“I was bit by the entrepreneurial bug and decided to start a restaurant company in Southern California...grew that through about 100 restaurants,” says CEO of Naf Naf Grill, Paul Damico.
Damico started his career in the restaurant industry working in his dad’s catering business for four years. He then attended Johnson & Wales University where he earned degrees in Culinary Arts and Hotel Restaurant Management.
Over the past 13 years, Damico has had an extensive background in leadership positions for companies such as Host Marriott Corporation, SSP America, Moe’s Southwest Grill and six FOCUS Brands, including Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, Carvel Ice Cream and Cinnabon World Famous Cinnamon Rolls.
His biggest advice for someone leading a company is to foster relationships with the leadership team, which he says is something that is often missed and difficult to do when you have a large team.
“You really have to get to know your leadership team that you are responsible for at a very granular level," says Damico. "You’ve gotta get to know them and their families personally, so you can help them and help guide them through their career.”
Damico speaks passionately on this topic. When he was President of Moe’s, Damico was featured on an episode of the CBS TV series, “Undercover Boss” where he went undercover to work in the restaurants and helped changed the lives of five Moe’s employees.
Watch the episode above to gain more advice from Paul Damico on how to break into the industry along with how to face the challenges that are dealt.