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The Perfect Pitch

Following a global contest, six concepts have been selected to be part of The Perfect Pitch. Listen and learn as entrepreneurs pitch their fast casual concepts. The pitchers will address not only the Summit’s attendees but also a panel of advisers who will give them advice about how to grow their concepts.

It’s our “nicer” version of “Shark Tank,” which means it’s all about helping small but innovative concepts get off the ground. The audience and judges will vote on their favorite pitch, and the winner will receive bragging rights (of course) and a $5,000 prize!



Due’ Cucina Italiana
Opened: 3 years ago in Seattle, Washington
Number of units: 1
Cuisine type: Authentic Italian
A few words about the brand
“We are innovators in the space because we serve authentic regional Italian pasta dishes and other recipes made fresh from scratch every day, using only the highest quality ingredients, largely locally sourced, meeting or exceeding the quality provided by the best fine dining Italian restaurants in Seattle but for just a fraction of the price,” CEO Davide Macchi said. “Currently we are serving 10 pasta sauces, which can be combined with 8 different pasta shapes. In addition to pastas, we offer a small selection of entrees, appetizers/salads and desserts. Everything is homemade and served fresh: no freezer allowed in the store!
What it hopes to learn from Perfect Pitch advisers:
“We will be presenting our business plan for the next five years and we are looking for feedback on our growth strategy and operating model,” Macchi said.

Karma Farm
Opened: 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia
Number of units: 1
Cuisine type: Organic cafeteria, including grass fed brisket, blackened mahi and truffle tomato avocado salad.
A few words about the brand
“We are America’s first certified gluten-free fast casual and bakery by the gluten intolerance group,” said Co-owner Scott Wilder. “We are a modern ‘meat & 3’ cafeteria-style restaurant. We believe in karma and what goes around, comes around. We donate a meal to a local child in need for every meal sold thru our partnership with No Kid Hungry. I am a longtime vegan, my wife has an auto-immune disease and can’t have gluten, and my son has deadly peanut allergy. We source only humane meats — grass fed meatloaf, brisket — organic produce.
What it hopes to learn from Perfect Pitch advisers
Operations and the ability to scale this amazing, unique concept

Opened: 2014 in Austin, Texas
Number of units: 1
Cuisine type: Heavily influenced by South India but explores other regions
A few words about the brand
“We’re a food trailer that operates purely as a hyper-local supper club,” Chef Deepa Shridhar said. “Everything is made in-house with the help of a 200-year-old pecan butcher block and a wood-fired oven. We travel to different spots in Austin to throw the best dinner parties possible.”
What it hopes to learn from Perfect Pitch advisers
“We are wanting to focus on brand recognition this year and would love to pivot to a national audience while maintaining a low overhead,” Shridhar said.

Roll Play
Opened: 4 years ago in Vienna, Virginia
Number of units: 1
Cuisine type: Vietnamese
A few words about the brand
“Roll Play reinvents a tradition of healthy, fresh and tasty Vietnamese food,” Co-founder Di Dang told FastCasual. “We take the exciting palettes from the streets of Vietnam and make it simple, customizable, and fast. While redefining the tradition, we keep the same familiar feeling of home. Our concept features four core products: Rice Paper Rolls, Vermicelli Bowls, Pho and Banh Mi.”
What it hopes to learn from Perfect Pitch advisers
How to scale to the point of franchising!

Royals Hot Chicken
Opened: 3 years ago in Louisville, Kentucky
Number of units: 2
Cuisine type: Hot chicken
A few words about the brand
“Fried Chicken tends to be fairly universal, but with our focus on spice, craft beers, and bourbon milkshakes, we tend to skew towards a more millennial demographic,” Owner Ryan Rogers told FastCasual.
What it hopes to learn from Perfect Pitch advisers
“How fast should we be scaling and how do we effectively manage a new market internally vs. franchising?” Rogers said. “As we start construction on a third location within Louisville the conversation tends to skew towards a new market and how to select the sites, manage it from Louisville, find the team, and make the right connections with the city/state to get it open.”

Sweet Carrot
Opened: 4 years ago in Columbus, Ohio
Number of units: 3
Cuisine type: Southern comfort food
A few words about the brand
“Sweet Carrot is a fresh, casual restaurant that serves the made-from-scratch comfort foods you’ve always loved, in an inventive way, CEO Angela Petro, told FastCasual. “From griddled corncakes topped with house smoked brisket, corn salsa and crisp tart coleslaw to scratch made cookies that your grandma baked, Sweet Carrot is about feeling good.”
What it hopes to learn from Perfect Pitch advisers
“Pace of development. We are holding at three locations yet believe we have potential based on the uniqueness of the concept, quality of the food and strength of operations to grow far beyond our current locale,” Petro said. “However we are very intentional in our outlook and will not put such a young brand at risk by moving too fast. What are the triggers, if you will, that help operators understand it’s time to move and grow? Then, how the hell do you find the dollars to do it without losing the heart of the business?”


Massimo De Marco | Chief Culinary Officer | Kitchen United

Massimo Noja De Marco serves as Kitchen United’s Chief Culinary Officer. Prior to joining the company, Massimo owned and operated PH+E, a boutique consulting firm focusing on opening restaurants, hotels and bars across the US, Mexico and Europe. He served as Vice President of Operations for SBE Entertainment, controlling all operational aspects for the Restaurants and Nightlife division. Previously he covered the same role at Wolfgang Puck Catering and Events, overseeing operations for all venues in S. California, including major events and awards shows, such as the Academy Awards. Formerly, Massimo owned and operated restaurants in NYC and Los Angeles.

Josh Goldin | Founder & Managing Partner | Alliance Consumer Growth

Josh Goldin is Founder and Managing Partner of Alliance Consumer Growth, a growth equity fund which provides capital and growth-oriented resources to the most promising emerging consumer product, retail and restaurant brands. In the restaurant sector, ACG has been an early investor in rising-star brands Shake Shack, Tender Greens, PDQ, Snooze AM Eatery and Blaze Pizza. In other consumer categories, ACG’s track record includes early-stage investments in Suja Juice (later acquired by Coca-Cola), barkTHINS and Krave Jerky (both later acquired by Hershey’s), Evol Foods (later acquired by Boulder Brands), Clio Snacks, Tata Harper Skincare, Harry’s Inc., OUAI Haircare, Milk Makeup, Babyganics (later acquired by SC Johnson) and The Honest Kitchen.

Kathleen Wood | Founder & CEO | Kathleen Wood Partners | Suzy’s Swirl

Kathleen Wood is the founder of Kathleen Wood Partners, an innovative growth strategy firm, specializing in transforming visions into reality through strategy brand optimization and leadership development. Her firm focuses on small business who want to grow into great businesses. Kathleen is a nationally recognized growth strategist, motivational speaker and author. Her book is The BEST Shift of Your Life – The Restaurant Manager’s Guide for Success Outside the Restaurant. Kathleen is also an owner/operator of her family business Suzy’s Swirl/Frozen Happiness since 2012. She consults, lives and knows all about the small business struggle bus!


Jason Moles | Senior Brand Manager | Henny Penny

Jason Moles serves as Senior Brand Manager for Henny Penny, a manufacturer of premium foodservice equipment. He is a 22-year veteran of the foodservice industry and is responsible for managing and growing the Henny Penny brand globally. Over the last 60 years, Henny Penny has partnered with the world’s largest and emerging restaurant chains to provide pressure frying, open frying, holding and combi oven solutions known for ease of use and low operating costs. Henny Penny delivers proven technology saving restaurants in QSR, Fast Casual and Casual Dining thousands of dollars each year in frying oil, labor and energy costs.

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