Clay Dover, formerly the Chief Marketing Officer at Pei Wei, is moving to another fast casual brand. Velvet Taco, the funky fast casual chain with stores in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Chicago, has named Dover as the president.
Dover has been in the restaurant industry for 25 years. Besides working at Pei Wei, he had executive positions at Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers and was the vice president of marketing for Apex Restaurant Group.
He decided to make his next transition by joining the Velvet Taco team.
“I really had no intention of leaving Pei Wei any time soon, but the opportunity to join … Velvet Taco with this extraordinary concept at such an early stage in its development was just too good to pass up,” said Dover in a statement. “I’ve been a big fan of Velvet Taco and the unique niche it has carved out in the fast-casual space since its inception.”
Velvet Taco first opened in Dallas in 2011 and is part of the Front Burner Restaurants’ portfolio, along with The Ranch at Las Colinas, Twin Peaks Restaurant, Whiskey Cake, Mexican Sugar, Velvet Taco, Sixty Vines and Ida Claire.
The concept is primed for growth and Dover isn’t the only one that sees the potential in the brand. In September of last year, the chain received a “significant strategic growth investment” from the private equity firm, L Catterton.
“We see a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on Velvet Taco's innovative, food-forward approach to fast casual dining and expand its presence in new and existing markets,” said Jon Owsley, managing partner at L Catterton in a press release.
The current CEO Randy DeWitt is expected tp step down from his role and the company initiated a search for his replacement after the L Catterton investment.
"Velvet Taco is disrupting the idea of the taco shop, with an inspired response to consumers' increasing desire for premium quality and a fun, authentic dining experience," said DeWitt in a press release. "L Catterton has unparalleled experience building great brands in the fast casual restaurant space and a deep understanding of consumer trends. They have a keen instinct for what the consumer wants, and I'm confident that L Catterton will be an incredibly valuable partner as Velvet Taco continues to grow and attract more converts to the taco revolution."