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Velvet Taco

Velvet Taco names Clay Dover president

Former Pei Wei CMO to lead fast-casual chain

Velvet Taco has named Clay Dover to the newly created position of president, the fast-casual operator said Monday.

Dover most recently served as chief marketing officer for Pei Wei Asian Diner, the fast-casual division of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc. Prior to assuming that role in 2015, Dover held executive positions at Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers.

Velvet Taco, a division of Dallas-based Front Burner Restaurants, this month opened its fifth unit in Austin, Texas. The brand was named a Nation’s Restaurant News Hot Concept in 2016.

“Clay is one of the most talented individuals in the restaurant industry, and we couldn’t be more pleased that he will be leading the Velvet Taco brand as it embarks on a path of significant growth across new and existing markets,” Front Burner CEO Randy DeWitt said in a statement.

Velvet Taco opened its first restaurant in Dallas in 2011, and later expanded to Chicago, Houston and Fort Worth, Texas.

In September, Velvet Taco received a “significant strategic growth investment” from the private-equity firm L Catterton.

Dover said he was attracted to Velvet Taco’s fast-casual niche for innovative tacos.

“I really had no intention of leaving Pei Wei any time soon, but the opportunity to join Randy and the Velvet Taco team with this extraordinary concept at such an early stage in its development was just too good to pass up,” Dover said in a statement.

Prior to joining Raising Cane’s, Dover served as CEO of Metromedia Restaurant Group and vice president of marketing at Apex Restaurant Group. 

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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