2023 Fast Casual Perfect Pitch open for nominations

Zack Oats, founder of The Perfect Pitch sponsor Ovation, Flake Pie Co. Founders Rick Timmons and Todd Smith, and editor Cherryh Cansler take the stage at the Perfect Pitch in 2022. Photo by Networld Media Group.

As part of its commitment to spotlighting up-and-coming fast casual brands, FastCasual is hosting its ninth annual Perfect Pitch contest Oct. 8 and is accepting nominations until June 30, said FastCasual Editor Cherryh Cansler. (Nominate your brand here.)

“We’ll choose five brands to pitch their concepts to potential investors and franchisees during our annual Fast Casual Executive Summit, Oct. 9-10 in Charlotte. It’s a lot like ‘Shark Tank’ but nicer. After hearing short pitches from each brand, attendees will vote for the winner, who receives bragging rights, a $3,500 cash prize and one year of free service from Ovation, a guest feedback platform,” said Cansler.

A panel of advisers will also quiz each contestant as well as offer advice.

For a chance to be one of the five finalists chosen to pitch their concepts, fast casual brands must nominate themselves here by June 30 and meet the following 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.
  • Share revenue and average sales data.

By Aug.15, FastCasual will notify the five finalists, who will receive two free passes to attend this year’s summit. Finalists must cover their own costs for travel and accommodations.

“It’s important to us as publishers to help the people from the industries we cover to connect with one another,” said Kathy Doyle, CEO of Networld Media Group, the parent company of FastCasual. “We strongly believe those attending the Perfect Pitch will have the first chance to see and even invest in tomorrow’s fast casual leaders.”

Nominate your brand here.

Last year’s Perfect Pitch winner was Flake Pie Co., and Wichita-based Chick N Max took top honors in 2021. Louisville, Kentucky-based Biscuit Belly and Royals Hot Chicken won in 2020 and 2019, respectively, and the 2018 winner was GoPoke, a Seattle-based fast casual serving Hawaiian poke and desserts. Street Shak Caribbean Kitchen of Toronto won in 2017; Los Angeles-based Rockfire Grill won in 2016, and the 2015 (inaugural) winner was Pincho, based in Miami.

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