Puccini Group announced the passing of its founder, Bob Puccini, on October 9, 2018. A leading figure in the hospitality and design industries, Puccini was also an entrepreneur, mentor, husband and father. Since founding Puccini Group over 20 years ago, Puccini has been responsible for the concept, design and renovation of over 1,000 restaurants worldwide.
Niki Leondakis, Puccini’s wife, comments: “Bob approached restaurants with a deep understanding of how people want to feel. While food, design, and service were all critical, he would absorb, in a way that no one else could, the desires of a population and translate them into dining experiences that would fulfil people’s dreams of being comforted, loved, important, and awed.”
Managing projects across conceptual, design, branding, marketing, and operations, he spent the last few years handing the reigns to Shelia Turner, Partner and Chief Operating Officer; Rob Polacek, Partner and Chief Creative Officer; and Simeon Meyer, Partner and Chief Financial Officer.
In a joint statement, the partners add: “We have been blessed to have worked with Bob for many years. We share his vision for the business, and plan to do him justice by running things, as he would have done. Bob was well loved and is fondly remembered by our team as well as by our clients. It is due to his entrepreneurial spirit, unconventional approach, deep generosity, and love of mentoring others that Puccini Group is where it is today – a global leader in the hospitality industry. We will miss him dearly and are honoured to build on his legacy.”
Puccini served on the Board of Directors of the California Restaurant Association and the Board of Advisors at University of San Francisco’s Hospitality Management program, and was a member of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants, the Foodservice Consultants Society International, as well as the World Travel and Tourism Council.
Graduating from San Diego State University with a B.A. in Political Science and Economics, and having served in the Peace Corps in Brazil, his accolades include being named the Anti-Defamation League’s Food and Wine Industry Person of the Year.
The firm will retain its Puccini Group name and will move forward with its current team to continue his passion for hospitality experiences.