An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

Creatively show and share your brands Core Values, Mission & Vison across all Social Media Platforms, Company Websites and Business Listings.

As part of our series about how to create a trusted, believable, and beloved brand, I had the pleasure to Interview Daniel DeLeon.

Daniel DeLeon, Grumpy’s Restaurant President and CEO, is an accomplished entrepreneur who has earned recognition as a mover and shaker in the industry, voted by Nation’s Restaurant News as one of the Most Influential Restaurant CEOs In The Country, recognized by as one of its Rising Restaurant Stars 2021, and recognized by Nation’s Restaurant News’ Power List Reader Picks 2021. In addition, Grumpy’s has been awarded FSR Magazine’s Next-Gen Restaurant Brand 2021, TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Award, and Jacksonville Business Journal’s Fast 50 Company 2021.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Thank you so much for having me. I grew up just a short drive from our original Grumpy’s Restaurant. When I saw that it was up for sale, I knew that it was the perfect opportunity to use my experience to further develop and perfect this home-style restaurant, build a brand and bring more families and friends together over great diner food. After having a successful career as a multi-unit franchisee for various restaurant concepts and large franchisor representative, I felt I had the knowledge and ability to develop Grumpy’s, establish a brand and launch Grumpy’s as a franchise opportunity.

Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Looking back now, I’d say my funniest marketing mistake was when I had a Grumpy’s Restaurant Pop-up Tent made and the word “Restaurant” was misspelled on all four sides. To this day myself and the printer have no idea how we did not catch the misspelling. A great lesson in detailed artwork review was learned.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Grumpy’s Restaurant was born out of passion and our continuous commitment and mission are to deliver the highest quality dining experience at an affordable price for families everywhere. All while closing at 2:00PM, providing our employees the ultimate family, work and life balance. Over the past 21 years, Grumpy’s has experienced changes in staff and locations, but the commitment to excellent home-style cooking, attention to detail, sweet southern hospitality and serving a hungry-person’s portion at a working-class price, have not waivered. I believe our commitment to these key principles make our company stand out and keeps the customers coming back for more.

During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic we created an Employee Relief Fund and I was recognized in the community for forgoing my salary so that my staff could continue to bring home a paycheck, despite dining rooms being closed in the state of Florida. We also organized a produce giveaway for residents who couldn’t afford groceries. Lastly, we launched a community campaign that allowed anyone to contribute and gift a meal to people on the frontlines of COVID-19, as well as people in need in the community. The dedication my team and I have for the local communities surrounding Grumpy’s is what makes us a consistent staple in the Jacksonville area and beyond. I believe our commitment to our neighbors, customers and team members are what also helps our company stand out.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Grumpy’s Restaurant growth! We have two locations opening in 2022 and possible two more. Each location will employee about 45 people.

Ok let’s now jump to the core part of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define the difference between brand marketing (branding) and product marketing (advertising)? Can you explain?

Brand Marketing (branding) is what you utilize to build and maintain your company’s image, or in other words, your company’s reputation. Band Marketing and Branding should describe a long-term, specific plan to continuously boost your brands public recognition and reputation. Whereas, Product Marketing (advertising), is used to develop one-off campaigns and specific strategies to promote a particular product or service.

Can you explain to our readers why it is important to invest resources and energy into building a brand, in addition to the general marketing and advertising efforts?

In my opinion, it is important to invest in building your brand so that you can properly develop and build your business. Successful brand creation will help build brand awareness with consumers and guide your brands marketing and advertising campaigns, all the while keeping your brand consistent and relevant.

Can you share 5 strategies that a company should be doing to build a trusted and believable brand? Please tell us a story or example for each.

  1. I believe the most important part of being a trusted and believable brand is to live your brands Core Values, Mission & Vison daily. For example, at Grumpy’s we will never waver on our commitment to excellent home-style cooking, attention-to-detail, sweet southern hospitality and serving a hungry-person’s portion at a working-class price.
  2. A consistently positive and honest Company Culture is another key to building a trusted and believable brand.
  3. Creatively show and share your brands Core Values, Mission & Vison across all Social Media Platforms, Company Websites and Business Listings.
  4. Let your existing customers be your brand ambassadors! Highlighting your existing customer feedback as validation will quickly help build your brands reputation.
  5. Be a participating and valued member of your brands community.

In your opinion, what is an example of a company that has done a fantastic job building a believable and beloved brand? What specifically impresses you? What can one do to replicate that?

The first company that comes to my mind for building a beloved brand is Chick-fil-A. They have great Core Values and always stay true to them. “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chickfil-A.” It may sound simple, but to consistently live and demonstrate their Core Values takes great commitment. With that said, any brand that truly believes in their Core Values can execute them and ultimately build a believable and trustworthy brand.

In advertising, one generally measures success by the number of sales. How does one measure the success of a brand building campaign? Is it similar, is it different?

Building a trusted and believable brand is very different than simply counting your sales. Although sales are a great measurable statistic, sales alone may not accurately correlate to your brand building overall success. To measure the success of your brand building campaign more accurately, I believe you should look at more factors such as: Consumer Feedback & Ratings, Consumer Traffic, Consumer Frequency, Sales Growth and Social Media Engagement.

What role does social media play in your branding efforts?

Social Media should be one of your brands tools to creatively market and advertise your brand, and also show your brands Core Values, Mission & Vison.

What advice would you give to other marketers or business leaders to thrive and avoid burnout?

To thrive and avoid burnout, I find it is best to break down your brands goals into shorter stages. You may not be able to accomplish your goals in one day, one week or one month, but you will be surprised how much you can accomplish over a quarter and even year! Always celebrate your successes and keep in the back of your mind that small accomplishments add up to big wins!

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

During the initial round of Covid, I created and launched: Grumpy’s Restaurant Give A Breakfast | Give A Lunch community campaign. The program was simple: Help Grumpy’s Help Others!

Customers could help others by contributing $10.00 to our Give A Breakfast | Give A Lunch community campaign. Each customer donation would purchase a breakfast or lunch meal. Grumpy’s would then deliver their contributions to people working on the front lines like doctors, nurses, and first responders as well as the less fortunate in our community. Grumpy’s would also match any customer donation! Additionally, customers had the option to personalize a Thank You Card that we would deliver with their meal.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Give Everything, To Everything.” — Inky Johnson.

In my life, both professionally and personally, I try give everything to everything.

We are blessed that very prominent leaders in business and entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you would like to have a lunch or breakfast with? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Inky Johnson!

How can our readers follow you on social media?

IG: GrumpysRestaurant



Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

Daniel DeLeon Of Grumpy’s Restaurant: Five Things You Need To Build A Trusted And Beloved Brand was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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