Chris Covelli, Founder
Chris has ten years of business development and entrepreneurial experience. In 2015, he founded #getfried in Buffalo, NY.
Sam G. Ballas, CFE
Sam G. Ballas serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of East Coast Wings + Grill. Managing Partner of ZorAbility, Inc., an advisoery and investment company for emerging franchise models. As founder of East Coast Wings + Grill, he has lead the brand by instilling Unit Level of Economics (ULE) as the brands absolute DNA since the chain started franchising. Sam has strategically evolved the brand as one of the leaders in the casual dining space. In 2015-18, he authored several articles on the brand’s core philosophy of “driving unit level of economics” in national restaurant and franchising trade publications. With over 29 years of experience in the financial markets, retail real estate/ development industries and 39 years of restaurant experience, Sam has used his vast knowledge base in implementing traditional growth strategies and has pioneered proprietary strategies- the Unit Level Performance Index (ULPI)- in evolving the brand’s “Best Practices” and sustainment of brand “Bench Marks & KPI’s” and double digit EBITDA as a unit level brand average. As a result, East Coast Wings + Grill has achieved many industry accolades including Top 50 Restaurant Franchise with Franchise Business Review (FBR) 2012-18, 2017’s Top 200 Food Franchises with Entrepreneur Magazine, a Top 500 Franchise System with Entrepreneur Magazine, Restaurant Business Magazine’s Top 50 brand to watch, a 2016 Top 5000 Privately held companies by INC Magazine.
Sam serves on the Board of Directors of the International Franchise Association and is a designated Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) by the Institute of Certified Franchise Executives. He serves on the Government Affairs Committee for the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association.
Mark Lyso, CFE
For the past 26 years with 7 concepts, Mr. Lyso has held many positions in the restaurant industry. Those positions have included Restaurant Manager, General Manager, Director of Training, Director of Recruiting, Franchise Business Consultant, Executive Director of Franchise Development, VP of Franchise Development, VP of Franchise Operations, and currently EVP of Operations for East Coast Wings + Grill and President of Zorability and Get Fried Franchise USA, LLC.
Since June 2017, Mr. Lyso has served as East Coast Wings + Grill’s Executive Vice President of Operations. Previously, from June 2016 until June 2017, Mr. Lyso served as the Chief Operating Officer at Ruby’s Diner Franchise Systems, Inc. From July 2013 through September 2015 Mr. Lyso served as Vice President of Franchise Development for PizzaRev Franchising, LLC, in Westlake Village, California where he assisted in the growth of the concept from 3 units to 30 units. From September 2009 to July 2013, Mr. Lyso was the Executive Director of Franchise Development for Sizzler USA, Inc. in Mission Viejo, California. From January of 1996 to September of 2009, Mr. Lyso assisted in the growth of Famous Dave’s BBQ from 2 units to 175 units holding various positions with the company. Mr. Lyso started his restaurant experience with the Olive Garden, then owned by General Mills in 1993.
Tom Scalese, CFE
Tom has spent over 30 years in the industry. Upon graduating from Providence College he opened and ran a successful family restaurant for several years. He sold his stores in the mid 1990’s and went to work for US Foods and spent the next 11+ years in the distribution space. He left IFH Foodservice in 2008 as a Regional Sales Manager and joined the East Coast Wings team as VP of Operations. Since January 2014, Mr. Scalese has served as our Chief Operating Officer in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Co-Owner and Executive Chef Sammy is a young, creative and energetic restaurateur. Sammy has been in the business since the age of twelve where he first started washing dishes and later moved up the kitchen ranks. He credits his dad Terry Gianopoulos, having 30 years of experience owning and operating restaurants, for giving him the incredible opportunity to learn all aspects of creating a successful restaurant. Sammy attended the prestigious Johnson and Wales Culinary School. After school he was lead chef at the beautiful Biltmore estate in Asheville, North Carolina. He then moved back home to Winston-Salem and became executive chef at the then popular Louie Blue’s Seafood Grill at the age of 20. With an incredible culinary education and years of hands-on experience, Sammy created his first restaurant Gianno’s in October of 2000. Since the year 2000, Sammy has owned and operated Sammy G’s Tavern, Fratellis Italian Steakhouse, and Three Bulls American Steakhouse. He has recently joined Zorability as a shareholder and currently oversees the culinary innovation and menu mix.
Brad Fishman, President Fishman PR
Franchising and public relations international speaker & expert. More than 20 years helping franchise clients develop successful lead generation campaigns through strategic public relations campaigns.