Burger King says Ellie Doty is joining the chain as its new North American chief marketing officer, bringing a marketer with casual dining and fast-feeder experience to lead “the Home of Whopper” in its home market.
Burger King hasn’t had a North America CMO in recent years. And earlier this month, Molson Coors announced that Marcelo Páscoa, Burger King’s VP and head of brand and communications for North America, would be joining the brewer as VP of brand marketing for the Coors Family of Brands.
Doty’s role will include some of Páscoa’s responsibilities as well as other duties.
“Her deep industry expertise and proven track record as an innovative leader make her the perfect fit for our organization,” Chris Finazzo, president, Burger King North America, said in a statement. “In this role Ellie will be responsible for overseeing marketing for Burger King North America, leading things such as innovation, calendar planning, guest insights, media, advertising, social media, and digital media, among others.”
Doty joined Brinker International in 2017 as VP of marketing. She was promoted to senior VP and CMO of Brinker’s Chili’s Bar and Grill chain in September 2019, after helping the casual dining chain achieve sales and traffic growth with marketing and programs including Chili’s 3 for $10 offers and $5 margaritas of the month. Joining Burger King is a return to the fast-food category for Doty. Prior to her time at Brinker, she rose through the marketing ranks at Yum Brands Inc., working on Long John Silver’s, then Taco Bell, followed by roles at KFC in both the U.S. and Canada.
She heads to Burger King, the fifth-largest U.S. restaurant chain and the second-largest burger chain, as it tries to win back customers after a steep decline in sales during the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic. The chain recently introduced the Impossible Croissan’wich breakfast sandwich featuring plant-based sausage, after seeing some success with the Impossible Whopper, featuring a plant-based burger patty, in 2019. Burger King uses a variety of quick marketing tactics to promote its mobile app, often featuring free delivery or free Whoppers to get people to sign up. In 2019, Burger King’s U.S. systemwide sales rose 2.7 percent, slower than its main rivals including market leader McDonald’s, whose 2019 U.S. systemwide sales rose 4.9 percent, according to Technomic.