James J. Greco

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James J. Greco
James J. Greco Headshot crop.jpg
James J. Greco in 2012.
Born (1958-01-04) January 4, 1958 (age 60)
New Haven, Connecticut
Residence Delray Beach, Florida, United States[1]
Nationality American
Alma mater Georgetown University (A.B.)
University of Miami School of Law (J.D.)
City University, London, UK
Occupation Business executive[2][3]

James Joseph Greco (born January 4, 1958) is an American businessman and entrepreneur. Currently, he serves as the president and chief executive officer of foodservice investment firm Pilgrim Holdings.[2][3][4] Throughout his career, he has held numerous executive positions in the foodservice industry, as well as various directorships.[5][6]

Early years and personal life[edit]

Greco was born in New Haven, Connecticut and grew up in nearby Hamden, Connecticut. He graduated from Hamden High School in 1976, earned a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Georgetown University in 1980 and a J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law, in 1983. He also completed international studies at City University, London, England.[7]

Greco is a member of the Connecticut and Florida Bar Associations; and has served on the boards of directors for the Lender School of Business at Quinnipiac University, Fazoli's Restaurants, Inc., the Connecticut Food Bank, the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce, Circle Peak Capital, Share Our Strength: Dine Out, The UCAN Company, and the International Dairy Foods Association.[8][9][10][11][12][4] Currently, he serves on the boards of True Drinks Holdings, Inc., a publicly traded healthy beverage company, and the Palm Beach County Food Bank.[3][13][14][12] Additionally, Greco is an operating advisor for Lincoln Road Global Management and a partner at hospitality consulting firm Results Thru Strategy.[15][16][8][17]

Greco is married, the father of two sons, and resides in Delray Beach, Florida.[18][1]

Early career[edit]

After graduating from law school, he served as a partner in the Connecticut-based Greco and Greco law firm, from 1983 to 1991, specializing in consultation to and representation of real estate and corporate clients.[7]

Greco executed one of his first turnarounds at Ellington, Connecticut-based Natural Country Farms, a manufacturer of private label and foodservice fruit juices, where he served as COO for five years.[11]

Following Natural Country Farms, he served for seven years as CEO of Fieldbrook Farms, a $100 million manufacturer of private label ice cream in Dunkirk, New York. A team of investors, led by Greco, took over a failing Fieldbrook Farms and named him CEO. In that capacity, he successfully designed and executed a strategic plan to turn the company around. His efforts resulted in doubled profits and an increase in productivity.[19]


Greco joined Bruegger's as CEO in 2003. Following his arrival, the company achieved over twenty consecutive quarters of positive same store sales and total-sales growth.[20][21] In 2010, Bruegger's announced $254 million in revenue.[22] Under him, the company expanded to over 300 bakery cafés in 26 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.[23] On November 13, 2009, he oversaw their eleventh and largest acquisition[24] to occur during his tenure, when Bruegger's purchased the holdings of Timothy's World Coffee. Through a wholly owned subsidiary, called Threecaf Brands Canada Inc., Bruegger's assumed control of Timothy's three restaurant brands: Timothy's World Coffee, Michel's Bakery Café, and mmmuffins.[22]

On October 5, 2009, he was named operator of the year by the Nation's Restaurant News during the publication's golden anniversary celebration at the 50th anniversary Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators (MUFSO) conference.[25]

Le Duff America[edit]

In March 2011, Groupe Le Duff, a French restaurant group, acquired the Bruegger's chain and its subsidiaries from the private equity firm Sun Capital Partners, earning ownership a return of 36% per year, or 13 times, on its investment and making Groupe Le Duff the second largest bakery café group in the world.[26] Greco was named CEO of the company's American restaurant holdings, under the name Le Duff America, headquartered in Burlington, Vermont; Dallas, Texas; and Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[27] During his tenure, Le Duff America was the parent company of the restaurant chains Bruegger's, La Madeleine, Mimi's Cafe, Brioche Dorée, Timothy's World Coffee, Michel's Bakery Café, mmmuffins, as well as several others. The group, under him, ran over 600 restaurants and annually saw about $450 million in revenue. In December 2011, he announced he would be leaving the company at the end of the year to pursue other opportunities.[28][29]


In January 2012, Greco joined Sbarro as CEO, president, and board member.[30] Sbarro, then headquartered in Melville, Huntington, New York, was one of the world's leading Italian quick service restaurant chains and the largest "shopping mall-focused" restaurant concept in the world. Under him, Sbarro operated 1,100 restaurants in nearly 45 countries.[31] Greco, credited with the strong performance and growth of Bruegger's, was recruited to Sbarro to lead its turnaround.[32] Confident about Sbarro's prospects, he designed a short-term strategic plan calling for a focus on "people, place, product and positioning."[33] Longer term, he implemented plans to shift Sbarro from its quick-service, food court based, status into the fast casual arena.[34] He centered on making Sbarro the preeminent fast-casual Italian brand worldwide, an unclaimed position, and one he felt fit Sbarro well.[35] He improved the quality and variety of products, ingredients and preparation.[36] His changes also included an increased emphasis on employee hospitality and a shift from its shopping mall focus to a more store front oriented concept.[37] He believed accomplishing these itiatives, would position the firm into fast-casual preeminence. He left the company in late 2013.[33][38]

Newk's Eatery[edit]

After spending time as an industry consultant, Greco joined Newk's Eatery as president in September 2014.[39][40][41] The restaurant chain had recently been bought by Sentinel Capital Partners, a private equity firm specializing in buying and building companies.[42] Identifying the opportunity for expansion, Sentinel brought in Greco as an industry veteran to execute a plan for growth at Newk's.[43][44][45] He left the company in late 2016.[46] During his tenure, the company grew 70% and was included on Nation's Restaurant News "Second 100" list for the first time, ranked 5th fastest growing chain.[47][48]


  1. ^ a b "Having Words With: James Greco". nrn.com. February 20, 2012
  2. ^ a b "Navigating the crossover: Fast casualization of the restaurant industry". qsrweb.com. November 9, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c "Food and Beverage Industry Veteran James J. Greco Joins True Drinks Board of Directors". Yahoo Finance. February 28, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Executive Profile: James J. Greco". Bloomberg. Retrieved March 16, 2017.
  5. ^ "Sbarro Names Dynamic, New Management Team to Lead Company's Growth Initiative". Business Wire. January 31, 2012.
  6. ^ "Texas-based Sekots Too LLC Awarded Newk's Eatery's Franchisee of the Year". Restaurant News. May 4, 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Sbarro – Management Team". sbarro.com. Archived from the original on February 8, 2013. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  8. ^ a b "Results Thru Strategy Adds James Greco as a Partner". Nasdaq GlobeNewswire. February 8, 2017.
  9. ^ "Who We Are". Connecticut Food Bank. November 14, 2010. Archived from the original on November 14, 2010.
  10. ^ "About Us". Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce. May 10, 2012. Archived from the original on May 10, 2012.
  11. ^ a b "Operating Council". circlepeakcapital.com.
  12. ^ a b "James Greco - Palm Beach County Food Bank".
  13. ^ "Board of Directors". TrueDrinks.
  14. ^ "People on the Move". Sun Sentinel. October 12, 2013.
  15. ^ "People on the Move". Sun Sentinel. March 3, 2017.
  16. ^ "James Greco Operating Advisor". Lincoln Road Global Management.
  17. ^ "RTS Team". Results Thru Strategy.
  18. ^ "Nation's Restaurant News, October 5, 2009". nrn.com. October 5, 2009. Archived from the original on October 11, 2009.
  19. ^ Tom Hartley (June 5, 2000) "Private label producer finds favor in the freezer". Buffalo Business First.
  20. ^ Valerie Killifer (January 31, 2012) "James Greco, former Bruegger's CEO, joins Sbarro" Archived January 12, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.. fastcasual.com.
  21. ^ "Bruegger's". nrn.com. May 18, 2009.
  22. ^ a b "Bruegger's buys Timothy's World Coffee". nrn.com. November 13, 2009.
  23. ^ Joan Warren (November 13, 2009) "Bruegger's Bagels will open on Nov. 17". eastbayri.com
  24. ^ "Bruegger's - Leadership Team". brueggers.com. December 31, 2011. Archived from the original on December 24, 2011.
  25. ^ "Bruegger's Greco named Operator of the Year". Nation's Restaurant News. October 5, 2010.
  26. ^ Paul Frumkin (March 18, 2011) "Bruegger’s CEO sees opportunities with new owner Le Duff". nrn.com.
  27. ^ "Le Duff America names new leadership team". Nation's Restaurant News. October 8, 2011.
  28. ^ "Le Duff America Announces Departure Of Co-CEO Jim Greco". franchising.com. December 22, 2011.
  29. ^ Sarah E. Lockyer (December 22, 2011) "LeDuff America co-CEO James Greco resigns". nrn.com.
  30. ^ Paul Frumkin (February 1, 2012) "Sbarro names James Greco president, CEO". nrn.com.
  31. ^ "Sbarro Names Dynamic, New Management Team to Lead Company's Growth Initiative". marketwatch.com. January 31, 2012
  32. ^ "Sbarro Lures Greco, New Board Members for Italian Eatery's Turnaround". Quick Serve Leader. January 31, 2012. Archived from the original on January 12, 2013.
  33. ^ a b Paul Frumkin (April 30, 2012) "Turnaround time at Sbarro". nrn.com.
  34. ^ Stephanie Strom (October 8, 2012) "Sbarro Plan for Growth Is Starting in Kitchen". The New York Times.
  35. ^ "The Rise, Fall, and Rise of Sbarro". qsrmagazine.com. July 1, 2012.
  36. ^ Paul Frumkin (April 6, 2012) "Sbarro to open test units, tweak menu". nrn.com.
  37. ^ Keiko Morris (April 10, 2012) "Sbarro to move upscale: report". Long Island Business – Newsday.
  38. ^ "Sbarro CEO leaves". Newsday. March 29, 2013.
  39. ^ Editors, The (September 4, 2014). "Greco Named COO for Newk's". Foodservice Equipment & Supplies Magazine.
  40. ^ "James Greco Joins Rapidly Expanding Newk's Eatery". Restaurant News. September 3, 2014.
  41. ^ "James Greco Joins Rapidly Expanding Newk's Eatery". Restaurant Magazine. September 3, 2014.
  42. ^ "Newk's Eatery parent acquired by Sentinel Capital Partners". Nation's Restaurant News. March 25, 2014.
  43. ^ "Newk's names Jim Greco COO". nrn.com. September 3, 2014. Archived from the original on September 6, 2014.
  44. ^ "Newk's Announces Plans for 25 Restaurants in 2015". QSR Magazine. November 11, 2014.
  45. ^ "COO: Newk's riding high on 'second wave' of fast casual". fastcasual.com. November 11, 2014.
  46. ^ "Newk's". nrn.com. October 4, 2016.
  47. ^ "2016 Second 100: Why Newk's Eatery is the No. 5 fastest-growing chain". nrn.com. July 26, 2016.
  48. ^ "2015 Top 100: A look at the 10 fastest-growing chains". nrn.com. June 19, 2015.