Rich Pinnella
Rich Pinnella

San Diego-based Luna Grill, founded in 2004, has hired Rich Pinnella as the company’s first-ever chief brand officer. Previously, Pinnella was an executive with Taco Bell for 20 years, serving the last seven as a vice president and general manager.

“I am energized to work with the teams, making the brand more accessible, contemporary and telling the story about our ingredient quality and scratch kitchens,” Pinnella said. “People love our food, but don’t realize all the quality that goes into our clean ingredients and daily preparation.”

At Taco Bell, Pinnella directed U.S. and international operations involving marketing, culinary and supply chain functions.

“Rich’s breadth of expertise in brand development and business model evolution is an incredible asset for us as we look to scale up in California and beyond,” said Sean Pourteymour, CEO of Luna Grill. “Additionally, his collaborative leadership style is a perfect fit for our culture.”

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Now operating 50 restaurants in Southern California and the Dallas-Fort Worth areas, Luna Grill is a leader in the fast-casual dining segment. Its fresh Mediterranean cuisine includes kabob plates, gourmet salads, appetizers that include hummus and falafel, wraps, desserts, craft beer and wine.

A Luna Grill spokesperson said Pinnella is serving in a similar role as Nicole Bushnell, Luna Grill’s former VP of marketing, who was named in September as chief marketing officer for Garden Fresh Restaurants, operator of 97 Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes restaurants in nine states.

Frankie V is Morning Solo at JAM’N 95.7

iHeart Media San Diego, operator of seven local radio stations, has announced Frankie Vinci will solo host the morning show at KSSX-FM JAM’N 95.7. The “Frankie V In the Morning” show will succeed “Frankie V and Tati in the Morning” following the recent pairing of Tati Santiago with Jesse Lozano at iHeart sister station KMYI-FM Star 94.1.

Frankie Vinci
Frankie Vinci

Vinci has worked at JAM’N since the station launched in May of 2016. Prior to KSSX, he worked at JAM’N 94.5-FM in Boston, KHTS 93.3-FM in San Diego and KISS 95.7-FM in Hartford, Conn.

“We are excited to have Frankie V take over our morning airwaves,” said Rob Scorpio, iHeart senior VP of programming. “This morning show has tons of energy, music and swagger that I know our San Diego listeners will enjoy.”

“It’s amazing to see the evolution of talent that we have here at iHeart Media and I’m beyond fortunate to be part of the growth,” said Vinci. “After nearly 13 years in San Diego, this city has a special place in my heart and I’m excited for this next chapter in my morning show career.”

Fast-Growing Branding Agency Basic Opens St. Louis Office

San Diego branding agency Basic has announced it has opened a new satellite office in St. Louis operating under the name Studio 240.

“The goal is simple, to create great work under the Basic brand,” said Matt Faulk, Basic founder and CEO. “We’re excited to see the projects that come out of this office.”

Basic is one of San Diego’s fastest-growing agencies, according to Adweek. The trade publication recently ranked the top 100 fastest growing agencies. Basic was listed #18 worldwide with a growth rate of 355 percent over the past three years. The agency attributed its fast growth to the addition of several large clients representing the fashion, luxury, hospitality and financial technology industries.

San Diego AMA to Discuss Cloud Security

The American Marketing Association’s San Diego chapter will host “Fear of the Cloud” from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at The Smoking Gun, 555 Market Street in downtown San Diego. Speakers will include Rich Rudzinski and Todd Budzinski from Tragic Media who will discuss security risks using cloud infrastructure and data sharing in a regulatory and compliance environment. Founded in 2009, Tragic Media supports software projects serving B2B e-commerce stores and internal business applications. Admission is $15 for members, $20 for guests.

Rick Griffin
Rick Griffin

Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.