American casual restaurant brand Uncle Julio’s Mexican from Scratch has named David Ellis as the chief brand officer.

The appointment is part of the company’s strategy to speed-up brand growth with an expanded executive team and new locations across US.

With more than 20 years of experience in the restaurant and food industry, Ellis in his new role will establish the vision for strategic branding and overseeing marketing, consumer insights, public relations and product innovation.

He will join the executive team and report directly to CEO Tom Vogel.

Uncle Julio’s president and CEO Tom Vogel said: “We are excited to welcome David to the Uncle Julio’s family as we expand our leadership team during this period of growth and open new restaurants across the US.

“David brings an extensive background in building strong restaurant brands to this position, which will help us to continue to deliver made-from-scratch tableside memories every day.”

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Prior to this new role, Ellis served as vice-president of marketing and culinary for O’Charley’s, held leadership positions at KFC and Darden Restaurants, Olive Garden and Red Lobster. He also acted in roles related to brand management, national promotions and menu strategy.

Global consumer-focused private equity firm L Catterton acquired Uncle Julio’s in October 2017.

Headquartered in Dallas, Uncle Julio’s operates 31 restaurants in seven US states. It also provides catering services for office parties, rehearsal dinners, family gatherings, birthday parties, and receptions.

The brand expects to open new restaurants in Oklahoma City and Columbia, Maryland, in the first half of this year.

The restaurant offerings include the signature Chocolate Piñata, Tableside Guacamole, and The Swirl – a frozen margarita layered with house-made sangria.