Amid Declining Sales, Bravo Brio Brings in New CEO & Head of Marketing

Amid Declining Sales, Bravo Brio Brings in New CEO & Head of Marketing

Bravo Brio Restaurant Group recently named Brian O’Malley as CEO, effective Dec. 28.

O’Malley will assume the top role upon the retirement of current CEO Saed Mohseni, who will also step down from his position on the company’s board of directors. O’Malley takes over as the company experiences a decline in guest count and comparable sales (more below). Much of this can probably be attributed to casual dining’s ongoing declines and consumer’s decision to move away from carb-heavy meals such as pasta.

Earlier this year, DailyVista cited the company’s intention to continue higher traditional advertising and social media investments aimed at turning around declines. While the company isn’t looking to abandon “aspirational” customers (it will continue to run promotions such as the Share Our Love of Pasta promotion at Bravo! and the Art of Pasta promotion at Brio), it will also go after more affluent diners.

O’Malley was previously leading marketing after the departure of Debbie Porter. In September, Bravo Brio welcomed Scott Johnson as VP and head of marketing. O’Malley currently serves as Bravo Brio’s COO, a position Connie Collins will assume. New marketer Johnson previously served as president and CMO of AdHero and VP of marketing for Bonefish Grill. He was also VP of product innovation and marketing at Outback Steakhouse for almost five years.

Additional Insight

New Restaurant Launches

In 2015, the company opened three Bravo! and three Brio restaurants. For 2016, the current plan is to open two Bravo! and one Brio (two in late Q1 and one in Q4).

Sustained Struggles

Bravo Brio’s sales have struggled in recent quarters. In fact, same-store sales declined 3.5% in Q3 (3.1% for Bravo! restaurants and 3.8% for Brio).

These declines reflected a 7.1% reduction in guest counts, according to CFO Jim O’Connor. In the recent Q3 earnings call, Mohseni noted that comp trends remain negative, but more individual restaurants are posting positive sales YOY relative to 2014.


Bravo Brio’s chief rival is Brinker’s Maggiano’s Little Italy. Additional casual dining competitors include Bloomin’ Brands’ Carrabba’s, Darden’s Olive Garden, and Ignite Restaurant Group’s Romano’s Macaroni Grill.

To get a detailed breakdown of Bravo Brio’s 2015 media spend as well as contact information for key decision makers within the company, request a trial of Winmo and DailyVista today!

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