CEO, Galardi Group
J.R. Galardi is the President & CEO of the Galardi Group, the parent company of the restaurant brands Wienerschnitzel, Tastee Freez, and Hamburger Stand. Son of Wienerschnitzel founder John N. Galardi, J.R. started in the restaurant business when he was 13. Working the fry station, cashier and janitorial duties during summers throughout high school, J.R. interned as a Wienerschnitzel Franchise Business Consultant during college to gain valuable experience in field support of our franchisees. After graduating from the University of Colorado and working as Wienerschnitzel’s Marketing Manager, J.R. focused on looking towards the future of the brand.
As a young professional, J.R. understood what would get this demographic’s attention and conceived the Visionary Marketing team. This advanced new concept was created to hit the streets and meet the younger generation face-to-face. Over the years, the Visionary Activation team has served millions of free hot dogs and reached new Wienerschnitzel guests through unique channels of public service, social media, concerts and other special events, plus strategic integration with extreme athlete sponsorships. Since his role in marketing, J.R. has held positions as Director of Administration, Executive Vice President and is now President and CEO of Galardi Group, Inc. J.R. is the face and leadership of the future; active in developing new partnerships and bringing innovative and profitable solutions to our franchise community.
Cindy Galardi Culpepper
Executive Chairperson, Galardi Group
Cindy Galardi Culpepper, Executive Chairperson and advisor to the Galardi Group, stepped into the leadership role in 2013. Cindy grew the business into what it is today, driving new initiatives, company structure, culture, values and a sense of purpose that successfully operates under its roof. In February 2022, her son J.R. Galardi stepped into the CEO role, allowing Cindy to continue focusing on numerous charity and community outreach programs. With the mission of “serving food to serve others,” Cindy implemented a plan for Wienerschnitzel to contribute a portion of its annual revenue and dedicate company time to multiple charities. Always outgoing and personable, Cindy is a key figure and advisor to the Galardi Group.
Chief Marketing Officer
Doug Koegeboehn is the Chief Marketing Officer for Wienerschnitzel, the world’s largest hot dog chain. Doug loves the enjoyment of food and knows pretty much everybody else does, too. That’s why he has relished spending much of his entire career working on food-related business. It started when he was 15 and landed a job at Burger King. Then when Doug graduated college, he joined an advertising agency working on the El Pollo Loco account. For the next 20 years, Doug led agency teams on national food accounts, including Dole, Marie Callenders, California Avocado Commission, Yogurtland and his favorite, Wienerschnitzel. In 2015, an opportunity arose, and he joined the Wienerschnitzel family as CMO and is loving it. On the personal side, Doug feels extremely lucky to be married to his beautiful wife for the past 25+ years and has two great kids. His marriage and his children are his greatest accomplishments in life.
Director of Franchise Development
Ted Milburn joined the Galardi Group in January 2015 to help spearhead new franchise growth. Previously, Ted worked with internationally-recognized companies: including Nestle Toll House Café, where he led North American franchise efforts to record new growth and directed franchise development for brands under the Kahala Corp. umbrella, including Blimpie, Cold Stone Creamery and Taco Time. Ted brings passion and innovation to strategic franchise initiatives while developing new franchisee relationships. An avid outdoorsman and college sports fanatic, Ted also serves in numerous charitable causes in the Seattle area with his wife and son.
Director of Real Estate
Laurie New joined Galardi Group as Director of Real Estate in May 2022. Previously, she worked for Inspire Brands supporting Dunkin’, Baskin Robbins, and Jimmy John’s franchisees with their restaurant development in California and Nevada. Prior to that, Laurie worked for 7-Eleven Inc. for over 12 years in both Operations and Real Estate, contributing to a significant growth in profit, net income, and store count for both the company and its franchisees. Laurie is excited to work with our franchise partners to help secure successful new locations for the continued growth of the Galardi Group brands. Laurie and her family live in Riverside, CA. She enjoys spending time with family at the beach and in the mountains, and is looking forward to future RV camping adventures.
Director of Training
David Kreitlow has been part of the Wienerschnitzel since 1981. During this time, he has had several roles within the Operations and Training Departments. David has been the Director of Training since 2012. He believes in the importance of providing exceptional tools for the franchisee’s success. David’s passion for and understanding of the brand is unmatched.
Matthew Steele has been an instrumental member of our training team since 2015. He has been in the industry since 2007, previously working for Disney and Baja Fresh, among others. Matthew currently supports all levels of the training process, from team member to franchisee, and both instructor-led and computer-guided training.
Chief Operating Officer
Rusty Bills is the enthusiastic leader of the Operations Department. Rusty’s 12-year tenure with GGI started as a Franchise Area Director. He soon moved on to Manager of Tastee Freez, then Director of Operations, then Senior Director of Operations, and now in his current role of Vice President since September 2017. Rusty has a passion for our food, our franchisees and our crew members. Within his role and oversight of all operations, he is dedicated to elevating the brand’s service, image and cleanliness. Starting in the restaurant business when he was 15, Rusty later took a bus-boy job at California Pizza Kitchen to help pay his way through college. Rusty joined CPK corporate after college, developing strong operational skills in all phases of the restaurant. Prior to GGI, Rusty was Director of Operations for Taco Del Mar. He lives in Laguna Niguel with his wife of over 20 years and two beautiful daughters.
Manager of Restaurant Standards & Construction
Douglas Spell joined the Galardi Group in December 2014 to oversee the construction of new Wienerschnitzel restaurants and remodels of existing locations. Previously, Douglas worked at other restaurant firms as Director of Construction, including BJ’s Brewhouse, Mimi’s Café and Boudin Bakery, to name a few. Doug brings years of architectural and hands-on experience in building restaurants. His understanding and know-how in the restaurant construction process are exceptional. In addition to construction roles, he also worked at a highly reputable architectural firm overseeing the design of multiple restaurant concepts. Douglas is an avid deep-sea fisherman and loves the outdoors! On weekends, he can be seen cruising in his classic muscle car when not landing a trophy fish in the Pacific.
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