I was born and raised in Long Island, New York. I grew up in a middle-class family and absolutely love and respect my parents and how they raised me. Hard work, competitive, honest, respect for elders, and learning from my mistakes were all lessons I learned from my childhood.

I was a talented high school athlete that lettered in Basketball, Football, and Baseball. Unfortunately, a serious knee injury while playing football my senior year all but eliminated my ability to play at the collegiate level.

My schoolwork and grades were important to me. I put the effort and time into my classes and had a desire to learn as much as I could from some fantastic teachers.

Upon graduation, I decided to head south and attend the University of Florida. My parents put me a plane and told me to make the most of this opportunity. I was not exactly sure what I wanted to major in, but I knew business/entrepreneurship seemed to be a good direction. I did not come from a family of business owners or entrepreneurs, but always was in awe of people that had the skill and swagger to be their own boss. In college, I found myself studying different local businesses and which ones performed best in a college market. The one that rose to the top was Domino’s Pizza. I loved their simple business model and their consistency. No one is going to say that Domino’s has the best pizza, but they do have the best systems, processes, and marketing. I did well in college, but did not put as much effort into my classes as I should have. Most of my energy was devoted to coming up with a winning business idea. College was a growing and learning experience for me in many ways. I was social, expanded my knowledge, matured, loved being a Gator, and established lifelong friendships that have stood the test of time.

‘From Frat House to Franchising’ is the perfect description of my entrepreneurial background. 

I founded Wing Zone with my fraternity brother, Adam Scott in our fraternity house kitchen in 1992 with a $500 investment. Wing Zone would own delivery, late-night hours, offering authentic buffalo wings, a variety of unique sauces, crispy fries, and Coca-Cola. We installed a telephone line in the kitchen, went to Sam’s Club to buy our food and supplies, and had a simple menu designed and printed. I like to claim that we created the world’s 1st ‘ghost kitchen’. See, we did not publish an address, had no storefront, and the only way for our fellow Gators to order was to call 377-BIRD. This was also before area codes were required and online ordering was a decade away from even being tested. No one truly cared where we were located. They were hungry, wanted great wings, and most had no viable means of transportation to pick something up. The truth is our target audience was lazy and delivery was immensely popular. We took over the fraternity kitchen each night and delivered authentic buffalo wings to hungry college students in Gainesville, Florida. It was not only a dream of ours, but became our passion.

In 1993, Wing Zone opened its first “REAL” storefront steps from the University of Florida campus. I borrowed (more like begged) $30,000 from my parents with the following stipulations:

  1. I had to remain in school…..which I DID
  2. I had to graduate……which I DID in December 1993
  3. The $30K was a loan and would need to be paid back……which I DID within 9 months of opening the 1st restaurant

I will always be indebted to my parents for believing in me when no one else would or did. Like I said earlier, we were a middle-class family and $30,000 was a LOT of money to lend to a 21-year-old with no business or restaurant experience.

My partner and I were true owner operators. We did everything from cooking orders, taking deliveries, hanging flyers on apartment doors, and mopping the floors. We paid ourselves $200/week for the 1st year we were open. Humble beginnings to say the least!

Upon graduating, my partner and I set on a mission for expansion. We successfully opened six additional Wing Zone restaurants in major college markets from 1995-2001, all with internal profits and a local relationship with a bank. What a crazy ride we were on and it was fair to say we living the American dream. Our menu expanded, systems improved, stores became more efficient and steam lined, hired some amazing team members, and we kept investing back into the business. At the young age of 29, we had built a small restaurant chain.

We launched the Wing Zone Franchise System in 2001. We did not have franchise experience and honestly did not really know what we were doing, but we had a sustainable and proven business model.    Wing Zone’s model was ideal for franchising. Our 5 guiding principles were:

Unit Level Economics-CHECK

Replicable Operational Model-CHECK

Leadership Team/Founders-CHECK

Brand Cache/Uniqueness-CHECK

Growth Readiness-CHECK

As the CEO of Wing Zone, I led a talented and dedicated team to successfully franchise over 150 restaurants throughout the US and six countries. We became a global franchise!!

My partner and I were inducted into the Buffalo Wing Hall of Fame in the birthplace of wings – Buffalo, New York in 2009. It was such a great accomplishment, especially from where we started.

In 2021, my partner and I (we owned 100% of the company), sold a majority interest in Wing Zone to Capriotti’s Sandwich Shoppe. It was the right time for us to have a successful exit and we both wanted to explore new opportunities. We founded it, built it, and now sold it.     

After my exit at Wing Zone, I became the CEO of Franchise Founders, a private equity group in the franchise incubator space that invests and helps scale emerging franchisors. I oversaw Franchise Founders’ Platform Support Services including franchise recruitment, branding, marketing, real estate and construction, operations, and IT business intelligence. Franchise Founders Emerging Franchisors included: Love & Honey Fried Chicken, Patriot Broadband, Formah Body Sculpting, Bobby Chez Crabcakes, Doughnuttery, and Frankie Salons.

This experience allowed me to explore and better understand the different types of franchises. These included Health & Wellness, Beauty, Home Services, and Restaurants. 

In late 2023, I started Friedman Consulting which provides advisory and growth strategy to Emerging Franchisors. The current brands we are working with include Oasis Face Bar, Melt Well-Sauna & Cold Plunge, Bahia Bowls, and ActivAge Senior Day Care.

In 2024, I joined The Perfect Franchise to work with passionate and dedicated people that are looking to explore franchise opportunities.  

Franchising is a great path to business ownership and this is my opportunity to share my experience, knowledge, and guidance with you.