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The 11 most influential women in the QSR industry today

The 11 most influential women in the QSR industry today

Women have profoundly impacted the quick service restaurant industry. From owners to finance to marketing to HR, women hold powerful leadership positions and change how QSRs serve their customers and community. For Women’s History Month, we wanted to shed light on eleven amazing women building influence at companies like Wendy’s, Chipotle, McDonald’s and more.

Who would you add to our list? Keep the conversation going with us on LinkedIn or Twitter.

1. Abigail Pringle | President, International & Chief Development Officer at The Wendy’s Company

Abigail Pringle has spent nearly 20 years working her way through various roles with Wendy’s, like Director Of Strategic Business Solutions and Chief Development Officer. She got her most recent promotion to President, International & Chief Development Officer in 2019.

According to Wendy’s, Abigail has been an integral part of Wendy’s recent success in the restaurant industry. Her main focus right now is the international growth of the organization, but she has played a role in several parts of the company like real estate, logo development and crew member uniforms. She also helps guide other women as the executive sponsor of Wendy’s Women of Wendy’s employee resource group.

2. Cheryl Bachelder | Director at Chick-fil-A and US Foods

Cheryl Bachelder has a wide variety of experiences in the QSR industry. She’s held several top positions at companies such as Domino’s, Yum! Brands (specifically KFC), Popeye’s and most recently Chick-fil-A.

Bachelder joined the Chick-fil-A family in 2019 as a member of their board. She also sits on the board of US Foods, a foodservice distributor that works with several American restaurants on supplies, technology, menu profitability and much more.

Cheryl has spent decades of her career giving back to the restaurant industry, and she continues to do so in her retirement as a board member. 

3. Darla Morse | Executive Vice President & Chief Information Officer at Red Robin

Darla Morse has only been in her role at Red Robin for about a year, but she has worked with other restaurants like CKE Restaurants Inc. and Inspire Brands. She has also worked at other large companies like Sea World and Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.

Darla is engrossed in technology. She helps companies like Red Robin improve their enterprise technology strategy. She has more than 25 years of experience in the IT industry that she has used to keep brands current.

4. Jenny Womack | Vice President of Marketing at Moe’s Southwest Grill

Marketing is essential for any business. Jenny has been leading Moe’s Southwest Grill’s marketing strategy in some capacity for the last four and a half years. Her journey with Moe’s started as a Brand Marketing Manager, and since then, she has made her way up to Vice President of Marketing.

Her role at Moe’s has been to shape the digital and customer experience. She has taken the task of reimagining the customer journey and experience through her various roles at Moe’s Southwest Grill.

5. Kathie Niven | President & CEO at Biscuitville Fresh Southern

Kathie Niven is well-versed in the QSR industry. She has a myriad of experiences in marketing at companies like Krispy Kreme, Burger King, Arby’s and Quiznos. She joined the company Biscuitville Fresh Southern in 2011 as the Chief Brand Officer and has since been promoted to President & CEO.

During her tenure at Biscuitville, Kathie has made a lasting impact on the growth and stability of the organization. Her promotion to CEO in 2021 was widely praised because of all the work she has done to improve the 60+ Biscuitville stores across North Carolina and Virginia.

6. Linda Chadwick | President & CEO at Rita’s Italian Ice

Linda Chadwick has been in the QSR industry for several decades. She started her QSR journey from Company Business Manager to Vice President Franchise Operations, Southeast Division at Burger King. After a brief stint leading a full-service hair care franchise, Linda stepped back into the QSR industry as the President & CEO of Rita’s Italian Ice.

Linda was recently spotlighted in the 11th season of Undercover Boss, where she connected with several Rita’s Italian Ice franchise owners and operators.

Linda is passionate about franchising and what it can do to grow a QSR business. She has spent several years of her career championing and working with franchise owners at the companies she’s led.

7. Marissa Andrada | Chief Diversity, Inclusion & People Officer at Chipotle

Marissa Andrada has a track record of helping large organizations like Red Bull, GameStop, and Kate Spade tackle HR. She has lots of experience in the QSR industry with her experience at Pepsi Co./Pizza Hut, Starbucks, and her recent tenure at Chipotle. Marissa has worked at Chipotle for nearly four years.

Andrada and her work at Chipotle have received press on sites like Business Insider. She has been able to lead her people, focus on employee development and be a champion for DEI through her work with Chipotle.

8. Monica Sauls | Chief People Officer at Bojangles

Monica Sauls recently took on an important role at Bojangles. She became the company’s first Chief People Officer in September 2020.

Bojangles CEO, Jose Armario, brought Sauls into the leadership team to achieve a big goal: adding 30,000 team members to the Bojangles family. Since then, Monica has had a huge impact on the culture as Bojangles continues to grow.

9. Rachel Ruggeri | Executive Vice President/Chief Financial Officer at Starbucks

Rachel Ruggeri has spent over a decade in various roles within the Starbucks finance department. She’s held roles like Director of Finance; Senior Vice President Finance, Global Retail; and her most recent role as Executive Vice President/Chief Financial Officer.

Rachel is responsible for the long-term growth of the Starbucks brand by creating global financial strategies. 

10. Sheilina Henry | Senior Vice President, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Off-Premises Dining at Bloomin’ Brands

Sheilina Henry has over two decades of experience in the restaurant industry. She has worked at Pizza Hut, Bob Evan’s Farms and held several positions under the Bloomin’ Brands company (including restaurants like Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba’s Italian Grill).

Her current work at Bloomin’s Brands as the Senior Vice President of DEI and Off-Premises Dining has helped the organization stay current and attract stellar talent. Her role in helping off-premise dining has become even more critical as the pandemic continues to impact on-site dining.

11. Tiffanie Boyd | Chief People Officer at McDonald’s

Tiffanie Boyd is new to the QSR industry, but she brought over two decades of HR experience with General Mills to her role as Chief People Officer at McDonald’s in 2021.

During her tenure at McDonald’s, Tiffanie has already had an enormous impact on people strategy, leadership development, performance management and many other aspects of the McDonald’s HR department. She works with various people across McDonald’s in the United States, from leaders to franchisees. 

Conclusion: Learn from the varied careers of these women in QSR

The eleven women we shared today have a ton of experience in the quick-service restaurant industry. By following and learning from these women, you can significantly impact your career in QSR. These women have impacted the QSR industry in their unique paths to executive leadership roles. Restaurants across the country are better equipped to grow because of the women we highlighted today.

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