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George Naddaff of Boston Chicken fame has resigned as UFood chief executive

UFood Restaurant Group Inc., a Boston-based franchise company that operates casual restaurants under the UFood Grill nameplate, said Wednesday that George Naddaff, a restaurant entrepreneur perhaps best known for helping to develop the Boston Chicken chain many years ago, has resigned as UFood’s chairman and chief executive.

The company’s board of directors announced that it has elected Richard Golden, who has served on UFood’s board of directors for the past three years, as the company’s new chairman and chief executive, UFood said in a press release.

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UFood chief operating officer Charlie Cocotas has also made the decision to retire, the company added.

UFood seeks to combine the quickness of fast-food restaurants with a menu that according to the company’s website, offers “healthy comfort food.” The company mantra: “Feel great. Eat Smart.” The UFood concept seems well suited to airports, and there are two UFood restaurants at Logan International Airport, according to the company’s website.

In a statement, Golden said: “George has been an outstanding visionary and dedicated chief executive officer over the past eight years, and I congratulate him for founding such an innovative fast-casual restaurant concept as UFood Grill. America needs more ‘healthy’ food choices, and George delivered it. Now, however, the board respects that as a world class entrepreneur and franchise veteran, George is ready to pursue other ventures at this stage.”

Both Naddaff and Cocotas will continue to provide consultation expertise to UFood, the company said.

Naddaff has a long history in franchising. In the 1980s and early 1990s, the Boston Chicken chain was something of a restaurant phenomenon. (The company later changed its name to Boston Market after its menu was expanded to include more items besides chicken.)

Boston Chicken wasn’t Naddaff’s only venture. According to the biography posted on UFood’s website, Naddaff either founded or was significantly involved with such companies as Mulberry Child Care Centers; Sylvan Learning Centers, a chain of after-school learning facilities; and Ranch*1, a New York-based chain of grilled chicken sandwich restaurants.

Chris Reidy can be reached at reidy@globe.com.
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