ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Are St. Louis’ signature roast beef sandwiches set to go national?

mike kupstas Lions Choice Names New CEO Mike Kupstas

(Courtesy of Mike Kupstas/LinkedIn)

Mike Kupstas spent 16 years at Panera Bread and now he’s taking over another hometown brand.

He tells KMOX that Lion’s Choice has fared better than larger “quick-service” competitors because of its relationship with customers.

“The relationship that was built on these core components of; great food, passionate employees,” Kupstas says. “I think that’s where a lot of quick-service folks have gone astray.”

While Kupstas was an executive at locally-based Panera, the chain grew from just 52 bakery-cafes to more than 1,600. He says growth is indeed on his agenda at Lion’s Choice.

“I don’t many people have the opportunity to touch two great brands as I’m about to do and I’m just real excited about that opportunity,” Kupstas says.

He has been an executive at Red Lobster and Long John Silvers before joining locally-based Panera Bread in 1996. He’s known as an executive who “knows how to build a brand with a soul.”

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