| Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer |
Ignacio launched his career as an Audit Manager at the “Big Four” firm Deloitte & Touche, where he helped make a positive impact for clients such as Direct TV, Perry Ellis, Florida Power & Light, Elizabeth Arden, Baptist Health System and the Miami Dolphins. After leaving Deloitte & Touche, he worked at MasterCard as the Director of Accounting for the Latin America Region.
Upon making the leap into the hospitality industry, Ignacio worked at Shula’s Steak Houses for five years as Vice President of Finance and was instrumental to the company’s sustained financial success. From 2011 to 2014, he joined 50 Eggs Restaurant Group as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, where he managed all business functions of the 400-employee company, including negotiating and closing the $24-million sale of its Lime Fresh Mexican Grill division to Ruby Tuesday. He also negotiated development deals with the Sands Corp and assisted in the development and operation of James Beard Award semi-finalists Yardbird Southern Table & Bar and Khong River House, among others.
In 2014, he joined Grove Bay Hospitality Group as Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer. In just a few years, Grove Bay Hospitality Group has experienced tremendous growth and success while receiving numerous awards along the way. In 2018, Restaurant Hospitality Magazine named Grove Bay Hospitality Group as one of the Top 25 Innovative Multi-concept Restaurant Groups in the United States, it was listed by Entrepreneur Magazine at #250 for the Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America and was awarded the 2018 Business of the Year by the South Florida Business Journal.
In addition, Ignacio has been recognized in the community by the South Florida Business Journal Magazine as one of its “Top Movers and Shakers” and in 2018, he was recognized by Ernst & Young as an Entrepreneur of the Year Florida Awards finalist. This award recognizes entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellent and extraordinary success in areas such as financial performance, innovation and commitment to their businesses and communities. A true reflection of a career both diverse and successful at every milestone.
Ignacio holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Florida, a Master of Accounting from Florida International University, and a Certificate of Foodservice Management from Cornell University. He also serves as Board Member – Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association.
| Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer |
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.
| Chief Operating Officer |
Eddie joined Grove Bay Hospitality Group as Chief Operating Officer in 2016. A veteran of the hospitality industry, he began his career in his hometown of Rincon, Puerto Rico at the renowned boutique hotel the Horned Dorset Primavera. Throughout his eleven year tenure, he apprenticed in all facets of upscale European hotel and restaurant operations.
Upon completing his University studies, he moved to New York City to serve as Director of Sales and Marketing for the resort and later served as a Sales Consultant to Relais & Chateau North America.
The emergence of a new craft beer and cocktail scene in New York City provided Eddie with the ideal platform to further his operational prowess, serving as an Independent Beverage Consultant to the city’s top restaurants, bars and nightclubs and later serving as Multi-Unit Operations Manager for the critically acclaimed restaurants Kuma Inn and Umi Nom.
In 2001, he relocated to Florida, first to work with James Beard Award-winning Norman Van Aken at his flagship restaurant located at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Lakes in Orlando and later to Miami where he joined 50 Eggs to lead in the creation of its fine dining operations.
During his tenure as Chief Operating Officer at 50 eggs, the company evolved into an award winning and nationally acclaimed multi-brand restaurant group, earning James Beard nominations for Yardbird Southern Table and Bar as well as Khong River House and named one of the “50 Coolest Restaurant Companies in the Land” by Restaurant Hospitality Magazine. Other concepts developed during his term were Swine Southern Table and Bar, and most recently, the quick service restaurant Spring Chicken.
Eddie attended the University of Puerto Rico where he majored in Accounting & Marketing. He is also a First Level Cicerone, an avid craft beer aficionado, and has served as a Board Member for the Miami Chapter of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.