Josh Kern Named CEO of SPB Hospitality

Earns Role by Steering Company Through Krystal Merger and Operational Efficiency Overhaul

HOUSTON--()--SPB Hospitality, an industry-leading operator and franchisor of restaurants spanning a national footprint, announced today the appointment of Josh Kern as Chief Executive Officer. He was named interim CEO in August of 2022. SPB Hospitality encompasses a wide array of brands in the casual, fast casual, quick service and fine dining categories, as well as bars and breweries.

Kern steered the company’s merger with Krystal, the original quick-service slider concept in the south. Furthermore, he has blended the companies while streamlining costs and launched the first major refranchising effort for the Krystal brand.

“By fostering an environment that encourages collaboration and open communication, we can leverage the collective expertise and diverse perspectives within our organization to achieve extraordinary results,” Kern said in an open letter to employees and franchisees, thanking them for their continued belief in his leadership. “I am truly honored and excited to lead this incredible team and look forward to a future filled with limitless possibilities.”

Kern noted that his people-first vision for SPB Hospitality remains centered on three core principles: collaboration, innovation, and customer-centricity.

“Josh is absolutely the right person for the job, with the energy to drive our business forward and accelerate our growth. With his experience in the marketing, culinary, supply chain and IT disciplines, he is well positioned to expand SPB Hospitality and develop strategies to navigate ongoing inflationary pressures and fast track innovative ways to reach out to guests,” said Morgan McClure, Managing Director at Fortress Investment Group.

Kern joined SPB Hospitality in 2018 as Chief Marketing Officer before taking on the President of Concepts role, overseeing marketing, culinary, beverage, supply chain and information technology. Kern’s other restaurant experience includes serving as Chief Marketing Officer for Cerca Trova Restaurant Concepts (largest Outback Franchise system), Chief Marketing Officer for Smashburger and Vice President of Marketing for Quiznos.

To learn more about SPB Hospitality’s brands and locations, visit

About SPB Hospitality

SPB Hospitality is a leading operator and franchisor of full-service dining restaurants, spanning a national footprint of hundreds of restaurants and breweries in 35 states and the District of Columbia. The Company’s diverse portfolio of restaurant brands includes Krystal Restaurants LLC, Logan’s Roadhouse, Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom, and a collection of high-end restaurant brands including J. Alexander’s, Merus Grill, Redlands Grill and Stoney River Steakhouse and Grill. SPB Hospitality is also one of the largest operators of craft brewery restaurants in the country, including Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, ChopHouse & Brewery, Big River Grille & Brewing Works, AIA Ale Works Restaurant & Taproom, Ragtime Tavern Seafood & Grill and Seven Bridges Grille & Brewery.

About Fortress

Fortress Investment Group LLC is a leading, highly diversified global investment manager with approximately $44.2 billion of assets under management as of March 31, 2023. Founded in 1998, Fortress manages assets on behalf of over 1,900 institutional clients and private investors worldwide across a range of credit and real estate, private equity and permanent capital investment strategies.