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Joseph Essa, President and CEO of the Thomas Keller Group and former NRA Chairman, has joined the Upserve board of directors.

Essa is a senior hospitality executive with decades of experience leading and building global restaurant operations. “Our industry is at an evolutionary crossroads right now, and we are being tested beyond what we could have ever imagined. But we are also seeing greater innovation than ever before. I’ve dedicated the majority of my career to the hospitality industry and I’m excited to deliver transformative solutions for restaurants with Upserve,” Essa said. “The restaurant industry needs innovative and insight-driven tools that work hard for them, now more than ever.”

Upserve connected with Essa because of his passion for the industry and his commitment to innovation and success. “Joe is an accomplished leader and long-time advocate for our industry who has worked closely with the best restaurant groups, chefs, and operators, and I’m honored to have him join us,” said Upserve CEO Sheryl D. Hoskins. “His knowledge of restaurant management operations will give Upserve deeper insights into the challenges and opportunities restaurateurs face. Having Joe on our team reinforces our mission to make restaurants wildly successful.”

New Upserve board member Joseph Essa
New Upserve board member Joseph Essa.

The restaurant industry is in Essa’s DNA: his first job was at his family’s fried chicken restaurant. After studying at Boston College to become a CPA, Essa built his career in the hospitality industry, including a decade running his own restaurants. As NRA chairman for the 2019 term, Essa advocated against exorbitant delivery commissions that cut into restaurant profits and helped guide the organization through rapid technological transitions in the hospitality industry.

“As someone who has run multiple successful restaurant groups, I know that data is key to making better decisions,” said Essa. “Upserve is the only POS and restaurant management platform that truly does it all while offering the real-time data restaurant operators need to make smarter decisions faster.”

Essa was previously CEO of Wolfgang Puck Worldwide Inc., where he oversaw 50 restaurants as well as consumer products and licensing. Prior to that, he served as Vice President of operations at TOSCORP, a fine-dining Italian restaurant group in New York City. Essa was selected as the outstanding leader in the independent restaurant category for 2020 by the Silver Plate competition of the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA).