Golden Corral Announces Dawn Gillis as New CIO
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Golden Corral Announces Dawn Gillis as New CIO

Veteran technology expert chosen to lead America’s #1 buffet into innovative spaces as it continues to grow  

July 07, 2023 // // RALEIGH, N.C. – In its mission to remain an industry leader and leverage cutting-edge technology systems and applications to further establish itself as an innovator in a constantly evolving industry, Golden Corral is proud to welcome Dawn Gillis as its new Chief Information Officer.

A savvy leader with more than 20 years of experience in the restaurant, hospitality and consumer goods industries, Gillis is a respected leader who has proven to be a forward thinker while consistently delivering results. As CIO, she is tasked with leading Golden Coral’s digital growth strategy while modernizing its technology stack.

“We are excited to welcome Dawn to the Golden Corral family and believe her depth of technological knowledge and outstanding leadership experience makes her the right person to help us continue to evolve as a brand while growing to meet our guests' and franchisees' needs," said Golden Corral CEO Lance Trenary. "She's smart, tough and has a proven track record of navigating our constantly changing industry. We believe Dawn will play a significant role in future-proofing our brand, while positioning Golden Corral as a front runner in what’s new and next across the restaurant industry."

Gillis most recently served as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Tavistock Freebirds, LLC. She led Freebirds World Burrito through turbulent market conditions the past two years, helping the QSR brand transform its technological infrastructure to maximize efficiencies, become more nimble and ultimately, to better serve its customers.

Prior to Freebirds, Gillis served as CTO for Torchy’s Tacos. She was tasked with the unprecedented challenge of evolving the brand during a global pandemic and succeeded by increasing its business model from 30% pick-up and delivery to 100% in a short amount of time. 

Gillis propelled her career through multiple senior-level roles during her 15-year tenure at 7-Eleven. Among her many accomplishments at the convenience store giant were:

  • Leading the technological integration of over 1,030 Sunoco stores after an acquisition
  • Establishing the Business Transformation Program, which combined consolidated logistics and store simplification measures
  • Centralizing the technological support functions for all 7-Eleven locations
  • Overseeing the installation of several corporate infrastructure upgrades
  • Being recognized as one of only five recipients of the Top Women in Convenience award in 2018

“I am honored to join this dynamic team and help Golden Corral maintain its legacy as a beloved buffet and a go-to dining destination, while elevating its new developments such as our up-and-coming fast-casual concept, Homeward Kitchen,” Gillis said. “You don’t get to celebrate 50 years of success without being able to evolve and I’m proud to be at the forefront of the technological advances that will help our brand continue to grow and prosper for many years to come.”

To find a Golden Corral near you, visit or order online at to donate.

About Golden Corral?

Founded in 1973 and based in Raleigh, N.C., Golden Corral is the nation’s largest grill-buffet restaurant chain. Golden Corral strives to make pleasurable dining affordable for all families. While its commitment begins each day with preparing delicious food, Golden Corral also believes in providing outstanding hospitality and giving back. Service to others is a hallmark of the Golden Corral brand. In 2023, Golden Corral was recognized as one of the nation’s top 50 “Most Loved Brands” by Yelp. Golden Corral restaurants nationwide have long been strong supporters of the U.S. Military and DAV (Disabled American Veterans). Golden Corral is also the founding sponsor of Camp Corral, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt, nonprofit corporation, which provides free, one-of-a-kind summer camp experiences for children of wounded, injured, ill or fallen service members. For more information, visit and follow Golden Corral on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

SOURCE Golden Corral


Media Contact:

Mario Zavala

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