Senior Officers & Leadership Team
Chief Executive Officer and President
The Habit Burger Grill
Russ Bendel serves as Chief Executive Officer and President of The Habit Burger Grill, reporting directly to the Yum! Brands Chief Executive Officer. In this role, he is responsible for driving the growth strategy with a strong focus on franchising and performance of The Habit Burger Grill. Bendel joined The Habit in 2008 and by 2019 grew the brand from 16 to 281 restaurants including 10 food trucks. In addition to unit growth, he led a major brand transformation of introducing drive-thrus and various digital order channels to meeting growing needs for convenience. Under Bendel’s leadership and relentless attention to operations, the brand excelled and was awarded The Best Burger in America from Consumer Reports in 2014 and the Best Regional Fast Food Chain award by USA Today Readers’ Choice 2019. Prior to joining The Habit, he served as President and Chief Operating Officer of The Cheesecake Factory. Bendel’s accomplished and distinguished career also includes tenures as President and Chief Executive of Mimi’s Café, President of Roy’s Restaurants, Franchise Partner of Outback Steakhouse in California, and Chief Operating Officer of El Torito Restaurants and Panda Express. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel Administration from Florida International University in Miami, Florida. Bendel is on the Board of Advisors for the Collins School of Hospitality Management, at California State Polytechnic University. He is also a Director Emeritus for the California Restaurant Association and served as its Chairman in 2009-2010. In 2012, Bendel was recognized with the Elizabeth Burns Lifetime Achievement Award in Los Angeles, California.