Skip navigation

How veteran restaurateur Nick Pihakis plans to scale chef Sean Brock’s fast casual Joyland

The founder of Pihakis Restaurant Group explains how it’s possible to scale high-quality, chef-designed menus without passing the cost on to customers.


Restaurants: They’re a little art, a little science — and a lot of math.

So says Nick Pihakis, the veteran restaurateur who is the founder of Birmingham, Ala.-based Pihakis Restaurant Group. His group includes six concepts, two of which have James Beard Award winning personalities behind them: Rodney Scott’s BBQ, with the renowned pitmaster out of Charleston, S.C., and Joyland, a fast-casual concept in partnership with chef Sean Brock.

Pihakis — who cofounded of the barbecue concept Jim ‘N Nick’s — is committed to building one of the South’s most impressive restaurant groups by pairing his expertise at scaling restaurants with concepts featuring chef-designed menus. He joined the latest episode of Take-Away with Sam Oches to talk about solving an important restaurant equation: how restaurants that are laser focused on high-quality foods can scale without diluting the brand or the menu. 

In this conversation, you’ll learn more about:

  • An obsessive commitment to efficiency is key to scaling high-quality concepts
  • Your opening staff should be the best-trained staff you’ll ever have
  • The restaurant business is just a math equation
  • People make places
  • Operators must decide whether off-premises business is worth lowering quality standards
  • A diverse portfolio of concepts can help you maximize impact with guests

Contact Sam Oches at [email protected].


Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.