Following a global contest, five concepts will compete in The Perfect Pitch at the annual Fast Casual Executive Summit. Here’s a sneak peek of the presenters.

Following a global contest, five concepts have been selected to compete in this year’s The Perfect Pitch, our annual contest during the Fast Casual Executive Summit, being held Oct. 9-11 in Indianapolis, that introduces attendees, vendors and possible investors to several up-and-coming fast casual brands.

We call it a “nicer” version of “Shark Tank,” which means it’s all about helping small but innovative concepts get off the ground. The audience members will vote on their favorite pitch, and the winner will receive bragging rights (of course), a $3,500 prize and six months of free service with Ovation, an actionable guest feedback platform.

The 2022 finalists are below:

Bango Bowls
Location:New York
Founded: January 2018
Number of locations: 5
Average Unit Volume: $1 million
Style of food: acai bowls, salads, warm grain bowls, poke, avocado toasts, flatbreads and smoothies.
Who is pitching: RyanThorman, CEO

Flake Pie Co.
Location:Salt Lake City
Founded: November 2020
Number of locations: 2
Average Unit Volume: $907,000
Style of food: Personal size, gourmet pies, hand pies and savory pies typically sold in boxes of three. All pies and crusts are scratch-made.
Who is pitching: Rick Timmons, co-founder

Hot Chikn Kitchn
Location: Woodbridge and Stafford, Virginia
Founded: November 2020
Number of locations: 2
Average Unit Volume: $1.5 million
Style of food: Nashville Style Hot Chicken
Who is pitching: Todd Kirby, franchise development partner, and Dave Wood, chief strategic officer

Lazy Susan
Location:San Francisco and Palo Alto
Founded: February 2021
Number of locations: 2
Average Unit Volume: $1 million
Style of food: Chinese American cuisine, including General Tso’s Chicken, chow mein and wonton soup.
Who is pitching: Hanson Li, co-founder and CEO

Paradise Smoothie Juice Bar
Founded: August 2018
Number of locations: 4
Average Unit Volume: $160,000
Style of food: “We provide plant-based beverages consisting of smoothies, juices, shakes, and wellness shots. Each drink we offer is blended which provides fiber, hydration, and replenishment of minerals, vitamins, proteins and micro-nutrients. We use agave nectar as a sweetener. We offer seeds, nuts, herbs, supplements in addition to whole fruits, and vegetables to make delicious meal replacement drinks.
Who is pitching: Ron Bolden, COO, and Bill Johnson, CEO

The contest advisers, who will grill presenters and offer advice, are:

  • Jim Balis, managing director of strategic operations group, CapitalSpring
  • Zack Oates, founder and CEO, Ovation
  • Max Sheets, founder and CEO, Chick N Max (2021 winner of the Perfect Pitch)

Register here for the Fast Casual Executive Summit. Early bird registration ends Sept. 9.

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.

Read the full story.