Black Rifle Coffee names former Wendy’s CEO executive chair as it looks to open more stores

The veteran-founded beverage company Black Rifle Coffee, which went public earlier this year, announced on Tuesday that it has appointed former CEO of Office Depot and Wendy’s Roland Smith to the position of executive chair, effective immediately.

Smith, who is already a member of Black Rifle Coffee’s board of directors, will work more closely with the company’s executive team to open new brick-and-mortar locations and increase direct sales to businesses.

Smith was the chief executive officer of Wendy’s in 2011, and he led Office Depot from November 2013 to February 2017. He was appointed CEO of Office Depot shortly after the company’s merger with OfficeMax was finalized. At the time, he was known for turning businesses around, including the supermarket chain Food Lion.

A spokesperson stated that he is assuming the chairmanship of Black Rifle Coffee from founder Evan Hafer, who will remain as CEO and a significant shareholder. Co-CEO Tom Davin will also remain with the organization, according to the representative.

Black Rifle Coffee, founded in 2014 and headquartered in Salt Lake City, is well-known for selling coffee products with firearms-related names, such as “AK-47 Espresso Blend” and “Murdered Out Coffee Roast.” In addition to online sales, it also sells through major retailers such as Walmart.

Black Rifle Coffee had 18 locations by the end of the first quarter of 2022, up from just four a year earlier. It has stated that it will have 78 stores by 2023’s end.

In 2021, Black Rifle Coffee’s net sales totaled $233 million, and the company anticipates a growth to $315 million this year.

Smith said in a statement, “I see significant opportunities for us to reach more customers through new channels and additional distribution points.”

In February, Black Rifle went public through a merger with SilverBox Engaged Merger Corp., a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. The transaction valued the beverage company at approximately $1.7 billion.

As of market close on Tuesday, the company was valued at approximately $1.8 billion.

Recently, the company was embroiled in a controversy involving the Dallas Cowboys.

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