‎Nation’s Restaurant News:

Mrs. Fields Original Cookies Inc. has hired Timothy Casey, a veteran of the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Starbucks chains, to serve as chief executive and president.

Casey joins the company, which exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 2008, as it restarts growth at its Mrs. Fields and TCBY brands following improved marketing at the namesake cookie chain and reformulated products and a new self-service prototype at the yogurt concept.

He succeeds former company co-chief executive John Lauck, who left in early March, and Lauck’s fellow co-chief executive Michael Ward, who is now president of international franchising operations for Mrs. Fields and TCBY and the company’s chief legal counsel.

“Tim’s intense focus on the guest experience, brand relevance, operational excellence and people has attributed to his successful track record of driving profitable sales and growth in the industry,” said Sid Feltenstein, chairman of Mrs. Fields Famous Brands.