Fast Casual Insiders Share Their Brand Identity and Future Goals

In this episode of On Foodable Weekly, our host Paul Barron sits down with the founders and CEOs of three of the 12 fast-casual brands thriving in the industry. These brands have been able to sustain themselves through a significant downturn (5.4%) for the category. So we find out what they are doing differently to remain successful.

Randy Dewitt from Velvet Taco, Nedal Ahmad from Pincho Factory and Michael Lastoria from &pizza, stopped by our remote set in Chicago to speak candidly about their brands.

 “So, what are you doing that you’re sustaining when you start seeing other concepts loose ground?,” asks Paul Barron.

The founders of Velvet Taco, a Texas brand which serves international flavors in taco form, and Pincho Factory, a Florida brand that serves two menus simultaneously, made up of everything from plantain burgers to kebab salads; admit they are not doing anything too different.

Dewitt who plans to grow Velvet Taco’s dedicated team within the next five years, manages and shares resources with seven other concepts including– Whiskey Cake, Mexican Sugar, and Sixty Vines. He assures that “extending open hours to let more people discover the brand” is something they are doing different. 

Ahmad, who claims his most mature store is up 18% and youngest store is up 10% over last year’s numbers, focuses on simply maintaining a positive experience for his Pincho Factory guests.

“Happy people equal happy guests. And the rest sort of takes care of itself,” said Ahmad, who is working on scaling Pincho Factory’s culture while protecting the soul and authenticity of the kitchens, within the next five years.

On the other hand, &pizza founder reveals that he allocates his resources to making sure his employees, or “tribe members,” as they call themselves, are getting better at certain disciplines.

“I’m not a restaurant guy. I’m not a food guy… I didn’t come from the space. I’m an advertising guy. And it for me, it’s about investment in our team, our people…,” assures Lastoria. “You can’t ever rest on the success you had today, the success you had in the past, so really forward-looking.”

Watch the episode above to learn more about what these brands are all about and what sets them apart!