Black Bear Diner announced Thursday the promotion of Anita Adams to CEO and the addition of restaurant veteran Jeff Guido as COO.
Bruce Dean, the brand’s co-founder and former CEO, will remain as executive chairman.
“As co-founder and chief executive officer, Black Bear Diner is now entering its 25th year in business,” Dean says. “We have grown this brand larger than I ever would have anticipated and hoped for, and there is much more to come. My focus is now on perpetuating the next 25 years and ensuring we continue to prosper, grow, and be the leader in family dining. Succession planning is paramount to ensure our long-term success, and to that end, I will be assuming the executive chairman position. I’m pleased to announce that Anita Adams, our president and former chief financial officer, will now assume the role of chief executive officer. Anita is a true industry professional, and she is the right person to guide Black Bear Diner in our next chapter of success.”
Adams enters the new role with 24 years of broad leadership and transaction experience across private and public companies. She was previously the president of Black Bear Diner, where she oversaw strategies that drove the brand’s growth and led the company’s shared services, including operations, franchise and corporate development, and human resources. Adams joined the company in 2017 as CFO. She was promoted to president in March.
“Black Bear Diner has enjoyed an amazing 25 years, and I am proud to assume the CEO role of such a well-respected brand,” Adams says. “Our efforts have been focused on building a scalable foundation to support our aggressive growth strategy, while ensuring we stay true to the brand’s heritage of hospitality, quality, and operational excellence. I look forward to partnering with our franchise community, team leaders, and shareholders to position the brand for continued prosperity.”
Before joining Black Bear, Adams served nearly 10 years as CFO of American Blue Ribbon Holdings (ABRH), a food service company that operated more than 690 company and franchise restaurants in more than 40 states. She helped grow revenue from $400 million to $1.2 billion, managing five restaurant brands and a bakery operation. Before that, she was the vice president controller for VICORP Restaurant Group prior to its acquisition by ABRH, and the vice president of corporate accounting for First Data Corporation, a Fortune 500 global financial services company, in addition to high ranking financial roles with PRO Group Inc., Seahawk Minerals, and Pricewaterhouse Coopers.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Wyoming and an active CPA license in Colorado.
Guido joins Black Bear Diner after serving as president of the Family Restaurant Division for ABRH. While in that role, he oversaw all financial and administrative aspects of Village Inn and Baker’s Square restaurant concepts. He built a team that delivered 26 consecutive quarters of same store sales growth.
“My mission at Black Bear Diner is to ensure we’re operating at the same extraordinarily high level that the company did when it opened its first, single restaurant 25 years ago,” Guido says. “Offering a consistently great experience as we continue to expand is critical. I look forward to working alongside a great leadership team to strengthen Black Bear Diner’s already exceptional offerings of enthusiastic customer service and abundant, quality food to more guests across the nation.”
Dean co-founded Black Bear Diner in 1995 and served as co-president until 2016 when he was named CEO. He created the recipes of the brand’s most popular and best-selling items and is also the visionary behind the “bear-sized” portions.
“Bruce has shown that family dining, when done right and with authenticity, is here to stay,” Adams says. “Over the last several years, I’ve highly valued Bruce’s leadership and partnership, and will continue to benefit from his experience and passion.”
The executive team includes Dean, executive chairman; Adams, CEO; Guido, COO; Steve Sparks, CFO; Joe Adney, chief marketing officer; and Tammy Johns, chief people officer.