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General Manager Patrick

Patrick Geary is a grassroots restaurateur, whose decades of experience in the hospitality game makes him an expert on the guest experience. He's had a hand in managing everything from sports bars, to comedy clubs, concert halls, casino restaurants, and more! 

Patrick's diverse experience and level headed approach to management makes him the ideal candidate for overseeing DiCicco's Restaurant & Pizzeria, a cherished family heirloom which brings the taste of homestyle Italian cooking to North County San Diego. As general manager, Patrick is tasked with maintaining DiCicco's time honored commitment to amazing service while streamlining day-to-day operations. 

For Patrick, branding is the name of the game. DiCicco's is recognized as a pillar of community life, bringing families together to share in a unique culinary experience which showcases the flavors of the Old Country. Patrick maintains DiCicco's local status through rigorous quality control, while encouraging word-of-mouth marketing through next level guest experiences. He works closely with Chef Alan to develop seasonal specialties, and never passes up an opportunity to impart important lessons on his staff.

What makes Patrick's approach to management truly special is his emphasis on inclusivity. Community outreach is always a priority, and Patrick goes to great lengths to foster good faith with guests and neighbors alike. Just as valuable as outwardly championing inclusivity, is his democratic approach to leadership. Patrick utilizes round table meetings so that all his employees have the opportunity to voice their opinions, and contribute to DiCicco's vision of success. By allowing the whole team to contribute, morale sky rockets, leading to improved service and reduced turnover.

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Phil Berg spent nearly his entire career in the hospitality industry working at chain restaurants. He's worked at Denny's and Coco's, and has managed restaurants for the Applebee's and BJ's franchises. Most impressively Phil gracefully handled the chaotic roller coaster of simultaneously managing five Universal Studios restaurants at once.

Despite working for so many different organizations, Phil found himself being continuously placed into the same box. Time and time again he was instructed to follow the franchises' formulas for success, formulas that provided little room for creativity and independent thinking. Sandra DiCicco gave Phil the opportunity to break out of that box.

In 2020 Phil Berg joined the Grand Restaurant Group at the invitation of CEO Sandra DiCicco.
Phil was given control of a fledgling Italian restaurant. Though it was adored locally, Rancho Santa Fe's Nick & G's struggled to make its presence felt amongst North County's competitive culinary scene. Under Berg's leadership, Nick & G's grew from a local hotspot to a destination location, revered for its bold take on Italian classics. Through aggressive experimentation, bold redesign, and a commitment to inclusivity, Phil Berg nearly doubled Nick & G's revenue, bringing it from $95,000 in January 2020 to $187,000 in January 2021.

Phil Berg doesn't consider himself to be a great restaurateur. In his eyes, he's mediocre at best (a deceptively modest assessment when you consider Nick & G's fast paced revenue growth). But what Phil lacks in technical knowledge, he makes up for in leadership skills. During his time as the general manager at Nick & G's, Phil has cultivated a culture that values experimentation, sufficiency, and togetherness above all else.

To build revenue Phil needed to first build a team capable of realizing Nick & G's full potential. He set about recruiting employees who he felt shared his vision of what Nick & G's could be. Phil recognized that he didn't need to be the smartest manager in the county, so long as he had a capable and motivated staff to lean on. Above all else, Phil valued candidates who he felt demonstrated creative insights and independent thinking. He was looking for teammates, not robots. After spending decades in a box swarming with corporate drones, he sought to build a culinary coalition of self-starters, also eager to break free from formulas.

Once he had his team, Phil designed a new process predicated on tight-knit feedback loops, which valued customer feedback above all else. By leveraging customer insights to radically improve operations, Phil Berg was able to foster a powerful sense of community among Nick & G's patrons. This loyalty led to an uptick in word of mouth advertising, which spread like wildfire.

Today Phil jokingly refers to Nick & G's as the worst kept secret in San Diego. Sales during the height of the pandemic were nearly double what they had been the previous January, and the average check has increased twenty dollars per person.