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Eighth Avenue 487, New York
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Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Johan Engman

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Johan Engman was born and raised in Östersund, Sweden before moving to San Diego in 1997 at the age of 16. One year later, he moved out on his own while still in high school, working nights as a dishwasher to pay rent. He was promoted to busser, then server, and continued working at multiple restaurants throughout San Diego until he was 25. Realizing his passion for the industry, Engman gave himself two years to save money to open his own restaurant.

On October 9th, 2008 Engman opened Fig Tree Cafe in Pacific Beach on a shoestring budget of $45,000. After three months of losing money, he was faced with a tough decision. To close the restaurant and make some drastic changes his life, or somehow come up with a way to keep the doors open. Many people suggested that Engman close the place down. “The economy is terrible Johan, nobody will blame you for closing,” they’d say. Due to his stubbornness and determination, Engman decided that under no circumstances would he throw in the towel. He limited the hours of operation for the restaurant as much as possible, and finagled his way into a full-time job in the accounting department of a pharmaceutical company (long story on how he managed to pull that off without any experience). Engman managed to pay personal bills and offset the losses of the restaurant for three years after opening, until the restaurant finally turned a profit. In 2011, Engman left the corporate job and opened Fig Tree Cafe’s second location.

Engman has always been an avid traveler. It’s a way for him to recharge his batteries while being inspired by new countries, cultures and cuisines. He vividly remembers being in a hut next to the Danum River in the rainforest of Borneo during a day when it wouldn’t stop raining. He was thinking about Fig Tree Cafe and the aspects of its concept that could be improved. In lieu of drastically changing it, Engman decided to conceptualize a new restaurant utilizing what he’d learned from opening and running Fig Tree Cafe. He knew he wanted to simplify things and ensure that the consumer could identify and relate to the concept. Engman believed that breakfast was a severely underserved market and had lots of room for growth, not to mention that the San Diego consumer really seemed to love the first meal of the day, along with the boozy brunches that come with it.

Twelve hours later the rain was still pouring down, and the name “California Breakfast Republic” was born. The original idea for the logo was not what it is today, but not far from it. Engman continued adding ideas, such as a placing heavy emphasis on design and branding, designing a menu that was unique yet still offered the classics, and incorporating hidden puns and quotes throughout the restaurant that the consumer would discover over multiple visits.

Breakfast Republic (he decided to drop “California” from the name) opened its doors in North Park on July 26th, 2015. The attention to detail, such as quirky quotes printed on the undersides of coffee cups, funny and sarcastic sayings on napkin bands, life-sized “egg” chairs, bathroom “music” and mirrors along with custom-made branded t-shirts and caps, were a hit from the beginning.

Almost exactly one year later, Breakfast Republic’s second location in Liberty Station opened, followed by several more spots over the next few years. New Breakfast Republics continue to pop up in San Diego, having expanded to Orange County and most recently, to Los Angeles. Engman’s restaurants are under the umbrella of Rise and Shine Hospitality Group, which includes other successful restaurants such as Feast and Fareway, Eggies, and Breakfast Company, with more to come. He certainly is a rising star, having been awarded the San Diego Business Journal’s 2021 private large company CEO of the Year Award. 

In 2021,  Johan co-founded two new companies that are part of his “vertical integration” vision for Rise and Shine Hospitality Group: 

Sunny Side Accounting, a firm specializing in accounting and human resource solutions for the hospitality industry, and EJS Design, a firm that provides full interior design services for restaurant and corporate interiors.

In 2022 Engman was a finalist in Ernst & Young’s prestigious Entrepreneur Of The Year 2022 Pacific Southwest Award. 

In addition to owning and operating restaurants, Engman enjoys traveling and the outdoors with his wife Yasmin, son, daughter, and two dogs. They are also guilty of immersing themselves in a good Netflix binge from time to time!

Chief Financial Officer

Sarah King

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Sarah was born and raised on a Christmas tree farm in Allentown, New Jersey. She began her career in the hospitality industry at the age of fifteen bussing tables. She attended the University of Delaware where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance. In 2006, seeking new challenges in a new city, she made the cross-country move to San Diego.

Sarah’s love for the hospitality industry and accounting merged in September, 2015, when she became the first member of Rise and Shine’s Accounting Department. From there, Sarah developed the systems and foundation for the Finance and Human Resource Department. Today, as Chief Financial Officer, Sarah leads the Accounting and HR team for the entire portfolio of boutique restaurant brands through its aggressive and calculated growth.  In 2021, Sarah co-founded Sunny Side Accounting, a firm specializing in accounting and human resource solutions for the hospitality industry.

Outside of her work, Sarah enjoys spending her time with her husband Adam and dog Ollie, family and friends. You will likely find her exploring nature, nourishing her love of music at a concert, or watching a football or baseball game.

Director of Recruiting and Talent Acquisition

Carmina Katigbak

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Carmina Katigbak has been an operations manager for Breakfast Republic since the fall of 2016. She graduated from San Diego State where she studied Public Administration and Hospitality. She has worked in a variety of concepts in the last 21 years, from her first job as a gum-smacking server at a 50’s themed diner to a bartender at an Asian Fusion restaurant to a decade spent running the first sustainable sushi restaurant in Southern CA.

Breakfast is her main focus now and she enjoys the challenge of continuously elevating San Diego’s brunch experience with the R&S restaurant group. When she’s not trying to make #dogsofbreakfastrepublic a ‘thing’ she enjoys spending time with her family and pups.

Director of Back of House Operations

Daniel Villegas

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Born in San Diego and raised in Tijuana, Daniel Villegas started his culinary career at the age of 18 as a dishwasher at California Pizza Kitchen, where he quickly moved up in rank until he became a kitchen trainer.

Deciding to pursue his passion, Danny enrolled in Southwestern College’s culinary program, studying under one of the partners of San Diego’s Saiko Sushi, he got invited to form part of the opening team of their first location in Coronado.

In 2014, he decided to move back to Mexico and continue his culinary education at the Culinary Arts School in Tijuana. During his studies he was able to do an internship at Quintonil in Mexico City, one of the 50 best restaurants in the world.

After returning to San Diego, wanting to apply his acquired knowledge in Mexican cuisine, Danny decided to join Javier Plascencia’s team at Bracero Cocina, where he worked as a line cook. Then, in 2016 he returned to Saiko Sushi Coronado as their Sous Chef.

Moving forward, he worked as a Lead Cook at The Cork and Craft in Rancho Bernardo, working under Chef Phillip Esteban, and as kitchen supervisor at Provisional at the Pendry Hotel in San Diego, working under Chef Christopher Osborne.

In mid 2018, he joined Rise and Shine Hospitality Group to lead the opening of their new eatery; North Park Breakfast Company. While the concept was in the works, he helped develop menus and systems for the group’s newest projects, and eventually became Feast and Fareway’s Executive Chef, moving up to be one of the company’s corporate Sous Chefs.

Director of Front of House Operations

Skylar Lewis

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Skylar Lewis was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama. She broke into the hospitality industry at 19 years old where she started out as a host. What initially was a way to make ends meet during college, quickly turned into a passion. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communications and Marketing from the University of South Alabama, Skylar moved to New York City.

For the start of her professional career, she conquered the ins and outs of NYC as a publicist working with top restaurants to secure placements in Time Out New York, New York Times, Thrillist and many more. In 2018, Skylar made her way to the West Coast. Her first outing as a San Diego resident was brunch at Breakfast Republic. She instantly fell in love with not only the food, but the atmosphere. She went home that day, applied to be a server and the rest is history. She now trains and develops strong teams and leaders who embody the company’s culture and core values. Skylar looks forward to growing with Rise and Shine.

Regional Manager

Julio Uriostegui

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Julio joined Rise and Shine Hospitality Group in 2017 as a line cook for Breakfast Republic East Village. His hard work and attention to detail quickly earned him the opportunity to be a Kitchen Manager in 2019 followed by joining the corporate team as a Regional Training Manager in 2021.

In his free time, Juilo enjoys spending his days with his dog Kong and taking care of his car collection. He is truly excited to be a part of the team and looks forward to assisting others in their growth within the company.

Regional Manager

Britney Rosas

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Born and raised in Orange County, California, Britney has always had a passion for the restaurant industry. She started her career as a host, but her dedication and hard work quickly helped her rise through the ranks. Britney is a true jack-of-all-trades, having experienced all aspects of the field.

Her passion for breakfast led her to become a General Manager at Breakfast Republic Costa Mesa, where she excelled at managing the daily operations and providing excellent customer service. In her free time, she enjoys hiking in the beautiful National Parks in California and starting her mornings with a cup of coffee.

Whether she is managing a team or dealing with a difficult situation, Britney is always up for the challenge and ready to tackle whatever comes her way. She leads by example and holds herself to the highest standards, setting a positive and inspiring example for her team to follow.

In 2022, Britney took on a new challenge and was promoted to Regional Manager of the Orange County and Los Angeles area. She is excited to continue growing and developing in this role, and is looking forward to bringing her usual enthusiasm and determination to her new teams.

R&S Gilda
Regional Manager

Gilda Munoz

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Meet Gilda Munoz, the hospitality pro with a heart of gold! Born and raised in sunny El Centro CA, Gilda got her first taste of the industry at the age of 18 as a waitress. And boy, did she fall in love! From there, she honed her customer service skills across a variety of industries, from sales to the restaurant biz. Gilda’s secret sauce? A knack for understanding and anticipating customer needs with ease, and the ability to handle even the trickiest situations with grace. With a degree in psychology from SDSU under her belt, Gilda’s passion for helping folks shines through in every interaction.

In 2021, Gilda joined Breakfast Republic as a front-of-house manager, where she has continued to excel in her role. As a Regional Manager, she brings a wealth of experience and unique perspective to the table, ensuring that customers receive the highest level of service and satisfaction.

When she’s not crushing it at work, Gilda loves hitting the trails for a good hike, whipping up something delicious in the kitchen for her family and friends or diving into her favorite books.

Regional Manager

Yeji Yoo-Kim

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A dynamic hospitality professional with a passion for the industry. Born in Seoul, South Korea and raised in Stevenson Ranch, California, Yeji’s journey in hospitality began after moving to San Diego and studying Hospitality Management. Starting as a host, Yeji quickly worked her way up to management, honing her skills and gaining a wealth of experience in various restaurants over a decade. In 2021, she joined Breakfast Republic and opened the Scripps Ranch location as General Manager before moving on to Rise and Shine Hospitality Group as a Regional Manager. Yeji is dedicated to growing as a leader in the industry and enjoys spending time with her fur babies Snowy and Nala, as well as attending Disneyland and music concerts/festivals with her husband Stephen.

Regional Manager

Chris Spayde

Regional Manager

Yamil Chavez

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Yamil came from humble beginnings, he started working in the kitchen as a dishwasher at the age of 17, he built up a strong French culinary influence, and continued to work as a line cook throughout high school and college. Yamil has spent several years perfecting his culinary techniques.

He was inspired by how food can tell a story and cultural ideas, as well as how it brings people together, Yamil’s current position at Rise & Shine is Back of the House Regional Manager. It reflects his dedication to nourishing food as well as his heritage.

R&S Bianca
HR Operations Manager

Bianca Hanson

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Bianca Hanson, Human Resources Operations Manager, is a professional with 15+ years of human resource experience.  Bianca specializes in employee relations and creating a diverse and inclusive work environment.  Bianca received an Associates degree from Southwestern College in general education.  She has worked in a Human Resources role in various industries such as banks, breweries and presently in breakfast. Bianca is committed to promoting positive employee engagement and creating solutions to motivate, empower and upscale our employees.

When Bianca isn’t working she enjoys spending time with her family, taking dance classes and trying new restaurants.  Bianca is excited to be a part of the Rise and Shine team and looking forward to growing with the company.

Peacekeeper Coach

Rocky Martinez

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Rocky started his journey with Rise and Shine Hospitality Group in 2021. He worked as an Assistant Manager, a General Manager and now works as the “Peacekeeper” Coach for all of our locations.

A Michigan native, Rocky started his hospitality career over 20 years ago. After high school he attended Grand Valley State University on a Shakespeare scholarship. Soon after, the entertainment business brought him to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting and screenwriting. He is an alumni of the UCLA extension program and proud union member of the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

Rocky loves the restaurant business. Coaching teams to develop strong core values is a passion of his. He looks forward to his growing future with Rise and Shine.

Rocky’s hobbies include cooking, world traveling, and cuddling with his dog Whiskeyz.

Warehouse Manager

Mario Mauricio

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Mario joined Rise & Shine Hospitality Group in 2016 at the opening of Breakfast Republic in Liberty Station, he started as a food runner and maintained his position there until December of 2021 when he was promoted to the Warehouse manager position.

While working as a food runner Mario show leadership, responsibility and followed Rise & Shine’s core values to earn the warehouse manager position.

Mario likes to spend his free time with his family and is really excited to be part of the growth of Rise & Shine Hospitality Group.


Rene Serrano Valdez

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Rene was born in Acapulco in 1964 and lived there until 1988 when he came to San Diego. Rene immediately went to work for Pizzeria Uno in Pacific Beach and worked there and at other Uno’s in the San Diego and Los Angeles area in the Back of the House, a short stint in the front of the house and as Glenn Miller’s right hand man. It was at this time that Rene started honing his General Maintenance skills which he continues to utilize today. He moved to Seattle in 1998 where he worked with a painting contractor until the economy took a dip in Seattle and there was little to no work available. In 2000 he moved back to Acapulco and worked in the family business. His family took care of a vacation home estate in Acapulco for 30 years. They did everything at the estate from driving guests, cooking, bartending, all of the cleaning, and all of the maintenance.

Rene stayed in Acapulco until 2007 when Miller’s Field opened, at that time Rene moved back to San Diego and worked at Miller’s until 2017 when it was purchased by Breakfast Republic.

Rene very quickly became the “go to maintenance man” for all of the Rise and Shine Restaurants. He handles the painting, equipment repairs, plumbing, minor electrical, delivery of supplies, and anything else that comes up.

LeAnn Molle

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LeAnn Molle was born in San Diego and grew up in Oxnard, CA. At 19 years old, LeAnn moved to Los Angeles where she began her accounting career working in a range of industries from insurance to travel. After a few years in Los Angeles, LeAnn briefly moved to the alluring Catalina Island where she worked as a server and gained her initial restaurant experience.

With an adventurous spirit, LeAnn left California behind and moved to Sweden where she started a family, studied and obtained a degree in Account/Systems Information and spent the next 18 years.

After raising a family she decided to move back to her roots in San Diego. She obtained a position with Pro Specialties Group, Inc. as an accounting specialist. In 2014, LeAnn left PSG, Inc. and joined Rise & Shine Restaurant Group.

Director of Human Resources

Dulce Ramos

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Born and raised on the island of Oʻahu, Dulce has found herself in the neighboring sunny city of San Diego as of August 2021.

Graduating from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa with a degree in Communications and Minor in Ethnic Studies, she has utilized her education and strengths in Human Resources, Operations, and Event Planning. Through these strengths, she hopes to achieve reworking what it means to be in Human Resources and really be a proactive member to the Rise and Shine team. Prior to her move, she helped manage electronic dance music shows and could be found on the dance floor jamming to any genre or spinning poi balls. A huge fan of performing arts, hiking, and fine arts, she’d be more than happy to learn your favorite ‘ins and outs’ of San Diego. Joining the Rise and Shine Hospitality Group as of March 2022, Dulce is looking forward to growing with the company, especially by supporting from within.

Daniel Mendozq
Human Resource Coordinator

Daniel Mendoza

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Daniel’s passion for the food industry sprouted back in 2007 when he moved to San Diego from his hometown in Veracruz.  He started working in La Jolla and Del Mar where he worked in fine dining for over ten years. Ready for change – he gave breakfast a chance, and stumbled upon a serving position at Fig Tree Cafe in Pacific Beach and that’s when he joined the Rise & Shine Hospitality Group in December of 2017.  Daniel quickly made his way up to shift lead, Assistant FOH Manager, and after proving his hard work and dedication he earned the General Manager position.  After putting school on hold for several years, Daniel obtained a Bachelor Degree in Education and a Minor in Human Resources. Wanting to keep up with his professional development, he joined our HR Department team in 2023.

Daniel loves spending his free time with his wife and toddler. He loves taking his family on long walks along with his three schnauzers and he also enjoys reading mystery and sci-fi books.

Alan Castillo
Human Resources Coordinator

Alan Castillo

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Alan was born and raised in San Diego, starting his first job in the hospitality industry at the age of 16 as a server assistant for 7 years. Alan had also joined two non-profit organizations, the first one was an organization that helped him better prepare for college and the second being to give help to those in need. Alan went to Grossmont college wanting to get a degree in music, but soon after realizing that being a music major wasn’t for him he decided to try some business courses. Alan soon realized how much he really liked taking business courses and decided he wanted to pursue a business degree.

When transferring to SDSU he explored more on the field of business and he found the area he was most interested in was HR, and graduated with a Bachelors in Business Administration Specializing in HR making him a first-generation college student. Moving forward with his career in HR Alan worked at many different locations that had to do with the food industry before making his way to work with Rise & Shine, which Alan is looking forward to growing with!

Director of Accounting

Jamie Pountain

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Jamie grew up in the San Diego area where he attended San Diego State University earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting. After college he worked with various small companies prior to beginning his career with The UPS Store formerly Mail Boxes Etc. During his 22 years with The UPS Store he held various roles from leasing accountant to Director of Operations. His passion for helping small businesses grow and love of numbers brought him to Sunny Side Accounting.

In his free time Jamie spends time with family and friends enjoying sporting events, live music, new restaurants, road trips and other adventures.

Accounting Manager

Luz Coral

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Luz Coral is a first generation Mexican-American born and raised in San Diego. Her love of travel and food began at a young age when her parents, who are both great cooks, took the family throughout Mexico. She studied Business Marketing while working in corporate America supporting C-level executives. In 2011 she joined Ladeki Restaurant Group as the Operations Coordinator and learned what it takes to support a successful restaurant. She later found herself at an organic produce company as the Billing Administrator.

Luz joined Rise & Shine in the summer of 2020 and is excited to work in an industry she is passionate about.

In her free time, she spends time with her family, visits museums, and enjoys the beautiful San Diego weather with her two pups.

Accounting Manager

Jenn Robison

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Jenn was born and raised in San Clemente, CA but moved to San Diego in 2010. Her passion for accounting was apparent early on and started out with a data entry job, moving her way up to accounting with various companies. When she moved to San Diego, she took an accounting job with Dream Homes magazine. She was there for 8 years before finally joining the Rise & Shine team in 2022. Her attention to detail and self motivation makes her a great fit for the accounting department. She looks forward to growing with the company and continuing to expand her career.

In her free time, Jenn loves pilates, sports, the beach, her cat Cleo and spending time with friends and family. She also has a passion for music and loves to cook.


Shei Cherry

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Shei is a California native who was raised in San Diego. With previous experience in bookkeeping and administrative work she decided to give college another try. She obtained an Associates degree in Business Administration and Economics at Grossmont college and later transferred to San Diego State University and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. Shortly after graduating college she would join Rise and Shine Hospitality Group . Shei is self-driven and self-motivated and she looks forward to growing with the company.

Outside of work she loves spending time with her Husband & Children.


Tamila Kushner

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Tamila was born and raised in Dnepr, a city in Ukraine that lies along the beautiful River Dnepr.

Right after high school, she attended the University of Railway Transportation where she received her first degree in Engineering. However, soon after graduation, she realized that it was not her cup of tea, and so she pursued her second Bachelor Degree in Economics. Accounting has always been her passion and she built a successful career in the financial field in Ukraine. At age 45, Tamila emigrated to the USA and for several years she was a devoted wife. Later, at the end of 2022, she joined Rise and Shine’s Accounting team. She likes to spend her free time at the beaches, comfortably hiking at beautiful places around San Diego, and live concerts.

Accounting Implementation Manager

Josh Sutton

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Josh was born and raised in the Washington DC area and moved San Diego in 2003. He joined Sunny Side Accounting in 2023, bringing over two decades of varied accounting and financial management experience. In the past, Josh has spent time in public accounting, performing tax and audit/attest services and has also worked in various corporate settings of all shapes and sizes, spanning a diverse group of industries. Prior to beginning his accounting career, Josh served with the US Army during Operation Desert Shield/Storm, spent time working in the medical field as an E.M.T., and was a background ‘extra’ in various television productions.

In his free time, Josh enjoys spending time in the San Diego sunshine, can be found either at the beach or riding his bike around the streets of North Park & Normal Heights. He’s an avid reader and enjoys producing old-school hip-hop beats. He’s thrilled to be a part of the Sunny Side team!


Christy Fortino

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Christy is a California Native born in the Bay area but moved to San Diego at a young age and has been here since. She raised her three children in East County and remains there to stay close to her grandchildren. Family is a big part of her life!

Christy has a true passion for numbers, as a child she would help her mom write checks to pay bills and balance her bank account. Her love of numbers has always been strong which is why she has such excitement for the Accounting field.

Christy’s accounting career started in the payroll and cash office and has five years of experience in the hospitality industry. She joined the Sunny Side Accounting team at the start of 2024, and is excited to continue to learn and grow with the company .

Christy loves to shop, watch all the True Crime shows and spend time with family, particularly her grandchildren. Not to mention she loves to hang out with her husband adventuring around San Diego.

Senior Accountant

Daniel Madrigal

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Daniel is a Senior Staff Accountant who brings 10 years of accounting experience to Sunny Side Accounting. He has a double Bachelors in Business Administration/ Behavior Studies from Liberty University. Daniel is a person who enjoys a challenge in the workplace, a great cultured environment where he can be an asset to a finance team and he can learn from them as well.

Daniel was born and raised in San Diego, enjoys road trips, trips to different cities in Mexico, new restaurants, fun time with his dog Lily and binging on some good series or documentaries.

Mayor of Shining Moment-Ville

Tom Penn

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Tom Penn specializes in helping burgeoning restaurant groups reach their full potential through disciplined, methodical growth with an emphasis on cultural excellence. For decades, Penn has worked with restaurant operation teams to harvest Shining Moments; surprise moments of joyful hospitality that make a real difference.

Penn has over 35 years in executive level hospitality and restaurant experience. After graduating from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas in Austin, he spent 13 years with Hyatt Hotels and Resorts in locations all over the world helping Hyatt deliver their brand of service excellence. Over the next 12 years, he was an integral part of the leadership team of Ladeki Restaurant Group and Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza, opening 8 concepts and 25 restaurants. In the decade to follow, he has served as a growth specialist and Mayor of Shining Moment-Ville, helping service teams bring meaningful hospitality experiences to their forefront.

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