Asian Box founder names Mike Spec as CEO

| by Cherryh Cansler
Asian Box founder names Mike Spec as CEO

Zach Goldstein, left, of the Thanx loyalty reward program, and Mike Speck of Halal Guys acknowledge the challenge posed by third-party delivery services in May at the NRA.

Since 2015, Mike Speck has been running operations at Halal Guys, but he's left his COO role there to become the top guy at Asian Box, a 10-unit brand founded in 2012, by Frank Klein.

"I have been a huge fan of Asian Box since the first location in Palo Alto and have always been totally enamored with the food and culture," Speck said in an interview with FastCasual. "Over time, Frank and I have developed a very solid professional and personal relationship and often spoke about 'how do we work together?'"

Klein, who had been serving as CEO since the first unit opened in Palo Alto,  is taking on the role of concept/brand ambassador and turning the overall brand leadership to Speck.

"I've known Mike since before we opened the first Asian Box, and we personally picked him because we know he is eminently qualified to lead Asian Box in the next phase of its growth and is just as passionate about the brand as the founding partners," Klein said.

Helping brands grow is Speck's specialty and he said his immediate plans are to work with the team to double the brand's size over the next 24 months, fine-tune a few operating systems and package (the brand) for growth by developing a long-term strategy that will continue being "timely and timeless."

"National and international growth is part of the vision," he said. "The Asian Box branding is outstanding, the menu is extremely 'crave-able' and on point allowing us, as a team to solidify the foundation and building blocks for the next five-plus years. It is so important to me to honor, recognize and celebrate what (the leadership team of) Frank, Chad, Grace and Chuck have built as we map out the growth outside the core operating markets in California."

A new adventure
With his extra time, Klein intends to open Roost House, a chicken-centric restaurant, in downtown Palo Alto this winter. 

"It's 10 blocks from my house so I can focus intently on creating the best restaurant each and every day," he said. "We are going to give the dining room back to the customer. We don't want a label on the restaurant we just aim to create the best possible restaurant we can. I'm assembling a cool mix of restaurant and chef advisors." Klein said.


Topics: Franchising & Growth

Cherryh Cansler

Before joining Networld Media Group as director of Editorial, where she oversees Networld Media Group's nine B2B publications, Cherryh Cansler served as Content Specialist at Barkley ad agency in Kansas City. Throughout her 17-year career as a journalist, she's written about a variety of topics, ranging from the restaurant industry and technology to health and fitness. Her byline has appeared in a number of newspapers, magazines and websites, including Forbes, The Kansas City Star and American Fitness magazine. She also serves as the managing editor for

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