Occhiogrosso’s involvement in franchising began in 1984 when he left a decade-long career in radio to become a Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee. In addition to operating a successful store, Occhiogrosso created a wholesale baked goods division within his company which supplied donuts and other fresh-baked goods to over 80 point of sale accounts while concurrently serving on Dunkin’ Donuts’ franchisee advisory council and advertising committee. Occhiogrosso continued his involvement in franchising in 1989 by opening a gourmet confection and gift basket shop and working with the franchisor to develop additional units. He followed up its success in 1991 with GPM Consulting Inc., a New York-based franchise and brand development firm which successfully developed several national franchise brands including Ranch*1, a chicken concept he helped grow into a 50-restaurant chain with commitments for an additional 200 units. Occhiogrosso moved on to become president of Desert Moon Fresh Mexican Grille but elected to leave that role in early 2009 to pursue a position with up-and-coming Trufoods.
“I’ve always been drawn to companies that have the ability to reinvent themselves and felt that Trufoods and its recent turnaround by [chairman and CEO] Andy Unanue was exactly the opportunity I was looking for,” says Occhiogrosso. “As a former franchisee and franchisor, I’ve had the unique experience to see the industry from all angles and I understand that a franchise is a true partnership between both parties. I am excited to offer that experience to a team that’s already committed to growth and has the experience and desire to achieve that goal.”