Emerging Entrepreneur: Paul Sannitti ‘13

Owner and Operator, BGR Burgers

Paul Sannitti ‘13

Paul Sannitti  graduated in 2013 from the Stillman School of Business with a management degree and a certificate in entrepreneurial studies. During high school and college, Paul worked at a local Friendly's Restaurant franchise, advancing from busboy to assistant store manager. After graduation, Sannitti knew exactly what he wanted to do: open his own franchise restaurant. Today, Sannitti is the owner and operator of two BGR Burgers Grilled Right restaurants. He opened his first outlet in December, 2016 in South Orange, N.J.  Two years later he launched a second BGR Burgers Grilled Right in Bloomfield, N.J. “I chose South Orange to start my business because of my connection to Seton Hall University,” Sannitti said. “I had a vision of creating a great burger spot that was connected to both Seton Hall and the local community.” Sannitti said he selected='TRUE' his second location to participate in Bloomfield's downtown community revitalization.  

Sannitti, who grew up in a family of entrepreneurs experienced in the food industry, said that his parents support and encouragement helped him to realize his dream and open a franchise restaurant when he was just 26 years old. “I opened the first BGR Burgers Grilled Right in New Jersey, and I was the youngest franchise owner and operator of all the BGR Burgers Grilled Right eateries at that time,” Sannitti said. The BGR Burgers Grilled Right franchisor is based in Washington, D.C. and the company has BGR branded restaurants in Washington, D.C. and several more throughout the United States.  Today, the South Orange outlet is one of the company's most successful in terms of sales.   

Sannitti plans to continue to expand sales at his current restaurants while opening additional BGR Burgers Grilled Right outlets in other locations. “My goal is to become a major franchise owner and eventually branch out to other businesses and ventures,” he said. 

Sannitti credits his Stillman education, especially his entrepreneurship courses, for helping to prepare him for his entrepreneurial journey. However, he notes that there is no substitute for on-the-job learning. “Everything that can go wrong will go wrong and more when you start a business,” he told the Stillman School Entrepreneurship Club students during a recent visit to campus. “You must learn how to quickly overcome everyday obstacles and focus on business growth and your vision and goals,” he added.