Our franchise business team has over 125 years of combined experience in the restaurant industry with a focus on development, marketing, and operations. This expertise, combined with over 100 years of brand power and consumer loyalty, means each franchise partner is set up for success.
James Walker, CFE
Senior Vice President, Restaurants
Mr. James Walker, CFE, is a top restaurant industry expert with a specialty in rebranding and repositioning iconic American comfort food brands. Walker is an industry-leading authority in restaurant technology and delivery channels, and he specializes in mergers & acquisitions, domestic and international development, operations, franchising, and new product development.
With more than 30 years of broad based, senior level, management experience in the hospitality and retail industries, Walker has served as President, Chief Development Officer, as well as in Senior Operations and New Product Development positions, for brands such as Baja Fresh®, Cinnabon®, Johnny Rockets® and Subway®. As the North American Vice President for Subway®, Walker oversaw their 28,000 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada. He has conducted business in more than 65 international markets, including such emerging markets as Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Pakistan and Mongolia. In 2019, Walker was appointed to the Board of Advisors for Ireland’s Rocket Restaurants Group, which includes Eddie Rocket’s chain of American diners and ROCKET’S fast casual restaurants.
Mr. Walker holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, and has received certificates and diplomas from a number of culinary institutions and colleges, including Yale’s School of Management, and Harvard’s Business School. A life-long learner, Walker recently completed MIT’s “Artificial Intelligence: Implications for Business Strategy” program. In 2020 and 2017, he was a Reader’s Pick for the Nation’s Restaurant News “Power List” of notable restaurant executives. In 2016, he was awarded the President’s “E” Award by President Obama for Excellence in Furthering American Business Internationally. In 2015, the International Franchise Association (IFA) conferred the designation of Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) to Mr. Walker.
Senior Director of Franchise Operations
Oliver is a seasoned restaurant executive, having worked in the industry for over 40 years. His experience spans from full service restaurants where he started, to fast casual and QSR. Oliver has worked in operations for brands including TGI Fridays, Miami Subs, Haagen Dazs and Victoria’s Station. Oliver currently oversees operations for over 250 Nathan’s Famous franchisees both domestically and internationally. For the past 17 years, Oliver has been an integral part of the production of Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.
Director of Operational Services and Training
Jim joins Nathan’s with over 25 years of senior management experience in restaurant operations and corporate support. Most recently, Jim was Country Director, US West for Subway where he was responsible for 5,300 locations in 13 western states. Prior to Subway, Jim was the Senior Vice President of North America for Johnny Rockets. His career includes several years as Vice President of Operations and Development for Fresh Enterprises, Director of Training at El Pollo Loco and Vice President of Operations Services for Prandium Restaurants (Koo Koo Roo, Hamburger Hamlet, Chi Chi’s Mexican Restaurants)
Senior Director of Marketing
As a marketing industry executive with over 30 years of experience, Phil has worked at some of the largest advertising and marketing agencies in the world. Brands include Nathan’s Famous, Miami Subs, Kenny Rogers Roasters and Arthur Treacher’s. Outside of the restaurant industry, Phil has also managed the marketing efforts for brands such as CNN, The History Channel, Heineken, Guinness, Red Stripe and a number of retail, and health and beauty aids businesses. After making the switch to the client side, Phil has worked on the Nathan’s brand for nearly 20 years. Phil holds a BA degree in English, with an emphasis in Communications from Niagara University.
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