Restaurant industry analyst Howard Penney, managing director at Hedgeye Risk Management said, “Blum has extensive restaurant experience and abilities, including turnaround successes which require a very specific skill set. Blum’s leadership is the ideal solution for this struggling company. He knows how to get results, in the short term and in the long term.”
Blum has now offered to serve as chairman and CEO of Cosi at a salary of $1 for his first year. Blum would leverage his experience on behalf of the company, including his ability to raise capital and "patient money" to help stimulate the performance of Cosi. This should enable Cosi to attract a new board of directors, selected from industry leaders and experts. It is anticipated that a NEW BOARD OF DIRECTORS would also be paid $1 salary for their first year of service.
BLUM Growth Fund feels it is essential to the health of the Cosi business to have an active, results-driven, engaged board of directors working with and challenging a strong, experienced and talented CEO. Blum maintains its proposal is a comprehensive plan that addresses missed opportunities and provides a democratization process for all shareholders, ensuring shareholders get full information and have a voice during this crisis.
Cosi competes in the emerging, HIGH GROWTH SEGMENT of the restaurant industry – Fast Casual. Despite the market potential, Cosi has lost significant value while key segment competitors Panera and Chipotle, continue to increase their value, demonstrating an enormous missed opportunity for Cosi.“Cosi has a strong brand DNA that originated in Paris and has a loyal, passionate customer base,” said Blum. “The quality of the people and the quality of the food are the two things that determine how great a restaurant company will be. It is time for new leadership to take swift and smart action to bring more relevance to Cosi, refresh the brand, get the company turned in the right direction and fulfill its enormous potential.” “The first order of business at Cosi would be to increase profitability by increasing guest satisfaction and sales,” said Blum. “It will take innovation, operational excellence and strict cost controls to achieve superior financial results and increase shareholder value.” Blum requests interested Cosi shareholders express their lack of confidence in the present Board of Directors and comment on its inability to successfully lead the company (or confidence in the Board, if comfortable with business as usual). “We believe Cosi board members need to hear the honest views of company shareholders or in all likelihood the board and the company will continue on its current course,” said Blum.