Last call: Nominations closing soon for FastCasual's Perfect Pitch contest

| by Cherryh Cansler
Last call: Nominations closing soon for FastCasual's Perfect Pitch contest

Fast casual brands are popping up all over the place, but only a few will survive, let alone thrive. If you think your brand has what it takes, I hope you'll consider entering FastCasual's annual Perfect Pitch contest — what we like to describe as a friendlier version of "Shark Tank" — which gives three up-and-coming concepts the chance to make their pitches in front of some of the industry's top experts. 

Concepts that meet the following guidelines may apply to compete in this year’s contest at the annual  Fast Casual Executive Summit, Oct. 22-24 in Nashville:

  • must 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 be willing to share revenue and average sales data.

Entries are being accepted through June 9. Three finalists will be selected by Aug. 8 to make their five-minute pitch on Oct. 24 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 2018 for one.

Last year's winner was Rockfire Grill based in California, a two-unit brand built around the idea that fresh-baked bread straight out of the oven is hard to beat.  

The father-and-son team of Raj and Neil Syal won over the crowd at last year's summit.

"Nothing compares to hot fresh bread right out of the oven," the elder Syal told the audience. "In India, we have a term for this that means 'hot and fresh, straight from the fire.'"

Raj Syal said participating in The Perfect Pitch gave him a better perspective on how financing works and helped him hold off on his growth strategy of franchising too soon.

"Instead, (the event and panel of experts) directed us into planning a flagship model first," he said. 

That unit will open later this year.

Click here to nominate your brand for this year's Perfect Pitch. Nominations close June. 2.

The 2015 winner was Pincho Factory.

Register here for the Fast Casual Executive Summit, Oct. 22-24 in Nashville.


Topics: Franchising & Growth

Cherryh Cansler

Before joining Networld Media Group as director of Editorial, where she oversees Networld Media Group's nine B2B publications, Cherryh Cansler served as Content Specialist at Barkley ad agency in Kansas City. Throughout her 17-year career as a journalist, she's written about a variety of topics, ranging from the restaurant industry and technology to health and fitness. Her byline has appeared in a number of newspapers, magazines and websites, including Forbes, The Kansas City Star and American Fitness magazine. She also serves as the managing editor for

wwwView Cherryh Cansler's profile on LinkedIn

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