A MAN who was expelled from school at 17 for breaking the rules and enraging teachers is now a millionaire.

Despite his rebellious school years, David Paige, from London, now owns the top UK’s best-known restaurant chains.

David Paige is the CEO of Fulham SHore

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David Paige is the CEO of Fulham SHoreCredit: Rex
He used to wash dishes at his local Pizza Express

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He used to wash dishes at his local Pizza ExpressCredit: Getty

David was kicked out from his all-boys secondary school in 1969 for bunking classes and smoking cigarettes.

Now, Mr Paige is the CEO of Fulham Shore, one of the biggest restaurateur firm groups in the UK.

The multi-million company owns famous restaurant chains Franco Manca and The Real Greek – with dozens of branches around the country.

But before becoming the king of pizza, David took more than 20 jobs including as a cartographer, trainee teacher, gardener.

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The successful chairman found his passion for the restaurant industry while washing dishes at his local Pizza Express in South London in 1965.

Almost two decades later, he saw his opportunity to become Pizza Express branch manager and he ditched his studies to buy a franchise in Chiswick.

He explained: “If you fancied learning how to become a capitalist you became a franchisee.

“I didn’t know what a capitalist was – my parents were socialists, so capitalism was a very dirty word.”

When he visited a bank to ask for a loan, the businessman was almost rejected for wearing slippers.

David said: “I wasn’t wearing any socks either. He couldn’t quite believe it, but he still lent me the money.”

The businessman went on to expand the brand by opening more Pizza Express franchises in he 1980s – when the restaurant was still “pioneering”.

From then, his success was unstoppable and he became the chief executive opening 300 more eateries in the UK and abroad.

After leaving the top pizza chain, he founded several more restaurants and forked on millions in revenue.

It was until 2009 that the intelligent investor bought Franco Manca, which was then just a small artisan pizza establishment.

His newly-created investment group Fulham Shore bought most of the stake for a whopping £27.5m.

Business is now going well for the school dropout as the firm continues to expand.

London-based hospitality Fulham Shore reported eye-watering revenues of £83.7 million in March 2022 – while profits more than doubled to £19.5 million last year.

Page explained: “There’s a trend towards vegan and vegetarian eating — if it’s done well it’s really popular.

“Our new halloumi pizza sold three times as much as planned.

“Through Covid we’ve managed to change from having debts of £15 million to having £5 million in the bank.”

David said he personally designs each of the 40 Franco Manca restaurants to make sure customers feel like home.

But the CEO admits he passed up on golden opportunities to invest in world-known companies like Krispy Kreme, Caffe Nero and £1.824 billion delivery business Deliveroo.

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It comes as another man who dropped out of school with no qualifications is now a multi-millionaire.

Despite a turbulent academic career, Steve Parkin, from Leeds, now ranks tenth on the list of richest people in Yorkshire.

David now owns pizza restaurant Franco Manca

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David now owns pizza restaurant Franco MancaCredit: Getty





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