Cornerstone Restaurant Group (CRG), one of the country’s leading restaurant groups, is pleased to announce its new leadership team. After 32 successful years, Founder and CEO, David Zadikoff is stepping down, and passing the reins to his son, Joshua Zadikoff, who has assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer. Joining Zadikoff at the helm is Danny McGowan, who steps into the role of President alongside his current role as Chief Operating Officer, and Matt Goldstick as Chief Financial Officer. The new leadership team represents the result of several years of strategic planning and preparation from the hospitality group, ensuring a seamless shift while maintaining the core values and mission of the company.  

Joshua Zadikoff began his career in the hospitality industry with Hyatt Hotels after earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. From there, Josh joined the family business and demonstrated his leadership skills by working his way up through various positions within CRG where he honed his skills and worked directly with his father on all matters of the business. In 2018, he became CRG’s President, positioning him to lead the company into a new era of growth and innovation. 

Hospitality industry veteran Danny McGowan joined CRG in 2017 as the Vice President of Operations. With over 30 years of experience, including a partnership with Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises and founding his consulting firm, McGowan brings expertise in advising notable brands and driving profit growth through various avenues. 

Despite the ongoing challenges in the hospitality industry, CRG has remained steadfast. Achieving record sales in 2023, CRG. has maintained self-funded growth initiatives and sustained employment of over 450 employees across its 20 restaurant concepts. This success is due to the company’s emphasis on organizational values and taking care of its people, who in turn, provide excellent service to guests. “Our team is our greatest strength. We believe in each member’s potential and value,” said Zadikoff. “Heartfelt hospitality is at our core, fueled by the people who make it possible. We are committed to their growth and success, always, and we are adapting to the changing times to benefit our teams.”

As labor challenges continue, Zadikoff and McGowan proactively seek new ways to leverage technology to enhance employee retention and guest service. “The goal is to find solutions that improve labor efficiency while enhancing the guest experience,” said McGowan. CRG utilized the Wicker Park fast-casual concept, urbanbelly, to implement QR code ordering and back-of-house A.I. software, “Our chef partner Bill Kim has been implementing  A.I. technology into our kitchens to analyze historical data. This information helps us forecast diner numbers and strategically plan food preparation, leading to reduced food waste, cost savings, and more efficient workflows, allowing our manager to handle more responsibilities and our employees to focus on providing exceptional guest service.” 

Cornerstone Restaurant Group, built on the principles of authenticity, longevity, and a commitment to excellence, has thrived in the competitive hospitality landscape by prioritizing deep-rooted connections over short-term gains. Zadikoff and McGowan are leading CRG with a focus on exploring new growth ventures while maintaining their partnerships within the hospitality industry. Together, they are dedicated to fulfilling CRG’s mission, which is to deliver heartfelt hospitality, appreciation, passion, pursuit of profit mindset, and integrity (H.A.P.P.I. values), prioritizing guest experiences and employee satisfaction.

Looking to the future, Zadikoff and McGowan are dedicated to expanding CRG’s presence both domestically and internationally. With concepts now spanning five states, in the fall of 2023, under the leadership of Zadikoff and McGowan, CRG. opened its first four international concepts at the INSPIRE Entertainment Resort in Incheon, South Korea. Collaborations with award-winning chefs, innovative concept design, and long-term partnerships with powerhouse brands such as Mohegan Sun, Crate & Barrel, and Michael Jordan have driven continuous growth and success for CRG. Cornerstone Restaurant Group continues to pursue new development opportunities to expand into both traditional and non-traditional locations such as casinos, retail spaces, hotels, airports, and universities. This diversification strategy aims to broaden their portfolio. 

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