In addition to Managing Director of Roark Capital Group, Steve Romaniello is the Chairman of the Board of FOCUS Brands, the franchisor and operator of more than 4,500 ice cream stores, bakeries, restaurants, and cafes in the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and more than 60 foreign countries under the brand names Carvel, Auntie Anne’s, Cinnabon, McAlister’s Deli, Schlotzsky’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and the franchisor of Seattle’s Best Coffee on military bases and in certain international markets.
Prior to joining Roark, Steve was Focus Brands president and chief executive officer since 2003. Steve joined Carvel in January 2002 as president of the franchise and foodservice division, and laid the foundation for the strategic turnaround of one of America’s favorite ice cream brands. Once the Carvel system was stabilized, the company was renamed FOCUS Brands to reflect the organization’s long-term vision to become a multi brand franchisor. Under Steve’s direction and with the support of FOCUS Brands’ owner Roark Capital Group, the newly formed organization acquired Cinnabon in 2004, Schlotzsky’s in 2006, and Moe’s Southwest Grill in 2007. Auntie Anne’s joined Focus Brands in 2010 and McAlister’s in 2013.
Prior to accepting the post at Carvel, Romaniello was president and chief operating officer of US Franchise Systems (USFS). Joining at the company’s inception as a senior vice president, Romaniello helped grow USFS from one brand with 27 hotels in nine states to three brands and over 500 hotels open in 47 states and five countries.
Before joining USFS, Romaniello was Holiday Inn Worldwide’s youngest vice president, responsible for franchise services, support, and training for the 1,700 hotels in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean operating under the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza brands, as well as franchise sales in the region. During his tenure, Holiday increased its franchise sales from 60 in 1991 to 300 franchises in 1995. From 1988 to 1991, he held various positions with Days Inn of America.
A native of Stamford, CT and a Tufts University graduate, Romaniello is a member of the Board of Directors of Anytime Fitness, Arby’s, Corner Bakery and Il Fornaio Restaurants, Jimmy John’s, Orangetheory, the Culinary Institute of America, and Share our Strength.
Romaniello is the recipient of the IFA’s Ronald E. Harrison Award for his work in the area of Diversity, Nation’s Restaurant News Golden Chain Award, IFMA’s Silver Plate Award, and the former Chairman of the International Franchise Association.
Romaniello resides in Atlanta with his wife Tina and their four children.