February 27, 2009 // Franchising.com // (New York, NY)---TRUFOODS, LLC, the New York City-based parent company of Wall Street Deli, Ritter's Frozen Custard, Pudgie's Famous Chicken and Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips, is pleased to name Gary Occhiogrosso as chief development officer as of February 23rd.
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, LLC.
"I've always been drawn to companies that have the ability to reinvent themselves and felt that TRUFOODS, LLC and its recent turnaround by [chairman and CEO] Andy Unanue was exactly the opportunity I was looking for," said 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."
Occhiogrosso isn't the only enthusiastic party regarding his new position: "One look at Gary's resume proves he is the perfect person for this job," said Unanue. "As we continue to grow through franchising and acquisitions, I'm sure that Gary's industry knowledge and expertise will lend themselves to TRUFOODS, LLC's continued success."
Created in August 2007 by former Goya Foods vice president and COO Andy Unanue, New York City-based TRUFOODS, LLC owns and operates some of the most highly regarded food franchise names in America including Wall Street Deli, Ritter's Frozen Custard, Pudgie's Famous Chicken and Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips comprising roughly 100 locations nationwide with annual system wide sales of approximately $40 million. TRUFOODS, LLC goal is to grow all of its existing brands organically, doubling or tripling its number of units over the next five years with an emphasis on continued growth in existing markets. The initial focus will be on the Wall Street Deli and Ritter's brands. Growth is expected to come from a combination of area developers and single-unit operators.