Naf Naf Grill, a rapidly growing Middle Eastern fast casual restaurant, announced it has appointed Paul Damico as Chief Executive Officer. Damico most recently served as President of North America for FOCUS Brands, and as the former President of Moe’s Southwest Grill who led the brand through record growth over seven years.
Naf Naf Grill has experienced recent extraordinary growth, expanding outside of its Chicago home base over the past two years with new locations in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota. The 29-unit fast-casual chain was named a 2016 Hot Concept by Nation’s Restaurant News, one of the industry’s most prestigious award programs recognizing rising star brands.
With more than 30 years of operations and franchising experience with some of the most prominent brands in the foodservice industry, Damico is well-known in the sector as a transformational business leader. Under his leadership, Moe’s grew from 300 locations and will be opening its 700th location later this month, with a presence in 41 states.
“Paul is a strong, experienced leader with a solid track record of growing high-performance restaurant brands,” says Gary Beisler, the former longtime president and CEO of Qdoba and Naf Naf Grill’s current chairman. “His knowledge of franchising and restaurant operations will bode well for Naf Naf Grill, which is clearly emerging as a leader in the untapped Middle Eastern fast casual sector.”
Former Naf Naf Grill co-CEOs David Sloan and Sahar Sander are passing the torch to Damico after successfully leading Naf Naf Grill for nine years. Sander will remain with the brand as Chief Culinary Officer, serving as the driving force behind the company’s exemplary and inventive culinary offerings. Sloan, who played a key role in building the brand from scratch in Chicago to expansion around the country, will serve as a senior advisor to Damico.
“Naf Naf Grill is at a pivotal point in its growth phase. After building a loyal fan base in Chicago, consumers have heartily embraced the brand in each new market,” Damico says. “Clearly there’s something special about the food and the culture of Naf Naf Grill. I’m excited to build upon the foundation of the brand’s founders and look forward to impacting the next chapter of growth.”