Fast-casual Mo'Bettahs gears up for growth under new president

Marianne Wilson
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Rob Ertmann

A fast-casual brand specializing in Hawaiian cuisine is growing its footprint.

Mo'Bettahs is ramping up its expansion efforts across the country with a new president and locations in three new markets. The restaurant brand has appointed industry veteran Rob Ertmann as president, rounding out a leadership team guided by cofounders and brothers Kalani and Kimo Mack, who built the company around their experience growing up in Hawaii.

Mo'Bettahs, which currently operated 22 locations in Utah and Idaho,  plans to open 26 new locations by the end of 2022, doubling the size of the company. The new locations include its first stores in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas City, which are all scheduled to open this year. 

Ertmann joins Mo’Bettahs with more than 25 years of experience in the restaurant and retail industries. He most recently served as COO at Philz Coffee, a fast-growing specialty coffee company based in San Francisco. He also held leadership roles at Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, where he was responsible for more than 200 company-owned locations and revenue in excess of $170 million, and Peet's Coffee, where he oversaw 250 company-owned locations and revenue in excess of $269 million.

"Rob Ertmann joins us at such a crucial time in our business as we continue to grow into new markets," said co-founder Kalani Macks. "His experience and multi-unit growth pedigree are the perfect fit to help spread our authentic brand of Aloha to those customers looking for that true island taste."
Mo'Bettahs was acquired by Savory Fund in 2017, a management group that infuses startup brands with capital and pairs them with its team of 65 industry veterans, who have experience in everything from real estate, development and construction, store operations, technology, recruiting, training and finance.

"After reviewing and meeting with several dozen impressive leaders within the food and beverage industry, Rob Ertmann really stood out because of his genuine personality, his humility, and his willingness to be a servant leader," said Andrew K. Smith, managing partner of Savory Fund. "To talk about how, in his first 100 days in a position, he would be in the trenches with the team learning the business, and that nothing was beneath him, was a match for each of us when picking the right person to lead this incredible brand. It is how everyone at Savory operates as well; in the trenches with each brand, every day."

Mo'Bettah's made its debut in 2008, in Bountiful, Utah. 

"I am very excited to share our unique brand of Hawaiian-style food, developed in our own kitchen and backyard in Kāne'ohe, Hawaii, on the island of Oahu," Kalani Mack said. "These are the recipes that we and our children grew up on. We can't wait to share that with the folks in Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma."