Aslam Khan, who grew his Westlake-based company into the largest Church’s Chicken franchise in the country, has been named CEO at Dallas-based TGI Fridays, the company announced Thursday.
Khan replaces John Antioco as CEO of the casual dining restaurant. Khan has been chairman of multi-brand franchise company Falcon Holdings LLC, which he founded in 1999, in partnership with Sentinel Capital Partners. Sentinel is the majority shareholder in TGI Fridays. Along with Church’s Chicken, Falcon also operates Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr, Long John Silver and Piccadilly Cafeterias. Falcon has a total of 350 restaurants and manages another 150.
Khan said he will remain an owner of Falcon. About 80 percent of TGI Fridays’ 470 domestic restaurants are franchised following some corporate changes in 2015.
Khan road to success began in a remote village in northern Pakistan. At 14, he took a job at a bakery, working nights, to put himself through college. He launched his career in the food service industry at the American Club at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, working his way from waiter up to manager in seven and a half years. He came to California in 1987 and tried to land a managerial position with Church’s but was turned down by the district manager. He started washing dishes earning $3.25 an hour. Within three months he was managing a money-losing store, turning it around. He landed in the corporate office of the franchise group, rising to marketing director, vice president of operations and chief operating officer. He left in 1995 for a stint with KFC, where he also transformed regional store performance. A year later he returned to Church’s and helped restore operations for a franchisee of 48 underperforming stores. Khan has received a number of awards as a franchisee, including the International Franchise Association’s Ronald E. Harrison award for his commitment to diversity and the IFA Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014.