Name: Dawn Gillis
News title: CIO, Golden Corral
Previous title: Chief technology officer, Tavistock Freebirds, LLC
Gillis brings over 20 years of experience in the restaurant, hospitality and consumer goods industries to her new position at Golden Corral, according to a press release emailed to Restaurant Dive. As CIO of the buffet chain, Gillis will lead its digital growth strategy and modernize its technology stack.
“We believe Dawn will play a significant role in future-proofing our brand, while positioning Golden Corral as a front runner in what’s new and next across the restaurant industry,” Golden Corral CEO Lance Trenary said in a press release last week.
In her most recent position, Gillis helped QSR chain Freebirds World Burrito update its technological infrastructure to increase efficiencies, become a more nimble organization and better serve customers. She spent two years in this role, prior to which she was chief technology officer for Torchy’s Tacos. She helped transform Torchy’s business model during pandemic dining room lockdowns, growing off-premise sales from 30% of business to 100% during that period.
The bulk of Gillis’ career so far was with 7-Eleven, where she took on several technology initiatives during her 15-year tenure.
At the convenience store chain, she led the technological integration of over 1,030 Sunoco stores post-acquisition, created a business transformation program that combined consolidated logistics and store simplification strategies and centralized 7-Eleven’s technological support functions, among other accomplishments.
Gillis’ experience could be particularly helpful as Golden Corral pushes for growth through franchising. The company recently extended its franchise development incentive program for new and existing franchisees who open a Golden Corral within 24 months of signing a franchise area development agreement.
Incentives include reimbursement for training costs of up to $15,000 each for three managers and a $5,000 reimbursement for marketing for a new store opening.
The incentive also provides a cash credit of 3% of sales during year one, 2% in year two and 1% in year three toward the operator’s Golden Corral-approved food service supplier.