4R Restaurant Group, parent company of 4 Rivers Smokehouse, has made recent changes to its headquarters operations, outsourcing payroll, benefits and human resources divisions to third party vendors and creating a chief marketing officer position.
Joining the Winter Park based company as CMO is Jay Zavada, left, a former vice president of global relationship marketing for Walt Disney Parks.
“It’s a change we’ve been looking at for some time,” said company founder and CEO John Rivers. “But we didn’t want to do it until we had something lined up” for the workers whose jobs would be eliminated. Rivers, speaking by phone Monday morning, said that positions have been arranged for two the three workers let go and he believes he has something lined up for the third.
“We’ve made a big investment in marketing,” said Rivers, “which is not something we’ve done historically.” He said that as the company approaches its ninth year and opens more restaurants outside the Central Florida market where it is well known, “We need to have more than a grassroots marketing plan.” Rivers said that when he opened a 4 Rivers Smokehouse in Georgia, “We learned that not everyone in Atlanta knows who we are.”