I like to say I’ve seen this business from every angle. I’ve worked for a number of international franchise companies, been an executive with large organizations, and started concepts such as Mooyah, where I was the original president. I was looking for my next opportunity at the same time Jimboy’s was looking for someone to grow the brand throughout the U.S., so a mutual friend put us in contact.

It’s not often that you have an opportunity to talk to people with a concept that’s been around more than 60 years. That was the initial thing that caught my attention, but what really got me was when I tried the food. I had the Original Jimboy’s Taco, and it was fabulous. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I thought people would love this taco wherever they sold it—not just in California.

I cut my teeth on the development side of this business and along the way got more familiar with operations and then became an operator myself. So it was kind of putting both those pieces together, which really gives me a unique perspective to analyze a concept and ask: Does this concept have what it takes to be something special and grow? I felt I could bring that aspect to the table, reinvigorate the brand not only with the current franchisees, but also to grow it.

Surround yourself with great people, build a great team, and then get out of the way. Let them do their thing. From a leadership standpoint, that’s what I’m after: getting great people and empowering them to do their job. From a management standpoint, we’re highly focused on execution and each individual’s role in that execution. As a franchisor, we focus on three things: the concept, the real estate, and the operator.

Our 10-year vision is to have 500 locations and $750 million in system-wide sales. That’s our long-term vision, but we’re really focused on what’s going to happen the next 12 months. For me personally, I derive my enjoyment out of making a difference in people’s lives, whether they’re a team member, a franchisee, or the customers we serve. I hope to continue to do that.

What was your first job?

A newspaper delivery boy. Usually they didn’t hire 8-year-olds, but my uncle gave me a little route right around my house that had like 10 customers, and I thought I was the coolest kid around.

What’s your favorite menu item at Jimboy’s?

The Original Jimboy’s Taco.

What’s your favorite type of food outside of tacos?

Anything Italian.

Who has inspired you as a leader?

I’ve been inspired by two people in the franchise world. One is Ray Titus, who’s the founder and CEO of United Franchise Group, and the other is Jim Treliving, who’s the CEO of Boston Pizza Restaurant. Working with them and their leadership really shaped me in this business.

What are some of your interests outside of the business?

I love to read, exercise, and travel.

Restaurant Operations, Start to Finish: What Inspires Execs, Story, Jimboy's Tacos