Paul Damico is an accomplished and well-respected executive with more than 35 years of foodservice experience in the hospitality industry. Paul’s career includes top leadership roles in premium organizations including Host Marriott, Food Brand, Creative Host, and the FOCUS Brands portfolio of restaurants. Paul joined Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill in June of 2017 as its Chief Executive Officer and successfully grew the brand to 38 locations and created and established a franchise growth model. In April 2020, he was named CEO of Global Franchise Group where he is leading GFG’s growth, acquisitions, shared services and championing the organization’s “franchising first” philosophy. Following the successful sales of GFG, he joined Fuzzy’s Taco Shop as CEO.
Following graduation from Johnson & Wales University, Paul spent 13 years in various roles with Host Marriott Corporation culminating to his role as Vice President of International Development where he oversaw restaurant development on five continents. In 1999, his entrepreneurial instinct came to life and he co-founded FoodBrand LLC, a company that specialized in the development of restaurants in malls and airports. The company was so successful, it was sold to a private equity group and Paul was named CEO of the company (now known as SSP America). Paul was responsible for the day-to-day management of operations for 42 airports in the USA, Canada, and Caribbean.
In 2008, Paul joined Moe’s Southwest Grill as President of the organization. During his time with Moe’s, he was named by Fast Casual Magazine as a “Top 26 Executive.” While President of Moe’s, Paul was featured on the CBS hit TV series Undercover Boss where he went undercover to work in the restaurants and changed the lives of 5 Moe’s associates. After six years with Moe’s, Paul was promoted to Group President, by FOCUS Brands, and was responsible for the oversight of McAlister’s Deli, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Schlotzsky’s Deli and eventually Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, Carvel Ice Cream and Cinnabon.
An active member of the restaurant industry, Paul is an International Franchise Association Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) and Board Member of the National Restaurant Association Fast Casual Industry Council. Paul is a philanthropist and advocate for children and the hungry community, generously donating his time and money to causes such as the No Kid Hungry and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). In 2015, Paul was honored as the Restaurateur of the Year for the Georgia Restaurant Association’s Crystal of Excellence Award. He was recognized by his alma mater, Johnson & Wales University, as a Distinguished Lecturer and Distinguished Visiting Professor and was recently inducted into the World Association of Cooperative Education Hall of Fame. In 2016, Paul was again honored by Johnson & Wales University as they conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Business Administration in Restaurant, Food & Beverage Management, honoris causa.