Garden Fresh Restaurants LLC, the San Diego-based parent company of the Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes restaurants, said March 2 it hired Donald Breen as its chief financial officer.

Breen joins Garden Fresh after 10 years at casual dining chain Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen, which was acquired for $780 million in 2017 by Olive Garden parent company Darden Restaurants.

He was Cheddar's chief financial officer and corporate secretary; during his tenure, the company's annual sales rose from $100 million to more than $600 million.

Garden Fresh filed for bankruptcy in October 2016, then sold its assets in January 2017 to a group led by Cerberus Capital Management LP as part of a company restructuring.

Later in 2017 private equity firms Perpetual Capital Partners and CR3 Capital acquired Garden Fresh. In September, the firms tapped John Haywood, who they described as a "turnaround specialist," as CEO.

Breen will lead Garden Fresh's finance, accounting, IT, risk management, asset protection, facilities, property and legal support functions.

Previously he held senior management positions with Baja Fresh, Brothers Gourmet Coffee, Jamba Juice and Adolph Coors.

Garden Fresh operates 97 restaurants in nine states. The eateries are called Souplantation in Southern California and Sweet Tomatoes elsewhere.

Reach reporter Sarah de Crescenzo at sarahd@sdbj.com.