Global Franchise Group, the strategic brand management company and franchisor of Great American Cookies, Hot Dog on a Stick, Pretzelmaker, Marble Slab Creamery/MaggieMoo's Ice Cream & Treatery, and Round Table Pizza, has named a new Chief Executive Officer, foodservice veteran and seasoned restaurant executive, Paul Damico. Damico will lead GFG's growth, acquisitions, and shared services and champion its "franchising first" philosophy. He officially started April 6 and is working alongside the GFG Executive Team to direct the organization through the COVID-19 crisis.
"After a thorough and extensive search and evaluation, we are pleased to name Paul Damico the new CEO of Global Franchise Group," says Michael Serruya, Chairman of the GFG Board of Directors. "With experience in so many facets of restaurant operations from marketing, operations, culinary, and franchising, he brings a unique approach to franchise portfolio management platforms. As Global Franchise Group evolves and emerges after COVID-19, his experience with building shared services and guiding organizations through times of transition will be an asset. We will be poised to acquire additional brands."
With more than 35 years in food and hospitality, Damico's career includes top leadership roles in premium organizations including Host Marriott, Food Brand, LLC, Creative Host Services, and the Focus Brands portfolio of restaurants. Most recently, he served as CEO of emerging concept Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill and successfully developed a franchise model preparing the brand for national growth. Prior to Naf Naf, he was president of Focus Brands and was responsible for the oversight of McAlister's Deli, Moe's Southwest Grill, Schlotzsky's Deli, Auntie Anne's Pretzels, Carvel Ice Cream and Cinnabon. Paul is known as a dynamic and personable leader with a deep history of collaborating with franchisees and has a unique perspective regarding franchising and best practices. Paul has a passion for food and dining having graduated from Johnson & Wales with degrees Culinary Arts and Hotel and Restaurant Management.
"Global Franchise Group is an organization well positioned to become one of the top restaurant and [quick-service restaurant] franchise systems in the country," said Paul Damico, CEO of GFG. "I was attracted to GFG because of the company's growth potential and unwavering commitment to our franchisees and brands. By strengthening shared services and building the portfolio with complimentary concepts, GFG will reach new heights. I'm thrilled to join this talented and passionate team."
Damico succeeds Chris Dull, the organization's longtime president and CEO who exited the organization in February. GFG's Chief Brand Officer and president of Franchise Operations, Jenn Johnston, will resume her critical role as Chief Brand Officer and President of Franchise Operations after successfully serving as Interim CEO and leading the organization through a challenging transition period.
Global Franchise Group's mission is to champion brands and the people who build them. It builds great brands that connect people with craveable products and memorable experiences. GFG currently supports more than 1,400 franchised and corporate stores across all brands located in 16 countries and has system wide sales close to $1 billion.