In this day and age, running a successful restaurant business is hard—especially in the fast-food world where the competition is tough. A fast-casual eatery focusing on burgers and kebabs, PINCHO—formerly known as Pincho Factory—has managed to thrive in South Florida. What was a mere idea conceived at a Fourth of July BBQ, PINCHO turned into a booming restaurant chain using crowd-pleasing family recipes and now looking to expand out of the Sunshine State. Otto Othman, co-founder and CEO of PINCHO, talks about the state of the business at the award-winning restaurant to Mitch and Mel Take Miami.
What are some of the pros and cons of operating a fast-casual restaurant?
Pros: fast casual is sort of recession-proof. If you have a great fast-casual brand, no matter how the economy is doing, your restaurant will always have business. If the economy is doing great, folks trade up to fast-casual; if we are in a recession, then others trade down to fast-casual.
Cons: it is getting harder and harder to operate fast-casual restaurants. Not only is it a very competitive and crowded space, but folks are choosing to stay at home more and more and order delivery. These delivery services end up hurting fast casuals more than helping them due to the high fees they charge restaurants.
Would you ever want to open a more fine-dining concept?
It is one of my goals to open a fine-dining concept along with bars and hotels. I have two concepts that I have been working on and I hope to get to open them one day.
PINCHO started out as Pincho Factory—a very popular, very local Miami restaurant. In the past few years, you have expanded to ten different South Florida locations. What prompted the growth?
When we first opened Pincho Factory, we did not have any goals of growing the brand into a chain of restaurants. But, as we started winning awards and building a loyal customer base in Miami, more and more people approached us to grow the brand. So I quit my career as a creative director at SapientNitro right when we opened our second restaurant and started getting ready to scale.
As part of your expansion, PINCHO dropped the Factory. What was the thought process behind that decision?
We knew that the word “factory” was confusing people that did not understand what pincho meant. If guests didn’t speak Spanish, they would think we were an actual factory and not a restaurant, so that was a big problem. Also, “factory” is such a negative word and it didn’t align with who we were. All of our food is super high quality and fresh and the word “factory” did not reflect that.
Are you planning on expanding outside of South Florida and, if so, what cities/states are on your wish list?
Absolutely! We want to make South Florida proud. We would love to open Orlando, Tampa, Atlanta, Houston, and Austin at some point. We believe the flavor of our burgers and kebabs are very different and people will dig the South Florida vibe we have.