Famous Famiglia: Building a successful global brand

Famous Famiglia has become the international global brand that at its core is driven by excellence, service and values. Its co-founder Giorgio Kolaj in an interview with NY Elite talks about principles of success: (1) Focused on executing with excellence; (2) Good communications skills; (3) Passionate about where they invest their time; (4) Influence others; and (5) Empower those around you. 

1Giorgio Kolaj established his reputation as a successful entrepreneur, Co-founder and the Executive Vice President of Famous Famiglia, the leading global brand in US, Europe and Africa. Prior to re-joining the family business in 2004, Giorgio enjoyed a successful career in the high-tech industry, where he worked at IBM Global Services and later helped launch a successful security software company.

“Born to fleeing Kosovar Albanian parents, I was born in Atina (Roma), Italy in 1969, the youngest of five children. Six weeks later, my father passed away. Six months after this tragedy, my mother arrived with us to the United States. This was the humble beginning our journey toward the American Dream.

Coming to America - Rome 1970
The Kolaj Family, coming to America – Rome 1970

Though the early years were a struggle, our mother always had a way of turning the hardships into opportunities of instilling in us core values through the lessons of life. Through chores and responsibilities, we learned the value of discipline, teamwork, and commitment. We began working early on in our youth, and through the years gained much experience in the pizza industry in New York City. And, by the summer of 1986, we opened our own pizzeria, Famous Famiglia, in the heart of New York City! 

Today, Famous Famiglia operates more than 100 company owned and franchised locations across a diverse mix of venues which include leading airports and transportation hubs, malls and shopping centers, colleges and universities, theme parks, hotels and casinos, stadiums and arenas, military bases, medical centers, motorways, and in-line urban downtown locations. The Famous Famiglia brand currently operates in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, the United Arab Emirates, Ecuador, Ghana and Kosova.

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend university in the U.S.  I studied electrical engineering and computer science.  I worked for 12 years in the high-tech sector, including global positions with IBM, as well as a software startup, which was acquired by publicly-traded giant, Computer Associates.

My passions include traveling, reading, drawing, flying airplanes, volunteering, and spending time with my daughter. I am humbled to serve on several non-profit boards, including D.A.R.E. America.” – Giorgio Kolaj 

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