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The Perfect Pitch Competition

Are you looking to expand your new(ish) fast casual concept? If so, we want to hear all about it at this year’s Fast Casual Executive Summit.

We are now accepting entries for our fourth annual competition, The Perfect Pitch — what we like to describe as a friendlier version of “Shark Tank.” It’s aimed at owners of new fast casual concepts looking to pitch their brands to a room of potential investors and franchisees at the summit.

To enter restaurant concepts must meet 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.
  • And must share revenue and average sales data.

Entries are being accepted through Friday, June 8.

Three finalists will be selected by July 25 to make their five-minute pitch on Oct. 9 at the summit. At the conclusion of the session, attendees will vote on the concept they believe is most likely to succeed in its expansion plans.

What do I win?

All finalists will receive free advice from industry experts and two complementary passes to attend this year’s summit, but must cover their own travel and accommodations. The winner will receive bragging rights and hotel and registration for FCES 2019 for one.

Nominate your brand for this year’s Perfect Pitch!


Capitol Melts
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. With an all-electric kitchen, a Capitol Melts cafe can be sited without concern for hoods and Ansul systems

Robert Haggerty | Founder | Capitol Melts

Robert Haggerty is the founder of Capitol Melts….Grilled Cheese Café in Albany, NY. He started Capitol Melts in 2014 after a 40-year career in government and politics. With no formal training in the culinary arts, Mr. Haggerty considers himself a food entrepreneur. He turned his passion for food, developed at a young age from working with his father at the local Grand Union supermarket, into the most-unique gourmet grilled cheese concept in America today. Family and friends would always say…”You Should Open a Restaurant”. It took a few years, but Capitol Melts is now a reality and ready to grow.

I Love Bacon
Headquartered: Huntsville, Alabama
Owners: Keith Hill and Josh Patrick
Open since: 2014
Number of locations: 2 trucks, 1 brick-and-mortar unit
Cuisine: Bacon-inspired sandwiches each named after various famous artists

The bacon-centric menu features sandwiches named after pop, rock and rap stars and songs, including the Carlos Santana (a brioche bun with flank steak, bacon, ham, Swiss and sunny-side-up egg), the Joey Ramone (inside-out grilled cheese with sourdough, cheddar, Swiss, double bacon and caramelized onions), the Miami Sound Machine (a pressed Cuban sandwich with pork belly, ham and Swiss cheese on Cuban bread), the Carrie Underwood (a spinach tortilla wrap with grilled chicken, bacon, lettuce and tomato), as well as the Public Enemy Mac & Cheese (penne pasta with jalapenos, bacon and queso).

Keith Hill | Co-Founder | I Love Bacon

Keith Hill’s first job 22 years ago, was in fast casual dining as a teenager. As he came of age, he soon moved into the challenging bar and nightclub business. He cut his teeth there, opening and helping build several very successful companies. I Love Bacon Food Truck burst onto the scene in the 1st quarter of 2014 and immediately gained notoriety with 4 “Best Food Truck In The City” awards from different organizations. ILB is currently moving into the brick & mortar business as well as adding more trucks to the fleet.

Street Shak Caribbean Kitchen
Headquartered: Toronto, Canada
Owner: Tony Bradshaw
Open since: 2016
Number of locations: 1
Cuisine: Caribbean

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.”

Tony Bradshaw | Owner | Street Shak Caribbean Kitchen

Tony Bradshaw is the hands-on owner of Street Shak Caribbean Kitchen in Toronto Canada. With over twenty years of experience leading destination style restaurants with over $5 million in annual sales, Tony has been consistently commended for his leadership skills, industry knowledge, dynamic people strategies and a relentless focus on guest service. Born on the island of Barbados, Tony developed his craft in hospitality after moving to Canada in the late 90’s. Tony’s dream of owning his own restaurant continued to grow, despite many successes in corporate restaurants. Street Shak opened its doors April 2016 and celebrates Caribbean cuisine in a modern, accessible and appealing environment.

Karen Richards | CMO | Street Shak Caribbean Kitchen

Speaker bio coming soon!


Steve DeSutter | CEO | FOCUS Brands

Steve DeSutter is the FOCUS Brands Chief Executive Officer. Joining FOCUS Brands in March of 2014, he has a wide breadth of leadership experience in retail, food service and multi-unit operations as a public company executive. Prior to joining FOCUS Brands, Mr. DeSutter served for six years as President and CEO of Stripes LLC and Executive Vice President of Susser Holdings, the parent company at the time, a Fortune 500 company. He also served as Executive Vice President of Burger King Corp in the capacity of President for Europe, Middle East and Asia.

Anand Gala | Founder & CEO | Gala Holdings International

Anand is the founder, president and CEO of Gala Holdings International, a diversified holding company with operations in consulting, restaurant development and management, and real estate development and investment. He has spent the past 30 years in various executive capacities within the Restaurant Industry. The Restaurant Division focuses on the development and management of nationally recognized chain restaurants, both franchised and proprietary, throughout the western United States. Current portfolio brands under ownership and operation include Fresh Griller and Famous Dave’s BBQ locations. Prior brands have included: Del Taco, Applebee’s, Jack in the Box and Seattle’s Best Coffee.

Neil Syal | Co-owner | Rockfire Grill

Neil, along with his Father Raj Syal Co-Founded Rockfire Grill in 2014. Using their different experiences in different genres of food, from different parts of the world they were able to create a unique concept. Growing up in Southern California, he was able to combine the great flavors of the local burger chains and incorporate it with his father’s 30 years of culinary expertise. Neil is involved in the development, operations and growth of the business and is an active CPA in the State of California.


Daniel Iannucci | Mid Market Account Executive | Toast

Daniel Iannucci is an account executive on the enterprise/mid market sales team at Toast, a restaurant technology platform that enables customers to simplify and streamline all elements of their operation and deliver a better guest experience. Dan is a Boston University School of Hospitality Administration graduate. He has previously worked at Micros and iRiS Software Systems where he worked on both Hotel and Restaurant technology.

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