PRESIDENT - WOLFGANG PUCK WORLDWIDE, INC.; MANAGING PARTNER, FINANCE & OPERATIONS - WOLFGANG PUCK FINE DINING GROUP
Joe Essa holds two positions within the Wolfgang Puck Companies; President, Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc. and Managing Partner, Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group.
Since joining the group in February 1999, Essa has worked to implement consistent and efficient operational systems and controls that have improved sales, quality standards and profitability.
As a managing partner in the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, one of the preeminent restaurant groups in the country, Essa assists with finance and operations for the 15 fine dining restaurants coast to coast. He works with his partners to ensure that the Wolfgang Puck fine dining restaurants continue to lead the industry in product quality, exceptional service and highly effective operational systems.
In 2003, Essa was appointed to hold a second position with the company, joining Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc. as Executive Vice President. Responsible for the day-to-day business operations and brand development, he has streamlined the company's business lines and initiated strategic partnerships to help further the Wolfgang Puck brand for casual restaurants and consumer products including packaged foods, media, cookware and appliances. Essa was appointed President of Wolfgang Puck Worldwide in August of 2008.
Essa was key in assisting Wolfgang with the creation of a first-of-its kind, historic humane farm animal treatment program in partnership with The Humane Society of the United States, aimed at curbing may of the worst cruelties associated with factory farming. Complementing Wolfgang's WELL culinary philosophy (Wolfgang's Eat Love Live), this is the most comprehensive program ever initiated by any U.S. corporate organization.
Prior to joining the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, Essa worked with restaurateur Pino Luongo in New York City, as Vice President of Operations at TOSCORP, Inc., which includes the restaurant concepts Coco Pazzo, Le Madri and Tuscan Square. He also founded and operated two successful restaurants, Assaggio in West Hartford, Conn. and Caféé Pasta in Greensboro, N.C.
Essa graduated cum laude from Boston College with a bachelor of science in accounting and finance. He is a Certified Public Accountant and is accredited by the National Restaurant Association.
His community involvement includes personal work with charitable organizations such as SafeNest, with his wife, Laura, and Opportunity Village. In conjunction with the restaurants, Essa is involved in charitable events benefiting Meals on Wheels of Los Angeles, Alzheimer's research, Nevada Cancer Institute, Nevada Public Education Foundation and March of Dimes, among others.
In his spare time, Essa enjoys playing the saxophone, cooking and spending time with his wife and their three daughters, Mary, Katharine and Margaret.