Denise Nelsen Named Chief Executive Officer for Smashburger

Former Starbucks executive joins fast casual brand as its first female CEO

Mar 20, 2024 - 13:02
Mar 20, 2024 - 13:04
Denise Nelsen Named Chief Executive Officer for Smashburger
Denise Nelsen

Smashburger has recently announced the appointment of Denise Nelsen as its new Chief Executive Officer, the company's first female CEO. Under this new leadership, Smashburger is primed to further drive culinary innovation to enhance the guest experience, while expanding its industry footprint.

"We are thrilled to welcome Denise Nelsen as Smashburger's newest CEO. With her extensive experience and proven leadership in the food and beverage industry, she is set to propel the brand into a new era of growth," said Jollibee Group President and CEO Ernesto Tanmantiong. "Her appointment signifies the Jollibee Group's commitment to excellence and diversity. With all her capabilities and energy, we are confident that she can drive success for Smashburger, thereby contributing to the growth of the Jollibee Group as a whole."

Nelsen joined the company as incoming Chief Executive Officer in January 2024, bringing more than 30 years of QSR industry expertise to the role. Prior to joining the fast casual brand, Nelsen served as the Senior Vice President of U.S. Operations at Starbucks, most recently leading the brand's U.S. business for nearly five years, prior to holding various operations and support roles within the company for over two decades.

Her tenure in these previous positions has set Nelsen up with a solid foundation as she steps into the role of CEO. Within Smashburger, she will cultivate and lead teams, integrate streamlined business processes and aim to deliver an impactful influence on all Smashburger's employees, locations and the communities they serve.

"I'm excited and energized to officially step into the position of Chief Executive Officer at Smashburger. With an unmatched dedication to guest satisfaction, Smashburger has consistently set the standard across the fast-casual industry and I'm looking forward to working with the executive team to continue the brand's legacy," said Denise Nelsen, Chief Executive Officer of Smashburger. "As we embark on various new brand ventures in 2024, I'm eager to support our continuous efforts to stay at the forefront of taste innovation in the industry, while collaborating with our international expansion teams to bring the joys of Smashburger to more guests worldwide."