Chief Lunatic & CO-Founder
“Rock On!” is how this co-founder and CEO of Luna Grill masterminds the company’s vision and goals. He oversees strategic operations and planning, develops and executes capital-raising strategies and manages investor relations.
Sean is a commercial real-estate developer who has built multiple retail-space leasing centers. He is a successful entrepreneur, lease-contract expert and skillful developer of strategic retail partnerships. An avid philanthropist, he supports several local charities and foundations, especially those that benefit youth in the community.
Maria Trakas Pourteymour
Co-Founder & Chief Cuisine Officer
As creator of the original Luna Grill restaurant in 2004, Maria oversees the implementation of the Luna Grill mission and purpose restaurant-wide: To inspire others to feel good by eating real food, crafted with care. Her responsibilities include culinary research and recipe development, and the establishment of ingredient quality standards and cooking processes to consistently achieve full-freshness and outstanding taste.
Maria worked in her own family’s restaurant for over a decade, where she learned that quality cuisine and the enjoyment of a tasty, nutritious meal in the company of family and good friends, is one of life’s precious delights. As a self-trained chef, her entrepreneurial dream is to develop her culinary concept of fresh, healthier food to it’s fullest potential.
A former Taco Bell executive, Pinnella came to Luna Grill in the summer of 2019 as Chief Brand Officer and has been instrumental in the implementation of processes and operational planning as the company continues forward on a strategic growth trajectory. Pinnella, along with other recent executive additions, have rounded out the C-suite team, giving the company extensive depth in multi-unit operations.
Company CEO and co-founder Sean Pourteymour has handed day to day operations over to Pinnella and will focus on long-term expansion moving forward. Pinnella will continue to direct the overall Luna Grill brand position and marketing efforts working with the team already in place, with modifications to team member roles and possible new additions coming in the future.
Before making the move to Luna Grill in 2019, Pinnella was an executive with Taco Bell for 20 years, serving the last seven as a Vice President and General Manager. During that tenure, he directed U.S. based and International functional heads to deliver results across marketing, beverage, culinary, operations, and supply chain, through an aggressive international expansion to over 500 restaurants.
Chief Operating Officer
Steve started his career with Yum! Brands, Taco Bell Corporation where he spent over 20 years holding equity, franchise, and corporate positions; including leading company-owned restaurants generating revenue upwards of $400M. His franchise experience culminated in leading a team of operations consultants who worked with 170 franchisees to drive operational excellence through strategy, leadership development, and implementation of brand initiatives. The collective portfolio consisting of 2,500 restaurants.
In 2018, Steve bought and re-branded a restaurant while simultaneously building his own consulting business, focusing on strategy and executive coaching for franchisees and privately held companies.
The passion for Steve's work is driven by serving the greater good through making a positive difference in the lives of others. In his free time, he can be found on the beach volleyball courts of Southern CA, spending time with family, and traveling.
Vice President of Culinary
Michelle Goncalves joined the Luna Grill team in April 2020 as Culinary Vice President. Coming most recently from Qdoba Mexican Eats where she served the past four years directing product marketing and culinary innovation, Michelle has held management positions in product development, culinary innovation, restaurant operations and product marketing at some of the world's best-known brands for more than 20 years.
Prior to her time at Qdoba, Michelle spent 17 years in various capacities with Taco Bell, a category leader in product innovation. Michelle's work is reflected in product innovations like the Crunchwrap Supreme and the Border Bowl line, both generating large global sales layers. She also served as director of growth channels, new product implementation and menu readiness. Her efforts became the framework for customer programs across YUM locations (Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC) both domestically and internationally.
Early QSR career work for Michelle also includes time with Jenny Craig, Carls Jr. and Jack in the Box, all in the product development sphere. She has a bachelors degree in foods and nutrition from California Polytechnic University, is an accredited Pastry Chef and earned the 2017 Harold Meyberg Award for excellence in the culinary arts.
Chief Financial Officer
Tony brings 20 years of diverse experience leading strategic and financial functions at founder led, private equity and fortune 500 companies. Most recently, he was involved in acquiring franchise units, refinancing $178 mm credit facility, and divesting Il Fornaio and Corner Bakery Cafe. Tony is passionate about driving efficiency at the corporate and unit levels to aid the company in achieving its goals.