As part of its growth plan, NRD Capital, which owns fast-casual restaurant chain Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, has formed Experiential Brands. The goal of this new entity is to “acquire truly experiential brands in the food and beverage space.”
Restaurant industry veteran Paul Damico will serve as CEO of Experiential Brands as well as Fuzzy’s Taco Shop. “Paul is an experienced veteran in the restaurant franchise industry and has a proven track record of successfully scaling and growing franchised brands, most notably growing Moe’s Southwest Grill from 200 to 700 units, making him the ideal fit for this role,” says Aziz Hashim, founder and managing partner of NRD Capital.
Most recently, Damico was CEO of Global Franchise Group LLC, franchisor of six chains. Prior to that, he was president of Atlanta-based Focus Brands a multiconcept operator with a portfolio of six chains.
Fuzzy’s Taco Shop will serve as the cornerstone concept for the Experiential Brands. Damico set a goal to double the size of Fuzzy’s Taco Shop in five years’ time, while adding other companies, per a release. “While the industry has seen an increase in online ordering and delivery, we believe there is still a place in the market for guests who are searching for a dining experience,” says Damico.
NRD bought a majority stake in Fuzzy’s Taco Shop in 2016. Fuzzy’s Taco Shop has 150 corporate and franchised locations spanning 17 states. And in November 2020, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop promoted Jessica Wescott to the dual role of chief financial officer and chief operating officer.