Mel Hope joined the First Watch team in 2018, bringing decades of experience leading complex public organizations like Popeyes’ Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. as well as entrepreneurial start-ups. He leads the company’s finance department, including long-term strategic financial planning, transactional negotiations, reporting, P&L budgeting and more. Prior to joining First Watch, Mel was most recently a partner in Genesis Real Estate Advisers LLC, serving as the company’s Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer. Long before he began working in finance, Mel’s first restaurant experience was at 8 years old, serving iced tea to guests at his grandfather’s restaurant. He graduated from Belhaven University with a BBA in Accounting and is a CPA.