Recent Consulting and Interim Management Jobs and Founded Brands

From 1983 to 1994, Wallace Hite served as the VP of Global Franchise Operations for Sonic Drive-In Corp. Before that position, Mr. Hite was Executive Vice President FED for Sonic Corp during its turnaround from 1983 to 1990. Wallace was instrumental for not only turning the brand around and maximizing revenue for both franchisor and franchisee, but also in growing the restaurant group into one of the largest franchised restaurant corporations in the USA at the time.

Lee Cohn was the founder and President of Big 4 Restaurants in Phoenix, AZ from 1975 to 2005. Big 4 was the largest restaurant group in Arizona for more than 30 years. His concepts included Steamers, Lunt Ave. Marble Club, Pops Pizzeria, Oscar Taylors, Ed Debevics, American Grill, and Aldo Baldo, to name a few. Lee is known in the restaurant world as one of the most experienced and knowledgeable “restaurant guys” in the world, creating over 30 concepts in the USA, China, Hong Kong, and Canada.

Lee Cohn served as CEO for the Mastro’s Restaurant Group in the early to mid-2000s. Reconstruction Partners brokered the deal to buy the brand from Private Equity and were hired to run and grow the company. They grew it to 12 restaurants nation-wide then, once again, brokered the deal to sell the brand during late 2017 to another Private Equity Group.

Tacolicious engaged Reconstruction Partners to provide strategic and financial counsel for the development of a strategic growth plan and capital raise. Reconstruction Partners’ far reaching experience in the food service and hospitality industry was influential in completing the deal. Joe Hargrave, CEO and founder of Tacolicious Inc., said that “Reconstruction Partners navigated my company through a very bumpy reorganization in 2017. They introduced me to a great lender during the pandemic when we needed it most. Most recently they brokered the deal with Tacolicious and a very high-quality capital partner. Wallace and Lee are industry professionals who get the job done, but most importantly, they’re good friends.”

The founder of this casual Italian concept brought us in to initially do a “blink” consultation on his organization. We were engaged to review all aspects of the company. Our findings resulted in a restructure of the organization that put the top people in the field to support operations. We also restructured the company legally and migrated all the shareholders into a parent and sub structure. These improvements increased prime margin by 6 percentage points and resulted in sales increases of 4.8%.

Pizza Patron: Reconstruction Partners were engaged to assess the concept against its competitive set. After meeting with all the multi-unit franchisees and comparing the Brand’s competitive set, we made a broad range of recommendations that included menu, physical plant, approach to selecting, and supporting franchisees. The results were a retrenchment of the franchising program which produced a stable franchisee community with the menu and physical plant increasing average restaurant sales and profitability.

Johnny Carino’s largest franchisee, Ameliorate, retained Reconstruction Partners to assess the company. We found the development schedule was too aggressive, the structure of the organization was bloated, and the debt and personal guarantees were excessive. We made significant changes to the organization to reduce the overall G&A dollars. We restructured their leases and bank debt, eliminating roughly $12 million in personal guarantees.

Humble Pie has restaurants throughout the Metropolitan Phoenix area, as well as one in Tucson. Locations include one with two outlets in Terminal Four of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, as well as one at the largest aquarium in the Southwest, OdySea in the Desert, Scottsdale. Featuring a varied menu highlighted by wood-fired artisan pizza served in a contemporary environment with a neighborhood vibe, the chain has served over a million pizzas in its ten-year history. Reconstruction Partners was engaged by the seller to provide strategic and financial advice during the sale process. The Reconstruction Partners team’s wide-ranging senior-level experience in the food service and hospitality industries were instrumental in bringing about the successful conclusion of the deal.

Lee Cohn served as Chairman of the Board for Morton’s Steakhouse for 10 years in the 1990s. He helped grow Morton’s to over 65 restaurants. Driven by the desire to provide genuine hospitality, for Morton’s guests and employees, we created a setting where people truly care about one another and show it in everything they do. The high level of respect and enthusiasm that runs through our entire organization is evident in many ways, including the longevity of our staff and managers, some of whom have been with us for decades, all started with Lee’s vision and leadership.