NASHVILLE, TN: Waffle House’s director of PR Pat Warner has left to become VP at DVL Seigenthaler, a Finn Partners Company.
Warner reports to senior partner Ryan Witherell, and is responsible for overseeing Finn Nashville’s corporate and consumer group, according to an agency spokeswoman.
Warner will help lead the corporate and consumer group’s staff of 15 and will be working with clients including Tractor Supply, Dollar General, Jack Daniels, Loveless Café and Food Hall Company.
His role was created to deal with an expanding client base across the Southeast and the Nashville office’s 25% year-over-year growth, said a spokeswoman.
Warner’s last day at Waffle House was December 6 and he started at DVL Seigenthaler last Monday. He said discussions about making the move started when he met managing partner Beth Seigenthaler Courtney at a PRSA meeting.
"My family is from the Nashville area and I grew up there," Warner said, explaining the move. "And my wife’s family is from there and so I’ve been wanting to get back there. Then, when I was talking to Finn Partners, I learned what a great group they were. And it happened pretty quickly on my end."
Greg Rollings, VP of marketing for Waffle House, said the company is currently evaluating candidates to replace Warner and it "hopes to have that finalized in the coming weeks."
"Pat Warner was a valuable member of the Waffle House team for over 20 years and he truly represented our brand with both passion and professionalism," Rollings added. "While he will be missed, this is a tremendous opportunity for him and we are extremely happy for [him] and his family."
Rollings said he and Waffle House director of communications Kelly Thrasher-Bruner are handling Warner’s duties until a replacement is found.
Warner was adept at keeping Waffle House in cultural conversations. In 2017, he turned a potentially troublesome situation — a video of a customer cooking his own meal at the chain while an employee slept — into an opportunity approaching media requests from Good Morning America, Fox, ABC, and Today with a light-hearted attitude.
In August, a Jumbotron image of a Waffle House location was a backdrop to part of Hootie & the Blowfish’s reunion tour.
Finn Partners has made a few other senior hires recently. Earlier this month, it hired Weber Shandwick vet Andy Schueneman as senior partner and GM of its Detroit office. In November, it brought on Diana Scott as a partner in its health practice.
According to the PRWeek Agency Business Report 2019, revenue at Finn Partners grew 8% to $88.1 million.