Frisch’s Big Boy, the 75-year-old American comfort food and casual-themed restaurant brand, has announced the hiring of its new chief executive officer, James Walker. Walker, an accomplished restaurant industry veteran, comes to the brand most recently from Nathan’s Famous.
“Fewer and fewer restaurant brands today have the kind of legacy that Frisch’s Big Boy has. The people of Cincinnati and surrounding areas have an emotional connection with this brand,” states James Walker, CEO of Frisch’s Big Boy. “As the brand celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, I couldn’t be more excited about joining an incredible team that understands that connection. My role is to guide us in leveraging our brand equity.”
Walker, whose storied career of working with legacy brands to keep true to their core beliefs and culture while updating the food and customer experience, offers the brand over 30 years of broad-based, senior-level management experience in the hospitality and retail industry. Walker previously held positions at well-known brands such as Nathan’s Famous, Baja Fresh, Cinnabon, and Subway.
As the North American vice president for Subway, Walker oversaw their 28,000 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada and was instrumental in starting Subway’s delivery program, menu transformation, and remodel program. While at Nathan’s Famous, Walker repositioned the brand as “The Flavor of NY” and successfully developed the sandwich menu offerings to drive both check average and frequency.
Walker holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and has received certificates and diplomas from several institutions and colleges, including Yale’s School of Management and Harvard’s Business School. Additionally, in 2017 and 2020, he was a Reader’s Pick for the Nation’s Restaurant News “Power List” of notable restaurant executives.