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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives
Sal Melilli Hoa Brands

Sal Melilli

President & CEO

HOA Brands

Location: Atlanta

Founded: 1983

Industry: Restaurant - Hospitality

Early in his career, there were a few people who helped Melilli carve out his path. “With where I am today, it can be difficult sometimes to take a step back and look at my role in others’ lives from a macro view, but it is important for leaders and titans to understand that the younger generation is really listening to the words we say, so choose them carefully,” he said. As the president and CEO of HOA Brands, Melilli uses his role to help young professionals gain internships and full-time roles.

Hooters of America LLC (HOA) is the franchisor and operator of more than 410 Hooters restaurants in 38 states and 24 countries. HOA Brands is a leader in the restaurant/hospitality industry with high profile concepts including Hooters of America, Hoots Wings by Hooters and Hootie’s Burger Bar.

In the past year since Melilli was named a Titan 100, his most significant accomplishment has been helping his team navigate the challenges of an ever-changing macroeconomy. Melilli has been instrumental in enhancing digital ordering and delivery technology, shifted the business model to drive customers to the company’s loyalty app and partnered with Olo Technology to create a virtual food court for customers to order from a variety of proprietary specialty menus.

“It is clear that the dining landscape is changing,” said Melilli. “While we have continued to see success with new locations across the country and globe, we know our customers will continue to look for different experiences, and we want to be the first to provide those.”

Melilli has also stayed committed to fostering a positive culture for his staff. “The restaurant industry has been rapidly evolving recently, and through this transformation, there has been one constant – our people,” he said. “Now, more than ever, it is crucial that we invest in the people who make our business successful, making it so that they want to continue showing up.”

As a result, HOA Brands has strengthened programs such as tuition assistance and wellness programs while also creating career roadmaps, additional training and a podcast. This past year, the company also began a Women’s Leadership Forum to continue to empower its people, Melilli said.

Melilli has also had the opportunity to make connections through the Titan 100 program. “The connections I have gained from being in such a group have led me to broaden my perspectives and opened doors I otherwise would not have known existed,” he said.

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Did you know?

My secret superpower is the ability to listen and engage people. As people centric business, it is critical I provide and maintain a highly engaged platform for our people to speak, grow and contribute.

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