The Cheesecake Factory has tapped Donald Evans as the company's chief marketing officer.
While Mr. Evans has 15 years of brand and product-marketing experience, it is not in the restaurant industry. He comes to the Cheesecake Factory after serving 11 years at Walt Disney Co., most recently as senior VP-animation marketing for Pixar Animation and Walt Disney Animation Studios, where he was responsible for strategic marketing, including traditional and digital campaigns, publicity, research, media and in-theater marketing. According to his LinkedIn page, he left Disney in February 2010 for 33 Consulting, a marketing consultancy he founded, whose clients included Activision, Wieden & Kennedy and agency mOcean.
"Donald is a seasoned executive who has built his career on marketing high-caliber consumer brands and products," said Cheesecake Factory Chairman-CEO David Overton. "He has a deep understanding of marketing strategy and has demonstrated the ability to create innovative approaches that are on-brand and of high quality. He is also well-versed in directing digital strategies using social media in order to drive consumer awareness and engagement. We are excited to have Donald join our senior-management team and are confident that his leadership will help support the future growth of our concepts."
Mr. Evans is not the first Cheesecake Factory CMO to come over from an entertainment background. In 2008, the company hired Mark Mears as senior VP-CMO after a stint in a similar position at Universal Studios Hollywood, the studio's theme park. Mr. Mears also has national retail and restaurant experience with brands such as JCPenney, Blimpie International and Pizza Hut.
The Cheesecake Factory operates 167 restaurants in the U.S, including 153 restaurants under The Cheesecake Factory moniker; 13 restaurants under the Grand Lux Cafe name; and one restaurant under the RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen title.