James brings nearly 20 years of legal, executive, M&A, employment, and franchise experience in a variety of industries. James has a deep focus on the structuring and scaling of multiple offerings in the F&B/Restaurant sectors. James also partners with owners and executives to assist in strategic operational planning and implementation, executive development, and Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A). James has significant experience in the buying and selling of various-sized businesses and enjoys working with his clients to assist them in realizing their professional and business goals.
In addition to being Of Counsel at Reiss LeMieux, LLC, James currently serves as an Executive Partner with Salt Creek Capital. Salt Creek partners with experienced executives to acquire and recapitalize profitable small companies that are seeking additional capital or an ownership change across numerous industries.
Before Salt Creek, James was the CEO, President, COO, and a member of the Board for the parent company of Fat Tuesday – one of the world’s first and largest retailers of frozen specialty alcoholic beverages. During his tenure, his team created a dual-brand franchising system, nearly doubled EBITDA despite a global pandemic, and; delivered over 80% new store/pipeline growth. James successfully led the sale of the company for the founding family to a strategic buyer.
Prior to Fat Tuesday, James served as the Vice President of the Global Franchise for Ruby Tuesday, Inc. (RTI). James led global operations for the RTI franchise system with over 60 stores across five continents and over $100MM in topline sales. At RTI, James also served as the General Counsel of the then-publicly traded company. James headed a team that handled all legal, risk, and employee relations matters for RTI and its 25,000 team members. In that role, James led the strategic alternatives process for the eventual $150MM public-to-private sale of RTI.
Before RTI, James was a Senior Vice President and the General Counsel of Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Inc. (ENRGI). There, James helped develop and grow the traditional and non-traditional franchise offerings and provided executive legal leadership to the then-publicly traded quick casual restaurant chain. James led the $500MM sale of ENRGI’s 3 brands, as well as the sale of over 800 units of ENRGI to JAB Holdings.