Brazilian, Caribbean and American cuisine will take center stage Oct. 24, in Nashville, when owners of three up-and-coming brands compete in FastCasual’s Perfect Pitch competition.
Taking place during the Fast Casual Executive Summit, this year’s contest will allow the owners of Brazilian Bowl out of Lakeview, Illinois; Toronto’s Street Shak Caribbean Kitchen and Capitol Melts, based in Albany, New York, to deliver a five-minute pitch about their concepts to attendees and a panel of advisers. Attendees will then vote on their favorite brand, awarding the winner with not only bragging rights but free entry to next year’s Fast Casual Executive Summit.
Along with about 30 other emerging brands, the owners nominated themselves a few months ago for the opportunity, and editors of Networld Media Group whittled them down to three.
“We were looking for innovative concepts that had at least one location open but not more than five,” said Cherryh Cansler, NMG’s director of editorial. “The work and passion that went into the creation of these brands were obvious to us, and we can’t wait to meet the people behind them.”
Last year’s winner of the Perfect Pitch was Rockfire Grill, a five-unit family-run concept based in California. Co-owner Neil Syal will serve on the advisory panel for this year’s competition along with Anand Gala, president and CEO of the Gala Corporation, and one other person, who will be announced soon. The panel will advise each concept on operations management and on growth plans.
Info about each 2017 finalist is below.
Headquartered: Lakeview, Illinois
Owners: Tony Ferreira and Lawrence Tobia
Open since: 2012
Number of locations: 2
Cuisine: Fast casual Brazilian food
“Our concept is similar to Chipotle but just a little better and more interesting,” Ferreira said when nominating the brand. “We serve not just Bowls but also national dishes from Brazil, globally inspired sandwiches, salads, empanadas, exotic smoothies, natural juices and desserts.”
Street Shak Caribbean Kitchen
Headquartered: Toronto, Canada
Owner: Tony Bradshaw
Open since: 2016
Number of locations: 1
The inspiration for Street Shak Caribbean Kitchen came from the food Bradshaw enjoyed while growing up in Barbados, according to the Shak’s nomination info. It’s his way of bringing guests to Barbados and having them experience some of the local dishes featured at street food shacks on the island.
“These dishes along with other Caribbean favorites have been elevated through modern techniques that Tony gained from 20 years in the restaurant business.”
Headquartered: Albany, New York
Owner: Robert Haggerty
Open since: 2014
Number of locations: 1
Cuisine: American comfort food
Using freshly grated cheese mixed with the finest ingredients, Capitol Melts provides its customers with an updated version of grilled cheese sandwiches using cheese from New York, New England and Wisconsin to make its one-of-a-kind cheese blends, Haggerty said in his nomination form. Other menu items include creamy tomato soup, macaroni & cheese, baked tater-tots, salads and a variety of non-alcoholic beverages.
Register here to attend the Fast Casual Executive Summit, Oct. 22-24 in Nashville. Early Bird registration is open through September 22.
About Networld Media Group
Founded in 2000, Networld Media Group is a leading business-to-business (B2B) media communications company specializing in digital media, associations and events in the mobile, self-service, digital signage, retail, food service and financial services industries. Online properties include ATMmarketplace.com, BlockchainTechNews.com, DigitalSignageToday.com, FastCasual.com, FoodTruckOperator.com, KioskMarketplace.com, MobilePaymentsToday.com, PizzaMarketplace.com,QSRweb.com, RetailCustomerExperience.com and ChurchCentral.com. Networld event properties include the Fast Casual Executive Summit, CONNECT: The Mobile CX Summit, Interactive Customer Experience Summit, Bank Customer Experience Summit and the Restaurant Franchising & Innovation Summit. Networld also operates the ICX Association. Its newest offering, Networld Press, provides clients with an all-in-one website solution featuring custom website design and ongoing editorial, content strategy and website updates.