Chief Marketing Officer
Krystal Restaurants, LLC
Location: Dunwoody, Georgia
Alice Crowder is described as a curious person. It’s how she plans to remain influential in the restaurant industry. She is curious about people, ideas, technology and behavior and believes that these are the things that drive others to understand, to ideate and then create. “Diversity of thought and ideas from knowledgeable and engaged people makes every initiative stronger,” said Crowder. “In restaurants, it means that we explore food the same way we explore ideas. What haven’t we tried? What’s a new flavor or platform or way of connecting the experience to the guest?”
Her curiosity has served her well as the CMO of Krystal Restaurants, a food and beverage firm. “Krystal is the second-oldest fast-food restaurant in the country and is famous for its eponymous slider and other hand-held crave-able treats,” Crowder said. “The brand’s mission is to provide its guests with little moments of delight that help them to get back to what they love.”
As a leader, Crowder refers to Krystal Restaurants as a 90-year-old startup, and she embraces new initiatives and restoring the brand. Her 30-year career, 20 of which are exclusively in food service, have prepared her for the challenge. Working her way up from a manager of Insights at Denny’s to CMO of the second-oldest fast-food chain in the country, Crowder has led all aspects of the function, pioneering new approaches, creating strategy, building teams and forging relationships with her teams, peers, partners and guests. She is charged with reshaping the brand positioning while driving positive changes to the menu, messaging, relationships and development of the business.
“She is highly process-oriented, and data driven while being exceptionally creative and dedicated to establishing, magnifying and executing against brand vision,” said her staff. “Even in the most challenging and aggressive environments, she delivers measurable results that have made her sought-after as a leader, mentor and industry expert.”
Crowder’s curiosity has led to eye-opening changes that have enhanced how she leads. “Curiosity is not just about what you take in; it’s every day so much about the environment you create and the teams you lead and are a part of,” she said. “I work with people who are vastly different than I am, in almost every way, and every one of them has something unique and valuable to offer. It’s the joy of this work.”
For her creativity, curiosity and commitment as a leader, Crowder has been named a Titan.
In a recent podcast that featured Crowder, she shared that she hopes her background as an English major whose concentration is on poetry composition can comfort to parents of college-aged students. Crowder said to us when we asked about it later, “My parents asked me how writing a sestina was supposed to feed and clothe me., but it turns out that a liberal arts education teaches you to communicate, create and test hypotheses, take apart problems and find solutions…”