Jo Ann Herold – Arby’s VP of Brand Marketing
Jo Ann Herold was recently recognized by the Georgia Restaurant Association as a GRACE Awards Distinguished Service of the Year finalist.
As vice president of brand marketing at Arbyâ€™s, Herold focuses on menu strategy and product innovation that will boost the bottom line â€” but she also dedicates much of her time and efforts volunteering. Sheâ€™s currently on the board of the Atlanta Convention and Visitorâ€™s Bureau and is working with Share Our Strengthâ€™s No Kid Hungry campaign through the Arbyâ€™s Foundation. As part of the effort, sheâ€™s working to redesign the companyâ€™s kidâ€™s meal to include nutritious options for children.
Herold didnâ€™t know it at the time, but her career started when she filled out an application for a part-time job at McDonaldâ€™s when she was 16 years old.
â€œLike so many other young people, that first job experience was a great backbone for my future career,â€ she says. â€œI have loved the restaurant industry from the day I started over 29 years ago.â€
When asked about major trends in 2012, Herold shared the following thoughts:
â€¢ In a challenging economy, value and affordability can help restaurant weather the downturn and even increase sales.
â€¢ Dedicating time and resources to keeping concepts fresh and relevant is necessary in our industry.
â€¢ There is always a risk involved with making changes to such an established brand. It’s important to adapt to current trends without losing sight of a brandâ€™s core value to the customer. You have to give the customer a reason to keep coming back.
Herold believes the most pressing challenges to the industry is illegal immigration: “The Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act that was recently turned into Law (HB87) poses unique challenges for our industry. It is important for us to understand [such] issues and evaluate the impact. Further, menu board legislation will involve a much higher level of scrutiny and oversight from the government to the restaurateurs. Consumers are much more educated on the nutritionals and ingredients, and are demanding transparency from restaurants and their suppliers.”
(Photo courtesy of Beth Melberg & Louise Mulherin)