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Led by a Chipotle veteran, Untamed Brands is out to find the next great fast casual

Phil Petrilli founded Untamed as a portfolio company for emerging chains looking for help in scaling.


There are hundreds of emerging fast casuals across the country that have the potential to become national chains. But realizing that potential is easier said than done.

Phil Petrilli wants to help fast-casual entrepreneurs do just that. The industry veteran spent 13 years at Chipotle, eventually leading the company’s Northeast/Mid Atlantic regions with more than 350 locations. He was a part of Chipotle from the time it had 16 locations to when it had more than 1,300.

Petrilli wanted to find other great fast casuals around the country that had a great product and solid foundation, but just needed the support and shared services of a parent company to help it get to the next level. So in 2021, with a team of industry experts filling out his leadership, he launched Untamed Brands and set his sights on emerging fast casuals that in his opinion were the best in their categories. Since then, Untamed has acquired New York City-based Mediterranean fast casual Taïm and Columbus, Ohio-based Hot Chicken Takeover.

Petrilli joined the latest episode of Take-Away with Sam Oches to talk about what makes a best-in-class fast casual, what lessons he picked up from Chipotle that he imparts to the brands he invests in, and which restaurant categories he thinks are the most exciting. 

In this conversation, you’ll find out why:

  • Emerging concepts often lose steam after three or four locations
  • The past few years have been a wake-up call for a lot of restaurant founders
  • The potential of an emerging brand begins and ends with the food
  • Simplicity is essential to scalability
  • Don’t lose sight of what’s most important to your customer experience

Contact Sam Oches at [email protected].

TAGS: Fast Casual
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