Foodservice Pro Takes the Reins of Buyk

Former Nathan’s Famous exec James Walker hired as company’s CEO
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
Foodservice Pro Takes the Reins of Buyk
James Walker

As Buyk works on its plans of expansion to large metro U.S. areas, the ultrafast grocery delivery service has made a major move in its leadership by hiring James Walker, former SVP for restaurants at Nathan’s Famous, as its new CEO.

Buyk uses a proprietary technological stack, along with a network of strategically located dark stores, to deliver groceries and other staples to customers’ doors within 15 minutes – with no minimum spend and no delivery fee. It recently doubled its New York City presence to 20 dark stores, expanding into Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx after a successful launch in Manhattan this past September. 

Walker’s executive expertise in dark kitchens and delivery will no doubt be beneficial to his role at Buyk. While at Nathan’s Famous, Walker oversaw the opening of nearly 300 Dark Kitchen locations both domestically, and internationally, demonstrating his deep experience in scaling a concept into a global, profitable enterprise. He’s also held the position of VP for U.S. and Canada at Subway. In this role, Walker was instrumental in launching Subway North America’s Delivery program, partnering with all four of the major delivery service providers to create a program that according to the company, remains one of the largest in the world.

Other brands that Walker has experience with during his 30-year senior management career include Baja Fresh and Cinnabon.

“I’m thrilled to join Buyk at such an exciting time,” said Walker. “I’ve been highly impressed by both the company’s early success [and] the proven expertise and track record of the founders. Add Buyk’s unique technology to the mix and you can see why I felt compelled to become part of the Buyk team. I am confident I can bring great value to the company and drive our fast-growing operations to meet our ambitious goals.”

Founders Slava Bocharov and Rodion Shiskov will continue to oversee Buyk’s strategic vision and fundraising efforts, while Walker will assume responsibility for day-to-day operations, organizational development, new product development and partnerships.

“We’re excited to have James join the Buyk journey,” said Bocharov. “We feel that his expertise and experience in scaling businesses and bringing them to new markets are a valuable asset, and totally align with our goal of making Buyk a household name, first in the U.S., and then globally. Crucially, James shares our vision regarding the future of retail and is determined to help Buyk lead the revolution in this industry.”

New York-based Buyk was founded in 2021 by Shishkov and Bocharov, seasoned professionals in the industry who co-founded and ran Samokat, one of Europe’s leading ultrafast grocery delivery services. The company raised $46 million from CM Ventures, Fort Ross, Citius and other investors in a recent funding round ahead of its launch.

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