Former Krystal VP back in food business

Former Krystal VP back in food business

July 24th, 2013 by Ellis Smith in Business Around the Region

Alan Wright

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

When Krystal laid off much of its Chattanooga headquarters staff and moved to Atlanta, the move surprised some residents who had long associated the company -- known for its small, steamed burgers -- with the Scenic City.

But though Krystal's former workers may have left the southern fast-food joint behind, some remained in the food industry.

Alan Wright, who worked his way up the ranks at The Krystal Co. for 11 years, has joined Newk's Franchise Co. as the vice president of marketing, according to a news release. The Jackson, Miss. company, which was founded by the family that also started McCallister's Deli, is looking hard at Chattanooga as a potential expansion market, officials say.

Wright, who also previously worked for Olan Mills, Duke Energy, Rent-A-Center and Hardee's, reported directly to ex-Krystal president Fred Exum in his old role, where he oversaw many of Krystal's day-to-day operations.

Wright's new job will see him helping to open 15 new restaurants for Newk's this year, with the goal of reaching 70 locations by the end of 2013 -- a different type of job from his work at Krystal, a company that shrunk over the years from its heyday as a publicly-traded company.

"Well, personally, I am like a kid in a candy store," Wright said. "I do not know if there is any other food opportunity out there from a marketing standpoint where there are so many assets to leverage."

Contact staff writer Ellis Smith at esmith@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6315.