Industry News | August 15, 2013

Trufoods Recruits Energy Kitchen Founder as COO

Trufoods, LLC announced the appointment of Anthony Leone as the brand’s new chief operating officer for Ritter’s Frozen Custard, Wall St. Deli, Arthur Treacher’s Fish & Chips, and Pudgie’s Famous Chicken.

Leone officially came aboard the Trufoods team on August 1 and brought with him a plethora of franchising and restaurant experience that dates back to 1991.

“We are ecstatic to have Anthony onboard with Trufoods, LLC and are once again excited about working together to help develop the iconic brands in our portfolio,” says Gary Occhiogrosso, interim president and chief development officer of Trufoods. “With his insight and extensive knowledge of the quick-serve industry, product development, and experience launching brands in today’s marketplace, we’ll be able to position each brand for continued growth and development across the nation.”

As COO, Leone’s responsibilities will include all franchisee communications, marketing oversight, vendor relations, sales initiatives, new store openings, and the rollout of the new company prototype units.

Occhiogrosso and Leone’s history extends well beyond Leone’s new gig with Trufoods, as the two worked together on the Ranch*1 franchise when Occhiogrosso launched the Ranch*1 franchise system in 1992.

In 1998, Leone founded Energy Kitchen, a healthy food restaurant chain with eight corporate stores and nine franchised locations across the United States.

Prior to both positions, Leone worked as a Boston Market area manager for six years in New York.

“Joining the Trufoods, LLC team and working alongside Gary once again is an unparalleled opportunity to partner with experienced franchise executives,” Leone says. “Trufoods is moving in the right direction with the enhancements and updates to its family of iconic brands, and I plan on leveraging my experiences and expertise to continue this evolution.”

Trufoods is in the process of implementing changes, including an enhancement of the Pudgie’s Famous Chicken brand. Bringing in experience with product quality and new industry trends with Ranch*1, Boston Market, and Energy Kitchen, Leone will help spearhead this revitalization of this New York brand with Occhiogrosso. 

All of the recent hires and promotions are directed toward greater synergy and national growth of all four brands, as well as reinforcing their presence in existing markets. Leone’s experience in foodservice operations, purchasing, new-unit construction, marketing, franchising, and developing successful businesses falls in line with this mission.

Trufoods will be focusing on the revitalization of the veteran company’s appearance, thus allowing for progression in previously untapped markets.