Meet the five up-and-coming fast casual brands vying to win the 2020 Perfect Pitch during the virtual Fast Casual Executive Summit Oct. 20-21.
After sifting through nearly 50 nominations from fast casual brands around the world, FastCasual has selected entrepreneurs of five brands to pitch their brands to not only the attendees of this year’s virtual Fast Casual Executive Summit but also a panel of judges/advisers —including last year’s winner — Ryan Rogers, founder of Royals Hot Chicken.
Each “judge” will weigh in on the likelihood of the success of each concept and will offer advice.
“This is our ‘nicer’ version of ‘Shark Tank,’ so it’s all about helping small but innovative concepts get off the ground,” said Cherryh Cansler, editor of FastCasual.
After each restaurateur makes their 5-minute pitch at 10 a.m., Oct. 21, the 500-plus attendees (viewing online) will vote for their favorite concept. The winning brand will receive bragging rights, a $3,500 cash prize and free admission to the in-person Fast Casual Executive Summit in 2021.
The 2020 Perfect Pitchers include:
Hot Mamma’s Kitchen
Founded nearly three years ago in Mexico City, Mexico, Hot Mamma’s serves fried chicken Nashville style.
“We focus on sandwiches and all made in-house sides,” Owner Gina Rae Hendrix said. “My grandma’s mac and cheese recipe is used every day, I even have a dish named after her, ‘Cora Lee’s Mac n Cheese.'”
Although it made its debut in March amid the pandemic, Scratch Kitchen CEO Michael Joseph is determined to make a go of the restaurant based in Boulder.
“We are ultimately a food hall that makes our own brands, and everything has been optimized for take-out and delivery,” he said. “We launched our off-premise optimized concept at the beginning of COVID, and it’s been a wild ride. We’d love some support and recognition after launching during a tumultuous time, and we’ve been selling food that people love. We truly want to bring these great options to people all over the U.S.”
Memphis Seoul started as a mobile tent for New York City-area food festivals in April 2018, but opened a storefront last year in Brooklyn.
“We offer a thoroughly unique mashup of Southern cooking/soul food with Korean and Asian ingredients and accents,” said Bart Hubuch, founder and chef.
Serving customers in Indianapolis, Columbus, Kansas City and Denver, ClusterTruck is barely five years old and is looking to scale across the country.
“We are the world’s first vertically integrated, delivery-only concept,” CEO and co-founder Chris Baggot said. “We manage everything from the customer interaction, programmatic cooking and delivery.”
Biscuit Bellyis a chef-driven, fast casual breakfast spot inspired by founder Chad Coulter’s childhood. He grew up eating at mom-and-pop restaurants in his home state of Georgia.
“We serve breakfast and brunch seven days a week, and our menu features a hearty selection of huge scratch-made biscuit sandwiches and another southern breakfast fare — with a twist,” Coulter said.
The advisers/judges include:
- Jim Balis | managing director, Strategic Operations Group | CapitalSpring.
- Jason Moles | director of Marketing | Henny Penny.
- Ryan Rogers | founder and president | Eternal Optimist Hospitality.
The Perfect Pitch session is sponsored by Henny Penny.
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 ATMmarketplace.com, DigitalSignageToday.com, FastCasual.com, KioskMarketplace.com, MobilePaymentsToday.com, FoodTruckOperator.com, QSRweb.com, PizzaMarketplace.com, RetailCustomerExperience.com, VendingTimes.com and BiblicalLeadership.com. Annual events include the Fast Casual Executive Summit, the Restaurant Franchising & Innovation Summit, the Bank Customer Experience Summit (BCX), and the Interactive Customer Experience Summit (ICX).