Show 82, August 2, 2014: Executive Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish, Huntington Beach and Laguna

Andrew GruelFood trucks have proven to be a worthwhile testing ground for innovative food concepts. A great example is the fast growing Slapfish with a limited service, fast-casual restaurant in Huntington Beach located in a strip center. A new Laguna Beach location (across Pacific Coast Highway from the beach) launched earlier in the Summer.

The partners started with one modest food truck serving the OC in 2009. By 2011 they had four trucks serving both Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

Executive Chef (and co-founder) Andrew Gruel is with us to fill us in on the Slapfish tale. New locations both in the United States (airports, too) and the Middle East are on the way.

They like to characterize Slapfish as a modern seafood shack. It’s a real American seafood experience that revolves around fresh, sustainable fish, prepared simply, but delivering big flavors.

They are so fanatical about quality control that they have established their own seafood distribution company to service their restaurants.

Show 31, June 15, 2013: Adam Fleischman, CEO of Umami Restaurant Group, Los Angeles Continued…

Umami BurgerEvery Umami Burger location is different in design to capture the look and feel of the area it’s in. Every location has a signature burger.

By the end of 2013 Adam guesstimates that there will be 30 Umami Burger locations. He sees a maximum potential in the USA of perhaps 150 locations. He will only go into cities with an existing food culture.

Adam then talked about his pizza concept in Westwood, 800 Degrees. They are now serving 1,200 pizzas a day. He’s proud of the made-to-order pizzas they serve. They are going for the authentic Naples pizza certification which is the VPN Americas administered by the authentic Neapolitan pizza makers in Italy.

Money has been raised to expand the 800 Degrees pizza brand. Initial new locations will be focused in Los Angeles.

Fleischman’s newest project is a business incubator for creative food entrepreneurs. Umami Ventures will provide their expertise (and special ability to raise money) to grow exciting food concepts in partnership with the creating entrepreneurs.