Karlin Linhardt Headshot

Karlin Linhardt

Works with CEOs at food and beverage, hospitality, and retail companies to drive multi-million-dollar growth, elevate performance, and steer successful turnarounds.

About Karlin

Karlin’s leadership has delivered turnaround, innovation, and growth for top brands in the QSR/fast casual and CPG/alcohol spaces. His experience with multi-unit retail brands in different categories has led to a simple truth: all retail is local.  Each location faces a unique combination of marketplace factors that must be understood to effectively execute against company strategies and drive performance.  Karlin delivers effective brand/product positioning and high-impact action plans with a sense of urgency.  He de-mystifies digital for effective integration and measurable results. Karlin leads teams that help business owners with research, analytics, and budget/risk management for seamless execution. 

How Karlin has Helped Businesses Grow

  • Successfully delivered 1st positive sales comp in 2½ years strategically directing a performance turnaround for Papa John’s. Conducted brand repositioning campaign, realigned media strategy, and structured new retail campaign.
  • Successfully repaired Subway's damaged family image after scandal of long-time spokesman. Met or exceeded all major consumer metrics launching brand campaign featuring dynamic imagery and music rooted in universal brand truth.
  • Led a comprehensive QSR/company review for Subway at Accenture, leading to a Global Brand Transformation Plan recommendation to reinvigorate 50-year-old brand.
  • Delivered 10% lift in sales comps and 15% lift in holiday peak season at Lifetouch by redefining brand position based on analysis of category trends, consumer segmentation, and transactional data.
  • Increased comp sales 6% by defining growth plan with revised positioning and pricing; revamped marketing; and new approach to increase penetration at Ovation Brands.
  • Drove two years of double-digit sales increases reversing negative performance of the family/Happy Meal segment (23% of annual domestic top line revenue of $5 billion) at McDonalds.

Executive Experience

  • Managing Partner, Vade Mecum Advisors
  • Global CMO, Papa John’s International
  • SVP Marketing North America, Subway
  • Senior Client Partner, Accenture
  • SVP Marketing, Lifetouch
  • CMO/EVP Marketing, Ovation Brands
  • Senior Marketing Director, McDonald’s


  • Bachelor of Journalism, University of Missouri-Columbia

Download Karlin's Resume Here


Industry Experience Specialties
  • Omni-Channel Marketing
  • Market Penetration & Growth
  • Positioning & Messaging
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