Naf Naf Grill Launches Inaugural Franchise Program and Signs First Franchise Deal
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Naf Naf Grill Launches Inaugural Franchise Program and Signs First Franchise Deal

Ten Store Deal Brings Fast-Casual Middle Eastern Concept to Central Indiana

April 30, 2019 // // CHICAGO - Naf Naf, the rapidly growing fast-casual Middle Eastern restaurant concept, is proud to announce the signing of its first ten store exclusive area development deal for Central Indiana with Indianapolis based early-stage investment company, 316 Investments, through its affiliate Fan the Flame LLC. This ten-store deal will expand the Naf footprint to the cities of Indianapolis, Bloomington, Lafayette, Fort Wayne and beyond.

316 affiliated companies, owned by business associates and Carmel and Indianapolis residents Greg Willman and Phil Salsbery, have a lengthy and well-respected tenure of operating and advising within the restaurant space. Among its many successful business ventures, 316 Investments was one of the first developers and operators of Qdoba Mexican Grill Restaurants and at one point were the largest franchisee in that system with stores throughout Indiana and South Carolina. In addition, 316 Investments also developed and operated Steak n Shake locations in South Carolina prior to a successful exit from that brand.

Along with its restaurant-related initiatives, 316 affiliate companies also develop retail real estate nationwide for tenants like Starbucks and Chipotle, and also manage a portfolio of early stage venture investments focused primarily on technology and health care related start-ups.

“We are thrilled to be the first franchise developer for Naf Naf. The concept is right on trend and we’re looking forward to bringing Naf’s authentic middle eastern flavors to Central Indiana,” said Greg Willman, Co-Founder, 316 Investments. “Getting involved early with this development opportunity is very exciting and reminiscent of what Phil and I did with Qdoba in the very early days of that successful brand.”

“Franchising is a critical component of our growth strategy and I am thrilled to welcome Greg, Phil and the entire 316 Investments team as the inaugural franchisee to the Naf family,” said Paul Damico, CEO of Naf Naf. “We are lucky to partner with such a dynamic duo with deep category operating experience on this first and exclusive area development deal in Indiana. We see a long and prosperous future in this partnership and look forward to what’s to come.”

Driving Naf Naf’s next phase of growth, Naf Naf also brought on David Vernon, a 30-year industry veteran as the company’s Vice President of Franchise Sales. In this newly created role, Vernon is overseeing the development and growth of Naf Naf’s franchising and expansion initiatives.

Vernon joins the Naf Naf team from Wingstop where he was Chief Development Officer. Under his leadership, Wingstop grew from 470 restaurants to over 1,000. Prior to Wingstop, Vernon was the Vice President, Franchise Sales at Sonic Drive-In where he expanded the brand from 1,500 restaurants to more than 3,000.

About Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill

Naf Naf was founded in 2009 and is the premium destination for fresh, authentic Middle Eastern food. Oven baked pitas, hand cut salads and freshly prepared sauces all serve as an accompaniment to award-winning shawarma and falafel. Naf Naf is a fast-casual restaurant with 37 locations (Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C. and Wisconsin) and more under development. Naf Naf has received industry acclaim, being named one of the top 40 hottest startup fast causal restaurants by QSR Magazine, a Top 100 Movers and Shakers by Fast Casual for two years in a row, and a 2016 Hot Concept by Nation’s Restaurant News. For more information, please visit

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Media Contact:

Emily Wilson Sawyer

SOURCE Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill



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