Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Deja vu for Cocotas?

After making a name for himself in the pet-hotel business, Charlie Cocotas is running a restaurant chain again. The former Church’s and TCBY chief, who made millions when onetime-charge Boston Chicken was sold to the public, is serving as president and chief operating officer of UFood Grill, the fast-casual health food start-up led by George Naddaff.

Both are hoping it’s déjà vu all over again. Naddaff brought Cocotas into Boston Chicken when the take-out chain was expanding beyond its Boston base, where it had a cult following. Naddaff would later engineer a sale of the company to some former Blockbuster Video execs, who subsequently led what was then the most successful IPO that Wall Street had ever seen. The New York Times covered it on page one—of the main news section.

Cocotas cashed in his equity. In a later interview, he wouldn’t tell me how much he made, but he acknowledged that it was considerable.

He left the trade at one point to start a franchise chain of high-end pet boarding facilities. The uniqueness of the endeavor drew coverage in the Wall Street Journal.

Strangely, particularly for a publicity hound like Naddaff, Cocotas’ involvement with UFood franchisor UFood Restaurant Group Inc. was revealed with nary a drum roll. Boston-based UFood mentioned it in a press release touting the addition of Burger King veteran Mark Giresi to the company’s board. Giresi’s other charges have included Victoria Secret.

He and Cocotas are the latest in a long, long, long string of restaurant-industry executives who have proven you only take a break from the restaurant industry, not a leave.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting that he is back. I will be watching to see if he still has the same magic.