George Katakalidis was a professional soccer player before he retired and opened up a fast-casual Greek restaurant chain. His success earned him numerous accolades and made his business one of the largest in America.
For the first 15 years of Katakalidis’ restaurant empire, he expanded at a relatively slow rate. This allowed his brand to become familiar with different markets and understand local customers’ tastes.
Early Life and Education
George Katakalidis was born in Greece but by the time he was 7, had moved to Canada and started high school. Throughout his childhood years, he played a lot of soccer and served as captain for the Canadian National Youth Team.
Despite his early success in the game, Katakalidis struggled to find employment after graduation. To prove himself and prove his worth, he started a restaurant chain called Daphne’s; which today stands as one of America’s largest casual dining Greek restaurant franchises with 81 locations across five states and an impressive list of awards – including being named one of Nation’s Restaurant News’ top ten casual dining operators.
After his professional soccer career was a success, Katakalidis ventured into restaurant ownership and founded Daphne’s Greek Cafe. Since then, their chain of eateries has grown to 81 locations in five states.
Katakalidis has always demonstrated his willingness to tackle challenges throughout his professional career. He learned English within one year of moving to Canada and has traveled Europe as Captain of the Canadian National Youth Team.
He has successfully balanced his professional soccer career with his duties as founder and chief executive officer of Daphne’s Greek Cafe chain restaurants, opening their first location in 1991 and expanding it to 81 restaurants across five states.
Katakalidis took time to perfect his concept before considering ambitious expansion plans. Instead of opening multiple units simultaneously, he began with one restaurant in Roseville, CA – a test unit which set the bar for future establishments in nearby markets.
Achievements and Honors
George Katakalidis is a genial man with an appetite for fine cuisine. He’s proud to be inducted into the foodservice industry’s hall of fame, and his latest venture – Daphne’s Greek Cafe – has been an unqualified success. The restaurant has earned itself a devoted following and is the talk of the town. With an impressive number of locations throughout San Diego County and beyond, it has also received many accolades including being nominated for best in show at the Oscars. George is an entrepreneur at heart who’s never had it so good. One of his many perks includes playing golf at least once a week. Aside from his philanthropic endeavors, one of George’s best qualities is that he’s a family man who knows how to have fun.
George Katakalidis may be one of the most successful restauranteurs in the industry, but he had an illustrious past. He grew up in Greece and was a professional soccer player before embarking on his culinary journey.
Unfortunately, injury forced him to retire early from football; however, he made the most of it and became the owner of Daphne’s Greek Cafe in San Diego. Since then he has managed 81 restaurants throughout the Southwest United States.
Katakalidis took a cautious approach when starting his chain of restaurants. Instead of opening hundreds of outlets annually, he started with five locations and monitored their performance over several months before approving expansion plans.
Katakalidis’ net worth has ballooned to approximately $30 million as a result of his investments in restaurants. In 1991, he opened Daphne’s Greek Cafe in San Diego, California and saw it expand rapidly to over 90 locations before selling the business four years later; however, its continued presence remains an important component of his overall assets.
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