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Executing Strategic Expansion with Shannon Hennessy, President of The Habit Burger Grill

Shannon Hennessy


If you haven’t yet heard, our leadership team has recently grown with the addition of a new skilled member. Shannon Hennessy joins The Habit Burger Grill team to take on the new role of President, after nearly three years of delivering steadfast results-driven work as Global CFO of KFC. Since welcoming Shannon to the position, we’ve taken the time to chat with her about her career and what motivates her as a leader and trailblazer in the franchise and restaurant industries.


Learn more about Shannon’s journey that led her to The Habit in the exclusive Q&A below:


You have recently joined The Habit Burger Grill. What aspects of this role are you most looking forward to?


SH: I am very excited to join the brand during an aggressive growth phase, and work alongside our teams in marketing, development, franchising and finance. I fell in love with the Habit on my first bite of a charburger, sitting on a sunny patio in Arizona! I have since grown to understand and appreciate the operational system that delivers incredible consistency of operations and customer experience, which is particularly impressive given the complexity of our menu and food preparation. Furthermore, I’m eager to work alongside such a passionate team. As I’ve met the rest of The Habit team, I’ve seen and truly admire their hustle – for example, the pivot from dine-in to digital is phenomenal and showcases our speed and agility.


What shapes your leadership style and what motivates you in the workplace?


SH: I always say the two things that motivate me are people and problems. I love working in teams and having different perspectives provide insight when problem-solving. My eyes light up when encountering a new and complex problem. To me, execution is a complex and vital process and one of my biggest learnings from working with KFC on the global level. I am also incredibly committed to LGBTQ+ inclusion and advancing equity and belonging in the workplace. These passions of mine have shaped me into the leader I am today, and I aim to keep bringing people together to creatively solve problems and drive change.


How do you see your new role as president fitting into the company and driving strategy?


SH: I was a consultant for many years before joining YUM, and have a deep appreciation for strategy. The Habit has so many great things going for us that will fuel our growth – we’re positioned in an elevated “craft casual” segment, our die-hard food fans visit us frequently, and we have very strong capabilities in operations and technology. We also have some challenges to sort out to ensure we can scale our concept in a consistent and profitable way. I look forward to working with our teams to drive higher brand awareness and sales, clarify our expansion strategy, define the format of the future, and improve margins while preserving our high standards for quality and freshness.


I’m a big advocate of the Yum! Leadership model of smart, heart and courage. I am a heart-first leader through and through. I love working in this people-driven business as much as I love food, and I’m happy to partner with the winning team at The Habit!


Shannon Hennessy is as passionate about the craft as much as The Habit is, and her guidance through our growth initiative will prove invaluable to our fast casual restaurant franchise. If you want to get in on our growth plans and learn from experts like Shannon as a Habit franchisee, inquire about our franchise opportunity by filling out our inquiry form to start your multi-unit franchising journey with The Habit!

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