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How Vietnamese fast casual Saigon Hustle scored a $1 million investment

The story behind the brand that won Savory Fund’s Million Dollar Restaurant Launch.


When private equity group Savory Fund announced its Million Dollar Restaurant Launch last fall, restaurant entrepreneurs from coast to coast took notice. The prize wouldn’t just give one lucky concept a $1 million investment to kick off growth, but it would also provide access to the firm’s operational support, which includes everything from real estate, development and construction to store operations, technology, recruiting, training and finance.

In other words, a dream scenario for someone looking to bring their passion project to the masses.

This week, Savory announced that the winner of that prize was Saigon Hustle, a Houston based fast casual serving locally sourced versions of Vietnamese classics like rolls, noodle bowls, rice bowls, and banh mi through a drive thru format.

So what makes Saigon Hustle stand out? Cofounders Cassie Ghaffar and Sandy Nguyen joined the latest episode of Take-Away with Sam Oches to share the story of the brand, why they believe Vietnamese food is ready for the spotlight, and how they plan to scale the concept using this well-earned investment.

In this conversation, you’ll find out why:

  • Sometimes you just need to throw yourselves into the deep end to learn how to swim
  • A concept that’s just a little out of the ordinary is better positioned to scale
  • If you’ve got a big idea and you’re not sure how it will resonate in the market, try it out in a ghost kitchen
  • You shouldn’t underestimate the American palate, just consider how you’re selling to them
  • The time is now for global food concepts to scale from coast to coast
  • Hard work pays off

Contact Sam Oches at [email protected]

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