SAN FRANSISCO – Ralph Bower, former CEO of Pei Wei, comes to The Melt with over 25 years’ experience in leading operations within the fast casual and quick service restaurant industry. In addition to Pei Wei, he’s held positions at Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen, Yum! Brands Inc., KFC Corporation and Domino’s Pizza. Melt’s former CEO and founder, Jonathan Kaplan, will serve as the company’s chairman of the board.

"We are thrilled that Ralph Bower has joined our team," Kaplan said in a statement. "Ralph has the experience, vision, leadership and knowledge of the industry to build on the successful foundation we created, including year-over-year, double-digit growth, a new cheeseburger and grilled cheese centric menu, and the national expansion of our restaurants."

The Melt’s nationwide expansion in 2016 will include the chain’s first Texas location in Houston with future locations in the city slated to open before the end of next year. Also for 2016, remodels of existing locations for more flexible seating, order kiosks as well as upgraded kitchen equipment and higher product quality will finish by the end of year.

"The Melt is at the forefront of the restaurant industry as a pioneer in the trend towards clean all-natural dining,” Bower said. “I have greatly admired the brand from afar and look forward to growing The Melt into a national presence."