Meet our President
Headquartered in Lakewood, California, WKS Restaurant Group is a licensed franchisee of El Pollo Loco, Denny’s, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, and Corner Bakery Cafe
Senior Management Team:
Roland Spongberg – President/Chief Executive Officer
PRESENT: I am privileged to be the CEO and founder of WKS Restaurant Group. We are fortunate to operate four great restaurant brands. Satisfied guests are the result of the hard work and commitment of our employees. I take immense satisfaction in being surrounded by the quality of people who have chosen to make their careers here.
PAST: My history began in Real Estate Development in Southern California. I developed a diverse portfolio of projects including shopping centers, industrial parks, mini-storage facilities, and residential complexes. One of the projects included our first El Pollo Loco restaurant. Little did we know at the time we would one day be El Pollo Loco’s largest franchisee.
PASSIONS: My Family: I am blessed to be married to my wife of 42 years, be the father of six great children, and the grandfather of thirteen wonderful grandchildren. My Community: I am honored to be a past president of the Long Beach Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and I currently serve on their Board of Directors. I also sit on the board of the El Pollo Loco Charities. My Work: When you love what you do….there really is no work.
Matt McGuinness – Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
PRESENT: As CFO I oversee the activities of several very talented groups of people in the WKS support center, including our Accounting, Financial Planning, Risk Management and IT departments. Having a team of dedicated and hard working department leaders heading up each of these areas also allows me to spend more time thinking strategically about opportunities to improve the financial success of the company over time, as we pursue growth opportunities. I also enjoy maintaining close relationships with many of our key business partners, including our lenders, franchisors and professional service providers.
PAST: I have 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry, the last 10 while here at WKS. Previously I was EVP of Franchising & Development and CFO at Diedrich Coffee, a publicly traded coffee roaster, wholesaler, and franchisor. My prior experience also includes roles on as an executive VP on the senior management teams of both El Pollo Loco, Inc. and Denny’s, Inc. Before entering the food service industry I was a CPA with KPMG Peat Marwick in Los Angeles. I graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelors of Business Administration, and most of my siblings (I have 8!) still live in southeastern Michigan.
PASSIONS: My wife and I love walking our dog around Dana Point Harbor most weekends as an enjoyable change from structured health club exercise classes. We also love home improvement and gardening projects. I grew up in Detroit during the 60’s, in the height of the “muscle car” era, and now I have an 80 mile daily commute to the office and back, both experiences reinforcing my lifelong interest in cars. My son and I currently enjoy restoring classic cars including a 1968 GTO and a 1972 Skylark, and other weekend toys include a Chevy SS, a Harley and Jetskis. I also love hiking in the western National Parks each year, especially the Grand Canyon, Zion and Yosemite.
Jay Spongberg – Senior Vice President & Chief Operations Officer
PRESENT: As Chief Operations Officer I currently oversee all restaurant operations, human resources, training, and marketing spanning ten states, in five concepts. I am passionate about helping others achieve their goals and finding ways to make life easier for those on my team. I am fortunate to have a team of talented VPs, directors, and other multi-unit leaders that share this vision and philosophy. I enjoy teaching restaurant operators how to become leaders, business managers, and empowering them with the tools they need to be successful. I enjoy the endless challenges and opportunities that are present in the world of restaurant operations.
PAST: I have over 17 years of experience in the restaurant industry. Before taking over as the head of operations I worked as the Director of Development where I was responsible for everything from site selection and lease/purchase negotiation to entitlement and construction. Prior to working at WKS, I sold advertising for Verizon. I attended Brigham Young University and graduated from the University of Phoenix with a B.S. in Business.
PASSIONS: Most of my free time is devoted to helping my wife raise our family. I have four children (1 boy, 3 girls). I am an expert teacher on how to ride a bike and am undefeated in the games of Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders! I am devoted to constant improvement and learning. I enjoy working out, playing basketball, and have a newfound love for golf. I recently retired from the world of distance running after completing the St. George Marathon. I am a big Lakers fan and enjoy following politics. I love and respect the United States Military and secretly wish I was a Navy Seal.
Paul E. Tanner
Paul E. Tanner – Senior Vice President, Finance & Development
PRESENT: I’m fortunate to work closely with an awesome team of people primarily on the following functional areas: financial planning, new store development, lease negotiation, construction, and facilities management. The best part about this job is the variety of daily tasks and situations, all with the goal of increasing the overall profitability and long-term success of our restaurants and our employees.
PAST: Prior to joining WKS in 2008, I completed a full-time MBA program at the Yale School of Management, with an emphasis on real estate and corporate finance. Before graduate school, I worked at KPMG in New York City, primarily with real estate and financial services companies and earned a certified public accountant (CPA) license. My undergraduate studies were at Brigham Young University, where I graduated cum laude with a degree in Accounting.
PASSIONS: I spend most of my free time with my wife and three daughters. We enjoy traveling and eating out at restaurants. I grew up in Denver, snow-skiing almost every week in the winter, and I still enjoy hitting the slopes when I can get away. I play tennis and enjoy hiking and the outdoors.
Jill Wozniak – Controller
PRESENT: As controller I oversee an amazing group of passionate individuals who’s rolls include financial reporting, general ledger accounting, cash control, payroll, accounts payable and accounts receivable. The accounting team is dedicated to providing timely and accurate financial information. We support the operations team in reaching their restaurant financial goals.
PAST: I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from California State University Chico. I earned my CPA certification from the state of Michigan. My first job was in restaurants as a cashier/server at the age of 15. I began my accounting career in public accounting as a forensic accountant. I have held accounting positions in the banking industry, professional hair product distribution and website advertising before finding my passion in restaurant accounting. I have over fifteen years of restaurant accounting experience with Marie Calendars, Claim Jumper and for the past six years with WKS Restaurant Group.
PASSIONS: I am a foodie and enjoy cooking great food as well as eating out and trying new dishes. I also enjoy the outdoors which is a huge reason I moved back to Southern California in 2000. I am a huge country music fan and attend as many concerts and music festivals as I can afford. I started making jewelry about six years ago and I display my creations daily by wearing them to the office.
Mark Stinson – Senior Director of IT
PRESENT: As leader of the IT team my role is to partner with both our operations team and with all corporate departments to develop and implement technology-based solutions and systems to improve both sales and profits. This provides me with unlimited challenges and opportunities to learn, grow and share my passion for technology with others, which is the best part of my job.
PAST: I have more than 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry with a variety of concepts; getting my start in operations and playing roles in product development, QA, marketing, and training before spending the last 10 years on the IT side of things. This allows me to bring a wide range of perspectives to every project and keep focused on how everything impacts operations. Prior to my restaurant career, I attended Michigan State University and served in the U.S. Army.
PASSIONS: Most of my personal time these days is split between my love of mobile technology and my desire to spend as much time as I can with all things Disney.
Rosa Fuentes – Vice President of Operations, El Pollo Loco
PRESENT: I currently serve as the Vice President of Operations for the El Pollo Loco brand at WKS. I oversee 8 districts with a total of 61 units and we are growing! I am a passionate business leader whose instincts and clarity of vision have carried the EPL brand through rapid and continuous growth. I inspire people through motivation to deliver results by helping them understand how to add value. My contagious enthusiasm helps provide those on my team with extraordinary energy and dedication in an environment where creativity and innovation are encouraged. I am 100% invested in developing a team of leaders and helping people at all level grow their careers.
PAST: I possess over 20 years of experience in operation, leadership, and management coaching. My career path has progressed through El Pollo Loco. I started as a lobby person and with hard work and tenacity I worked my way up. My journey continued and within one year I was promoted to General Manager and later General Training Manager. I joined WKS Restaurant Group in 2001. As the company grew, so did my opportunities for promotion. I was promoted to District Manager and a few years later to Director of Operations.
PASSIONS: During my free time, I am always looking to improve and enjoy following the written works of John C. Maxwell, an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, coach, and author. Leadership is my passion. I love to learn about it, grow in it, and impart the knowledge and skills I have learned to others. To keep my mind, body, and spirit healthy, I indulge in outdoor hiking, working out, and yoga. I have discovered a newfound devotion to healthy eating and fitness and love the challenge that it brings. Additionally, I spend quality time with my nephews, to engage in positive and meaningful interaction.
Kurt Kuyper – Vice President of Operations, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts
PRESENT: As Vice President of Operations with WKS Restaurant Group, I serve as the leader of our Krispy Kreme Doughnut brand. I directly lead a growing group of 4 District Managers, our Fundraising Manager and our Wholesale Manager. Together we collectively operate 29 stores in 6 states with plans to add more locations and channels of business in the coming year. I am also fortunate to have the support of our WKS Training Manager, a dedicated Senior Operations Manager (who makes my life much easier) and a team of Support Center staff who work tirelessly to serve our store teams. Our field teams funnel up the challenges and winning ideas that allow us to get better and drive the implementation and execution of initiatives – where the “rubber meets the road”. I’m constantly looking for opportunities to fine tune our systems and improve operational integrity while serving one Guest at a time.
PAST: I have 20+ years of experience in QSR industry with a focus on operations and training for both franchisors and franchisees of brands including Taco Bell, Krispy Kreme, Caribou Coffee, Tin Star Southwest Grill, El Pollo Loco and Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard. Over the years I’ve learned first-hand the value and rewards of having a shared vision, inspiration and impact. We work together to build and simplify systems so our teams can do what our brand does best – serve the best doughnuts in the world with a beverage line-up that makes people crave repeat visits. Prior to joining the restaurant business, I spent several years working in commercial real estate brokerage in Southern California representing office, retail and restaurant tenants. I hold a Bachelors of Arts in International Management from Claremont McKenna College and an MBA from the University of California, Irvine with an emphasis in Marketing.
PASSIONS: I love the restaurant business – simply everything about it. It’s where art meets science, curve balls are everyday occurrences and professional relationships built around serving others form the basis of lifelong friendships. When not cooking for others, I like to plan my next ski trip, beach outing or BBQ with my wife, Isabelle, and our three children – which is getting harder to coordinate as they get older (23, 18 and 17). I’m a teacher at heart and love to see when a manager masters a new aspect of their role or helps someone else do the same. Pay it forward.
Anwaar N. Hassan
Anwaar N. Hassan – Director of Operations, Denny’s
PRESENT: As Director of Operations I currently oversee the operations of our Denny’s brand, which consists of 33 restaurants across 6 states. I have the privilege of working with 4 very talented District Managers, and an incredible support team at our office who assist, challenge and inspire me to continuously strive for improvement. I am passionate about change because it challenges me to think outside the box, to innovate and re-invent. Most importantly it provides me with the opportunity to motivate and inspire others to drive results.
PAST: I have spent my entire adult life in the restaurant business with 30 years in multi-unit management. I have held leadership positions with various other restaurant concepts. I also spent several years as a franchise consultant with Denny’s Inc. and learned the “owner / operator” side of the business. My initiation into the restaurant business was out of necessity rather than by choice or desire but over the years I developed a passion for it and have stayed with it for 3 decades.
PASSIONS: During my free time, I enjoy spending time with my wife of 27 years and my two kids (both in college). I like listening to music. I have an eclectic taste ranging from doo wop, blues, jazz, classical and opera not to mention ethnic and cultural music both eastern and western. I like reading (audio books when travelling), and remain undefeated in solving the Rubik’s cube (29 seconds). I recently discovered a new hobby – I collect guitars and am now working on learning how to play all ten of them.
Andrew Feinour – Vice President, Facilities and Construction
PRESENT: It is my privilege to oversee all of the construction for our new locations as well as the maintenance and remodeling of all of our existing buildings. I have a team of dedicated project managers, facilities managers and technicians that make working at WKS very enjoyable. Every day brings new challenges but with a committed and smart team, those challenges are overcome. Helping every employee to understand how their success leads to the company’s success is exciting as well as gratifying.
PAST: I have over 20 years of experience working in the construction and facilities maintenance fields. Experience working as everything from a laborer to a superintendent, to a Project Manager, to the Vice President at my previous company has given me a unique and clarifying perspective on how to manage projects and facilities. My education includes obtaining an MBA from Pepperdine’s Graziadio School of Business and Management along with a Certificate in Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine Law School’s Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution. I also have obtained LEED Accredited Professional certification.
PASSIONS: I have several passions starting first and foremost with my beautiful wife and four children. I also really enjoy gardening. One great benefit of living is Southern California is being able to grow your own fresh produce year-round. A side benefit is the kids love to play in the dirt and pick vegetables alongside their dad. I also love to barbeque, particularly on my smoker. Nothing beats a nice tender steak or rack of ribs fresh off the grill. I also really enjoy teaching and am an Adjunct Instructor at a local Community College.
Howard Burns – Director of Real Estate
PRESENT: Working at WKS provides a unique environment with multiple concepts, new knowledge opportunities and a desire to grow each brand with great real estate locations. Multiple franchise territories, some overlapping, make a wide swath of the western USA a growth opportunity but the organization knows that growth must only occur where the long-term outlook makes sense. As a private company there is no need to grow just to please Wall Street.
PAST: My real estate career has included employers such as McDonald’s, Jack in the Box (back when they were a division of Ralston Purina!), Jewel Foods, El Pollo Loco, and Thrifty Oil. In addition, I’ve been in a partnership to develop property, on the “Landlord/Developer” side of the ledger. My education and certifications include multiple ICSC designations (CRX, CSM etc), a MBA and a license as a California Real Estate Broker.
PASSIONS: Born and raised in California with two grown daughters, I currently spend time on DIY projects with gentle overseeing by my wife of 37 years and ocean swimming/racing up & down the California coast.
Joanna Blake – Vice President of People Services and General Counsel
PRESENT: I joined WKS in August 2016 as Vice President of People Services and General Counsel. In that role, I oversee People Services (the department that used to be known as Human Resources) and handle legal and compliance issues for the Company. I am fortunate to have a great team of People Services professionals who work every day to help employees reach their potential. It is a great pleasure for me to try to support their efforts and help them develop and grow as WKS grows. I learn something new from my team every day – and I love it.
PAST: I grew up in Lakewood, very close to the WKS Support Center. I attended Chapman University in Orange, CA, graduating with a B.A. in Legal Studies and English. My first job out of college was in Human Resources and Training with a large department store chain. After seven years, I had the opportunity to attend law school and become an attorney. I am licensed to practice law in California, Nevada and Texas. I have always represented companies in employment and labor relations matters, using my human resources background. After 10 years of practicing law in law firms, I began working in the restaurant industry when I joined Mimi’s Café as Senior Director of Legal Affairs. During my time at Mimi’s, I worked closely with and, at times, supervised the human resources function. Le Duff America bought Mimi’s in 2013 and, in 2014, I began working for Le Duff America in Dallas as their Associate General Counsel responsible for managing litigation and risk management, and continuing to advise Mimi’s on employment related issues.
PASSIONS: I spend as much time as I can with family and friends – there is nothing more important. I love golf and the challenges it offers. Golf does not always love me back, but that does not stop me from playing. I love to travel and experience different cultures and food. I am also a big sports fan and enjoy watching football, baseball, golf and tennis whenever I can. While I believe I am an aspiring cook, that belief is supported mostly by watching the Food Network.