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GENERAL SESSION / WEDNESDAY / OCTOBER 21, 2020 / 10:00 AM

The Perfect Pitch

Following a global contest, five concepts will be 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 members will vote on their favorite pitch, and the winner will receive bragging rights (of course) and a $3,500 prize!

2020 Finalists:
Biscuit Belly | Chad Coulter, Founder & CEO
ClusterTruck | Chris Baggot, CEO and Co-Founder
Hot Mamma’s Kitchen | Gina Rae Hendrix, Founder & Owner
Memphis Seoul | Bart Hubuch, Founder & Owner
Scratch Kitchen | Michael Joseph, Founder & CEO

Click the button below to nominate your brand concept for The Perfect Pitch.

MEET THE FINALISTS

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

Puli-Ra
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?”

ADVISERS

Jim Balis | Managing Director | Strategic Operations Group

Jim Balis leads CapitalSpring’s Strategic Operations Group, supporting due diligence, portfolio management and industry knowledge building initiatives. Jim has several decades of management and turnaround experience in the restaurant industry. Prior to joining CapitalSpring, Jim was Founder and President of RMG, a boutique advisory and turnaround firm serving the restaurant sector. Jim has directed numerous turnarounds and has acted as interim CEO or Chief Restructuring Officer for 15 restaurant companies. He began his foodservice career in high school, during which he held multiple management positions for local restaurants in New York. Jim holds a BA from Duke University.

Jason Moles | Director of Marketing | Henny Penny

Jason Moles serves as Director of Marketing 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.

Ryan Rogers | Founder & President | Eternal Optimist Hospitality

R. Ryan Rogers is a 2015 Eater Young Gun, the Founder of Eternal Optimist Hospitality, a chef, restaurateur, Southern nomad, and Americana enthusiast. In 2012, at the age of 26, he opened Feast BBQ, a barbecue restaurant framed within the scope of his childhood memories of Southern barbecue. In 2014, Ryan opened a second Feast BBQ location in downtown Louisville’s walkable NuLu neighborhood, and quickly followed that restaurant with his third restaurant, Royals Hot Chicken, his ode to Nashville Hot Chicken featuring scratch made sides. 2017 brought Ryan and executive chef and partner Andrew McCabe together to open bar Vetti, a neighborhood Italian spot featuring fresh housemade pasta, brick oven pizza, and shared plates.

MODERATOR

Jason Moles | Director of Marketing | Henny Penny

Jason Moles serves as Director of Marketing 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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