In hopes of discovering up-and-coming fast casual brands, Fast Casual is hosting its seventh annual Perfect Pitch contest Oct. 4 and is accepting nominations until June 31, said Fast Casual Editor Cherryh Cansler.”

The online magazine will choose five brands to pitch their concepts to potential investors and franchisees during the Fast Casual Executive Summit, Oct. 3-5 in Charlotte.

“We’re also giving a $3,500 cash prize to the winning brand,” said Cansler, who describes the contest as a friendlier version of “Shark Tank.”

For a chance to be one of the five finalists chosen to pitch their concepts, brands must nominate themselves here by June 30 and must meet the following three guidelines:

  • Have at least one store open but no more than 10.
  • Must be no less than 6 months old and no more than 5 years old.
  • Share revenue and average sales data.

By Aug. 15 Fast Casual will notify the five finalists, who will receive two free passes to attend this year’s summit. They must cover their own costs for travel and accommodations.

After each brand gives a 5-minute pitch on Oct.18, attendees and judges will vote on the concept they believe is most likely to succeed in its expansion plans. The winner will receive bragging rights, the cash prize and complimentary hotel and registration for one at a summit in 2022.

Fast Casual will also publish a story about the winning concept along with several mentions on its social media sites.

Last year’s winner was Louisville-based Biscuit BellyRoyals Hot Chicken was the 2019 winner, and the 2018 winner was GoPoke, a Seattle-based fast casual serving authentic Hawaiian poke and desserts. Street Shak Caribbean Kitchen of Toronto won in 2017; Los Angeles-based Rockfire Grill won in 2016, and the 2015 winner was Pincho, based in Miami.

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 tech, banking, retail and food service industries. Online properties include,,,,,,,, and Annual events include the Fast Casual Executive Summit, the Restaurant Franchising & Innovation Summit, the Bank Customer Experience Summit (BCX), the Interactive Customer Experience Summit (ICX) and the Self-Service Innovation Summit.

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