Dave’s Hot Chicken Hires Leon Davoyan as Chief Technology Officer

HW - Leon Davoyan, Dave’s Hot Chicken

Davoyan Will Upgrade the Fast-Casual Brand’s App and Delivery Capabilities

Dave’s Hot Chicken has named Leon Davoyan as chief technology officer (CTO). He will build the fast-casual franchise’s technology infrastructure and harness tech tools to maximize marketing and operations initiatives. These include streamlining third-party delivery, enhancing the brand’s mobile app and strengthening restaurant operations systems. He brings two decades of experience in hospitality technology to the position. 

Dave’s is a unique brand with a solid culture, both in-store and at the office. I was ready for something new but wanted to make sure I was making the right move professionally and personally,” Davoyan says. “I enjoyed the culture that [CEO] Bill Phelps had built, and I love and respect [president and COO] Jim Bitticks and all that he has done for the industry. The more I learned about the founders and what Bill and Jim had built, the more I wanted to be part of the organization.”  

To support the franchise’s growth, Dave’s Hot Chicken also recently brought on Brad Haley to serve as chief marketing officer. “Brad and Leon are two of the best in their fields,” Phelps says, “and I know they will only help us continue building this phenomenal brand [which has] a world-class team of franchisees and support staff.”

Leon Davoyan, Dave’s Hot Chicken
Leon Davoyan is the new CTO for Dave’s Hot Chicken. 

Davoyan’s Experience

Davoyan entered the franchising arena after Wendy’s purchased Baja Fresh in 2002. After installing and certifying point-of-service (POS) devices for Baja Fresh, he was hooked on the fast-paced field. 

Prior to joining Dave’s, he held multiple leadership positions with Kitchen United, a leader in the ghost kitchen space, and emerging food franchise brands such as Pinkberry, Veggie Grill and Blaze Pizza.

Advice for Future Franchisees

Davoyan offers a few tips for entrepreneurs and franchisors. First, he urges franchisees to focus on what they are great at and outsource other tasks. He also believes they should follow their gut and work only with individuals who feel a mutual sense of trust. “Franchising is not an easy business, and it requires a lot of folks to have deep-rooted trust in each other for the system to work.”

On the franchisor side, he believes technology should be approached with a businesslike attitude. To do this, Davoyan suggests investing in technology that yields positive ROI as well as piloting 10 tech initiatives and focusing on the top two. 

Staying Competitive

Based on his experience, Davoyan views competition as a measure of how you are performing against your best self, not comparing yourself to others. To stay competitive, he believes that franchisors should focus on who their customers are and cater to their needs instead of trying to  follow what their competition is doing. For example, if a franchisor’s key push is order convenience, the brand needs to find ways to over-deliver on that promise. If gamers are a large segment of the customer base, the brand should cater to their convenience. Or if a franchisor mostly deals with busy professionals, then the brand should help them order food without taking their hands off the steering wheel, he says.

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Haley Cafarella is a passionate journalist and writer for IFPG. In her role as content and marketing specialist, she creates original articles for FranchiseWire and Franchise Consultant Magazine. Her specialties include educational articles about buying a franchise and franchise consulting. She also reports on franchise professionals who were recently promoted or hired through FranchiseWire’s popular HireWire series.

Haley has contributed to a variety of regional publications, including Quo Vadis, New Brunswick Today, and the Trenton Monitor. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Rutgers University.
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