Six finalists will be chosen to pitch their restaurant concepts in front of an audience and a panel of experts during the 2019 Fast Casual Executive Summit on Oct. 15 in Austin, Texas. Brands must nominate themselves by June 14.

To celebrate its fifth anniversary of “The Perfect Pitch,” the  Fast Casual Executive Summit is doubling the number of brands that will pitch their concepts to potential investors and franchisees during the annual Summit, Oct. 13-15, in Austin.

“This year’s winner will take home a $5,000 cash prize,” said FastCasual Editor Cherryh Cansler, who describes the contest as a friendlier version of “Shark Tank,” for entrepreneurs looking for a leg up with growing their brands. “Over the years, we’ve seen several really great concepts and are honored to provide a vehicle to help them succeed.”

For a chance to be one of six finalists chosen to pitch their concepts, brands must nominate themselves here by June 14 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 July 15, FastCasual will notify the six finalists, who will receive free advice from industry experts and two free passes to attend this year’s Summit.

After each brand gives a five-minute pitch on Oct.15, 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, $5,000 in cash and two complimentary passes to any Networld Media Group summit in 2020. FastCasual will also publish a story about the winning concept along with several mentions on its social media sites.

“It’s important to us as publishers to help the people from the industries we cover to connect with one another,” said Kathy Doyle, publisher of Networld Media Group, the parent company of FastCasual. “We strongly believe that those attending the Perfect Pitch will have the first chance to see and even invest in tomorrow’s fast casual leaders.”

Last year’s winner was GoPoke, a Seattle-based fast casual serving authentic Hawaiian poke and desserts. It also serves shaved ice, Dole Whip and tropical homemade drinks.

For GoPoke co-founder Bayley Le, who started the brand just about two years ago with two brothers, the victory was “exciting,” and attendance at the event proved invaluable.

“We’re learning,” he said of the Summit event. His advice for new brands is to “stand for something and believe it in.”

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) global 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,,,,,,,,, and 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. BOOM! Creative, provides clients with digital creative, custom media and brand collateral. Its newest offering, World of Money, is a daily e-newsletter that provides a fun and informative look at the trends, technologies, and ideas shaping the future of money and payments.

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