Naf-Naf-Grill-CEO-Greg-Willman.jpg Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill
Naf Naf names Greg Willman as CEO, effective June 15.

Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill names Greg Willman CEO

Former Qdoba developer’s group was fast-casual brand’s first franchisee

Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill has named Greg Willman as CEO, effective June 15, the company announced Tuesday.

The Chicago-based fast-casual brand said Gary Beisler, who served as interim CEO, will continue as chairman of Naf Naf’s board.

Naf-Naf-CEO-Greg-Willman-200.jpgWillman, left, succeeds former CEO Paul Damico, who in April was named CEO of Atlanta-based Global Franchise Group LLC, franchisor of Great American Cookies, Hot Dog on a Stick and other brands.

Willman, a co-founder and CEO of 316 Investments, was one of the first developers and operators of Qdoba Mexican Grill restaurants, and after exiting that investment, his company became Naf Naf’s first franchisee, signing an exclusive area development deal for Central Indiana.

“Greg is the right leader for this company especially during these unprecedented times,” Beisler said in a statement. “He understands what it takes to successfully grow an emerging brand, and his strong finance and operations experience, coupled with his passion for the Naf brand, will take this company to the next level.”

Willman said he “was initially attracted to Naf Naf for the unique and high-quality Middle Eastern cuisine and saw an opportunity to get involved at an early stage as a franchisee to help grow this compelling concept.”

Naf Naf, founded in 2009, has about 39 units in eight states and the District of Columbia. The company is scheduled to open its 40th unit June 1 in Knoxville, Tenn., a spokesperson said, and that will be the brand’s second franchised unit.

Atlanta-based Roark Capital Group invested in the concept in 2015. The brand was named a Nation’s Restaurant News Hot Concept in 2016.

Contact Ron Ruggless at Ronald.Ruggless@Informa.com

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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