Francesco co-founded Grove Bay Hospitality Group in 2010, with the goal of becoming an industry leader in innovative and profitable restaurant concepts. Since inception, the group has successfully launched an array of concepts, ranging from fast-casual eateries to celebrity chef driven restaurants. Balli was instrumental in securing a 50-year lease with the City of Miami for three restaurants, a 300 boat marina, and 60,000 sq. ft. of retail space on a 7-acre waterfront property in Coconut Grove, previously known as the Charthouse and Scotty’s Landing property. Francesco was recognized by Ernst & Young, as a finalist in the Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 Florida Awards program, the awards program recognizes entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellent and extraordinary success in areas such as financial performance, innovation and commitment to their businesses and communities.
Before co-founding Grove Bay, Francesco was the CFO and Vice President of Finance at Areas USA, Inc., an airport and turnpike concessions operator with over 125 points-of-sale across nine airports and two turnpikes. As the CFO and Vice President of Finance at Areas USA, Francesco helped grow the company to over $220 million in annual sales. Before leaving Areas USA in 2010, Francesco assisted in winning the Florida Turnpike concession. Valued at over $6 billion, it was the largest turnpike concession contract in US history. Before Areas USA, Francesco served as a Manager for Ernst & Young’s Assurance Advisory and Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services department where he assisted clients such as DuPont, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Del Monte Foods, PNC Bank and Miami Air.
Francesco holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Florida, a Master of Business Administration degree from Florida International University and is a Certified Public Accountant. During his leisure time, Francesco enjoys traveling with his wife, Betty and their two kids.