Meet The Team Our Franchise Leadership Team

We have a team of franchising experts working to help you reach your goals.  We have a long-standing focus on providing business solutions and experience working with the entrepreneurial spirit of our franchisees.  We are the perfect partner for single unit, multi-unit and investor, non-operator looking for the All-American family restaurant, with a menu that delivers repeat business!

Michael Abt


Michael is an industry veteran with extensive experience growing brands. He was a senior vice president with Arby’s, responsible for more than 1000 restaurants, before joining Huddle House as CEO in 2012. In October 2019, Michael led the acquisition of the Perkins Restaurant & Bakery brand and formed Ascent Hospitality Management, a company founded with a vision to invigorate great brands and provide a catalyst for long-term growth. As a long-time restaurant operator, he understands what’s required to operate a successful restaurant and works closely with franchise partners to continually evolve the brand and maintain a competitive position. He and his team are focused on executing the brands mission: “To bring friends and families together, over delicious food, served from the heart." His organization is centered on providing outstanding franchise partner support in order to consistently deliver a memorable experience for Huddle House guests and boost profitability.

Jim Frank


Jim Frank is currently the Chief Operating Officer overseeing the Perkins brand. During his operations tenure with the company, he has worked his way through operations leadership positions starting as a Regional Manager, progressing to Franchise Consultant, Area Operations Vice President and President of the Marie Callender’s brand before accepting his current role as COO. Jim has worked in field and executive operations for this company for 24 years. Prior to his work at Perkins, Jim was employed in various operating capacities within the Grace Restaurant Company. In addition to serving the industry at many organizational levels, he has contributed to the industry through both non-profit membership as well as senior leadership at the state restaurant association level, including serving as past President, Treasurer, and Vice President of the Minnesota Restaurant Association.

Alison Glenn Delaney

Chief Brand Officer

Alison has over 30 years of experience in building restaurant brands with companies including T.G.I. Friday’s, Marie Callender’s, Ruby Tuesday and Ponderosa. She is responsible for reinforcing, both through our menu and our messaging, that Huddle House is the hometown diner for people who want to relax and catch up over breakfast, lunch, dinner or later, no matter what the occasion.

Peter Ortiz

Restaurant Industry Executive

Peter Ortiz is an accomplished restaurant industry executive with a strong track record of building successful franchise growth programs for notable brands such as QDOBA, Potbelly Sandwich Shop and Focus Brands. Throughout his eight years serving as the Vice President of Franchise Development and Recruitment at Focus Brands, Ortiz’s sales teams consistently sold over 200 franchise units per year. As a highly skilled business strategist, he will forge lasting relationships with franchise partners and implement an effective strategy, ensuring long-term growth for Huddle House / Perkins.

Melissa Rothring


Melissa joined the Huddle House team in 2013 and serves as General Counsel and Executive Vice President to Huddle House, Inc. She has over 20 years of experience in franchising business analysis and management, focusing on financial and legal management initiatives with a concentration on effective branding and operational strategies. Rothring previously held executive leadership positions for GFG Management LLC, whose holdings include Great American Cookies, Marble Slab Creamery and Maggie Moo’s; and Kahala Corp., whose holdings include Blimpie, Pinkberry and Cold Stone Creamery.

Nathan Ballard


Nathan oversees all food, supply and smallware distribution from the HHI Customer Support Center. He is a 20-year veteran of the distribution industry who joined Huddle House in 2004. Previously, Ballard served in Transportation Management roles at industry leaders A&P Supermarkets and GAF Materials Corp.

Robert Hess


Robert is the Chief Information Officer for both Huddle House and Perkins Restaurants brands. Most recently, Robert served as the Executive Consultant to Huddle House & Perkins and prior to that served as Chief Information Officer for the Perkins brand since 2015. Robert brings a 35-year track record of success with deep understanding of the role of information technology within the hospitality industry. Prior to Perkins, Robert worked for O’Charley’s Inc, for 8 years and prior to that, Brinker International for 15 years.

Marilyn Leister


Marilyn joined Huddle House in 2018 to lead the development and implementation of employee-driven strategies and programs that support strategic and tactical business objectives. With more than 15 years of human resources experience, including five years as departmental head, Marilyn has a track record of successfully driving organizational change.

Prior to joining Huddle House, Marilyn served as Director of Human Resources at Cowabunga, Inc., a large Domino’s Pizza franchisee with 100+ restaurants and more than 2,500 employees. There, Marilyn led a team of nine people and was accountable for the organization’s development and execution of HR Strategy. She transformed and elevated the HR function across all employee communications, policy development, training, onboarding, and benefits for the Support Center and its restaurants. On a personal note, Marilyn enjoys travel, scuba diving and hiking.

LET'S TALK ABOUT Your Next Steps on Your Franchise Journey

Find out how you can be a part of our family, and help us to bring the Perkins experience to more and more loyal diners, through single-unit operations and multi-unit ownership opportunities

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