers appoints former McDonald’s executive Thomas Kelly as CEO

Related tags Honest Burgers Burgers Thomas Kelly Tom Barton Philip Eeles

Honest Burgers has appointed former McDonald’s and Costa Coffee executive Thomas Kelly as its new CEO to ‘lead the team through its next exciting phase of growth’.

Frank Hayes has stepped down as CEO of the circa 40-strong casual dining business to pursue other opportunities having navigated the business through Covid and its aftermath.

Honest Burgers says that Hayes ‘helped build strong foundations for Honest Burgers future growth’ seeing the business deliver ‘market-leading sales momentum over the last 18 months’. 

Kelly started out at McDonald’s as a graduate trainee, working his way to become a member of the executive board as vice president in the UK, and then CEO in Finland and Sweden. More recently, Kelley was the global executive director at Costa Coffee. 

The appointment comes as Honest Burgers looks to enter the QSR space with a smash burger concept.​ 

Honest Burgers’ founders Tom Barton and Phillip Eeles say the plan to create an Honest Burgers quick service restaurant has been fuelled by the success of its lighter and lower priced smashed burger that launched last year.

“We’d like to thank Frank for everything he has done to move the business forward over the last three years, he has tirelessly set the foundations for our next chapter of growth,” says Barton. “We’re really excited about welcoming Thomas to the team – his experience in running restaurant businesses is as good as it gets, and he has delivered exceptional growth in his previous roles, which is exactly what we need to grow Honest Burgers.” 

Kelley added: “Ultimately, I love running restaurants – from my first McDonald’s site through to being responsible for hundreds of sites in the Nordics, it’s always been about the people that make incredible experiences for customers. I have always admired Honest Burgers from afar, so the opportunity to help grow such a strong brand, with the best product in the category, was too good to miss.”

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