Krystal CEO talks trends at Restaurant Franchising & Innovation Summit

ATLANTA — March 20, 2019 — Krystal President and CEO Paul Macaluso joined franchising thought leaders in a panel discussion on topics ranging from growth and change initiatives to franchisee relations and corporate culture at the fourth annual Restaurant Franchising & Innovation Summit in Louisville, Kentucky. The Franchising Think Tank on Wednesday, March 13 included Andy Howard, president and CEO of Huey Magoo’s, Heather Neary, president of Auntie Anne’s and Kelly Roddy, president of Schlotzsky’s, in addition to Macaluso.


“After 33 months of negative sales, we’re back in the black year to date,” Macaluso said, attributing Krystal’s success to a holistic strategy.


Macaluso’s approach includes a new prototype and seven restaurant rebuilds with improvements in core products, refined consumer targeting, overhauled marketing, rapid expansion of third-party delivery (3PD) and a revitalized corporate culture. The new Krystal prototype has streamlined drive-thru capabilities which have reduced the drive-thru wait by more than 20 seconds, improving both the customer experience and unit volume.


The panel agreed that employee engagement and recognition are key drivers for recruitment and retention in a tight labor market. Macaluso touted Krystal’s Square Up Scholarship and a new mobile recognition program, through which managers can award points and gift cards to employees, and employees can recognize each other for their accomplishments. As a result of these and other initiatives, Krystal has experienced a 27-basis-point decrease in turnover from 217 percent to 190 percent over the past year.


At the Summit, executives from leading brands shared success stories about numerous ways they have innovated to grow their franchises – new technologies, new menu items, new marketing tactics, new training programs, etc. Krystal’s Macaluso was on trend, sharing the successful turnaround story of the South’s first quick-service restaurant, a beloved, iconic brand, revitalized and relevant to a new generation of consumers.


Macaluso will participate in the upcoming President’s Panel at the 2019 Franchise Marketing Leadership Conference in Atlanta in June. He will join other franchise presidents and CEOs who are former CMOs to discuss career progression, marketing programs and leadership strategies that helped them grow into C-suite positions.


About The Krystal Company

Founded in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1932, The Krystal Company is the original quick-service restaurant chain in the South. Its hamburgers are still served fresh and hot off the grill on the iconic square bun at over 350 restaurants in 11 states. Krystal’s Atlanta-based Restaurant Support Center serves a team of 6,000 employees. For more information, visit


Media Contact:
Laura Mansfield, APR
The Tombras Group
+1 (865) 599.9968

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