James J. Greco

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James J. Greco
James J. Greco in 2012.
Born (1958-01-04) January 4, 1958 (age 61)
New Haven, Connecticut
Residence Boynton Beach, Florida, United States[1]
Nationality American
Alma mater Georgetown University (A.B.)
University of Miami (J.D.)
City University, London (International Studies)
Occupation President and COO of Newk's Eatery
Website Newk's

James Joseph Greco (born January 4, 1958) is an American businessman and entrepreneur. Currently, he serves as the President and CEO of Pilgrim Holdings and the President and COO of Newk's Eatery.[2] Prior to joining Newk's, Greco held numerous other executive positions in the food service industry including Chief Executive Officer and President of Sbarro, Chief Executive Officer of the restaurant group Le Duff America, Chief Executive Officer of Bruegger's Enterprises, Inc., Chief Executive Officer of Fieldbrook Farms Corporation, and Chief Operating Officer of Natural Country Farms.[3]

Early years and personal life

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 degree in economics from Georgetown University in 1980, and a J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law, in 1983. Additionally, Greco has completed International Studies at City University, London, England.[4]

Greco is a member of the Connecticut Bar Association and the Florida Bar Association. As well as being active on the Board of Advisors for the Lender School of Business at Quinnipiac University, Greco also serves on the Board of Directors for the Connecticut Food Bank, the Board of Directors of the Palm Beach County Food Bank, and the Board of Directors of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce.[5] Greco is the father of two sons,[6] and resides in Boynton Beach, Florida with his wife.[1]

Early career

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

Greco executed one of his first turnarounds at Ellington, Connecticut-based Natural Country Farms, a manufacturer of private label and food service fruit juices, where he served as Chief Operating Officer for five years.[7]

Following Natural Country Farms, Greco served for seven years as Chief Executive Officer 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 Greco Chief Executive Officer. As CEO, he successfully designed and executed a strategic plan to turn the company around. Greco's efforts resulted in a doubling of profits and a large increase in productivity.[8]


Greco first joined Bruegger's in 2003. Following his arrival, the company achieved over twenty consecutive quarters of positive same store sales and total-sales growth.[9][10] Additionally, in 2010, Bruegger's announced $254 million in revenue.[11] Under Greco, Bruegger's expanded to operating over 300 bakery cafés in 26 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada.[12] On November 13, 2009, Greco oversaw Bruegger's eleventh and largest acquisition[13] to occur during his tenure at the company when Bruegger's purchased the restaurant 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.[11]

On October 5, 2009, Greco was named Restaurant Operator of the Year by the Nation's Restaurant News during the publication's Golden Anniversary Celebration. He was awarded the honor in Dallas, Texas at the 50th anniversary Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators (MUFSO) conference.[14] He was selected by readers of the publication from among six nominees, the others being: Chuck Fallon, president of Burger King North America; Phil Friedman, chairman and chief executive of McAlister's Deli; Jeffrey Harvey, president and chief executive of Burgerville; Randy Kibler, president and chief executive of Bojangles' Famous Chicken 'n Biscuits; and Cameron Mitchell, president and chief executive of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants.[15][16]

Le Duff America

In March 2011, Groupe Le Duff, a French restaurant group, acquired the Bruegger's chain and its subsidiaries from the investment group Sun Capital Partners, earning Sun Capital a return of 36% per year on its investment and making Groupe Le Duff the second largest bakery café group in the world.[17] Greco was named the CEO of the company's American restaurant holdings, under the name Le Duff America, headquartered in Burlington, Vermont; Dallas, Texas; and Toronto, Canada.[18] Today, Le Duff America is 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 Greco, ran nearly 600 restaurants and annually saw about $450 million in revenue. In December 2011, Greco announced he would be leaving the company at the end of the year to pursue other opportunities.[19][20]


In January 2012, Greco joined Sbarro as Chief Executive Officer, President, and member of the Board of Directors.[21] Sbarro, headquartered in Melville, Huntington, New York, is one of the world's leading Italian quick service restaurant chains and the largest "shopping mall-focused" restaurant concept in the world. Sbarro operates more than 1,050 restaurants in over 40 countries.[22] Greco, who is credited by industry experts with the strong performance, growth, and turnaround of the Bruegger's chain, was recruited to Sbarro to lead the company as it continues to grow, innovate, and improve.[23] Greco is confident about Sbarro's prospects. He has designed a short-term strategic plan calling for a focus on “people, place, product and positioning.”[24] Long term, however, Greco plans to shift Sbarro from its current quick-service status into the fast casual arena.[25] Greco's vision is to make Sbarro the preeminent fast-casual Italian brand worldwide, a position that he thinks fits Sbarro well and one which nobody of any size has yet claimed.[26] This will include, among other things, improving the quality and variety of Sbarro's products and ingredients as well as the manner in which they are prepared.[27] This change will also include an increased emphasis on employee hospitality and a shift from its current shopping mall focus to a more store front oriented concept.[28] Greco believes that Sbarro can accomplish these strategic initiatives and own this new position of fast-casual preeminence in a relatively short period of time. Greco left Sbarro in late 2013 to pursue other business opportunities.[24][29]

Newk's Eatery

After spending time as an industry consultant, Greco joined Newk's Eatery in September 2014.[30][31][32] The restaurant chain had recently been bought by Sentinel Capital Partners, a private equity firm that specializes in buying and building companies.[33] Identifying the chain's opportunity for growth as a driving factor in the decision to acquire the company, Sentinel brought in Greco as an industry veteran to execute a plan for rapid growth at Newk's.[34][35][36]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Having Words With: James Greco". nrn.com. February 20, 2012
  2. http://www.qsrweb.com/articles/navigating-the-crossover-fast-casualization-of-the-restaurant-industry/
  3. "Sbarro Names Dynamic, New Management Team to Lead Company's Growth Initiative ". sbarro.com. January 31, 2012
  4. "Sbarro – Management Team". sbarro.com. Retrieved March 25, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. http://www.pbcfoodbank.org/james-greco
  6. [1]
  7. "Operating Council". circlepeakcapital.com
  8. Tom Hartley (June 5, 2000) "Private label producer finds favor in the freezer". Buffalo Business First.
  9. Valerie Killifer (January 31, 2012) "James Greco, former Bruegger's CEO, joins Sbarro". www.fastcasual.com.
  10. [2]
  11. 11.0 11.1 [3]
  12. Joan Warren (November 13, 2009) "Bruegger's Bagels will open on Nov. 17". eastbayri.com
  13. http://www.brueggers.com/about-us/view-article/id/92
  14. http://www.nrn.com/article.aspx?id=373760
  15. http://www.nrn.com/breakingNews.aspx?id=374050
  16. http://www.nrn.com/article.aspx?id=374534
  17. Paul Frumkin (March 18, 2011) "Bruegger’s CEO sees opportunities with new owner Le Duff". nrn.com.
  18. http://nrn.com/archive/le-duff-america-names-new-leadership-team
  19. "LE DUFF AMERICA ANNOUNCES DEPARTURE OF CO-CEO JIM GRECO". brueggers.com. December 21, 2011
  20. Sarah E. Lockyer (December 22, 2011) "LeDuff America co-CEO James Greco resigns". nrn.com.
  21. Paul Frumkin (February 1, 2012) "Sbarro names James Greco president, CEO". nrn.com.
  22. "Sbarro Names Dynamic, New Management Team to Lead Company's Growth Initiative". marketwatch.com. January 31, 2012
  23. http://www.quickserveleader.com/article/sbarro-lures-greco-new-board-members-italian-eaterys-turnaround
  24. 24.0 24.1 Paul Frumkin (April 30, 2012) "Turnaround time at Sbarro". nrn.com.
  25. Stephanie Strom (October 8, 2012) "Sbarro Plan for Growth Is Starting in Kitchen". The New York Times.
  26. http://www.qsrmagazine.com/reports/rise-fall-and-rise-sbarro?page=2
  27. Paul Frumkin (April 6, 2012) "Sbarro to open test units, tweak menu". nrn.com.
  28. Keiko Morris (April 10, 2012) "Sbarro to move upscale: report". Long Island Business – Newsday.
  29. http://www.newsday.com/business/ceo-jim-greco-leaves-sbarro-after-14-months-1.4939529
  30. http://www.fesmag.com/features/foodservice-news/12025-greco-named-coo-for-newk-s
  31. http://www.restaurantnews.com/james-greco-joins-rapidly-expanding-newks-eatery/
  32. http://www.restaurantmagazine.com/james-greco-joins-rapidly-expanding-newks-eatery/
  33. http://nrn.com/mergers-acquisitions/newks-eatery-parent-acquired-sentinel-capital-partners
  34. http://nrn.com/people/newks-names-jim-greco-coo
  35. http://www.qsrmagazine.com/news/newks-announces-plans-25-restaurants-2015
  36. http://www.fastcasual.com/articles/greco-newks-riding-high-on-second-wave-of-fast-casual/