COLUMBUS, Ohio (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST)–There’s a new boss at City Barbeque for the first time in the chain’s 22-year history.

The Dublin-based restaurant brand Thursday said founder and CEO Rick Malir moved into a new executive chairman role while Mike Muldoon, previously president and chief operating officer, is the new CEO.

The changes were effective Jan. 1.

“Twenty-two years ago, we opened the first City Barbeque in an old donut shop in Ohio, and today I’m just as eager to start this new chapter, both in my life and the life of the company we’ve been able to build,” Malir said in the release. “And I’m excited to have Mike lead City Barbeque as we continue to grow. He embodies our values and is a terrific fit to lead us going forward.”

Muldoon joined the company in 2019. His 25 years in the industry include being president and CEO of RMH Franchise Corp., an Atlanta-based franchisee of Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar that was operating more than 160 restaurants at that time.

Malir has led City Barbeque since the first unit opened on Henderson Road in Northwest Columbus in 1999. He and his team grew the business to 26 units by 2016. The company has more than doubled in size in the past five years after a 2016 investment from Los Angeles-based private equity firm Freeman Spogli & Co.

City Barbeque has 53 restaurants today. The company teased more expansion for its 2022 plans in the Thursday announcement though it did not share any details beyond that. It has added local units at Polaris and Hamilton Quarter in the past few years and will be opening a new prototype in Circleville. It has locations in Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan, and other states as well.

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