David Sloan (co-founder and former CEO of Naf Naf Grill) and Franklin Wiener (former COO of Naf Naf Grill) announced a trio of new projects. The two recently founded nonprofit One Feeds Two USA, launched a chain of retro taquerias under the name INVICTO, and brought fast casual chain Blackwood BBQ into their brand accelerator Venture Kitchen.
Sloan founded Naf Naf Grill with Chef Sahar Sander in 2010. Wiener joined Naf Naf as its first COO in 2012. The team built the largest Middle Eastern fast casual chain in the U.S. with the backing of private equity partner Roark Capital Group. Last spring, they stepped away so the company could prepare for franchising under executive Paul Damico (former president of Focus Brands – North America).
One Feeds Two USA
Sloan and Wiener are co-founders of One Feeds Two USA along with Patrick Wartan (hospitality attorney at Taft, Stettinius & Hollister LLP). One Feeds Two USA is the sister organization to the UK-based and Richard Branson backed nonprofit One Feeds Two Foundation. One Feeds Two Foundation since inception has provided 3.55 million school meals. The nonprofit is modeled after Tom’s Shoes but for restaurants and food companies: for every purchase of a product or meal carrying the One Feeds Two logo, a child in poverty will be fed with a school meal. The school meals will help these children attend school and gain an education rather than working or scavenging for food. Sloan says, “This is a universal problem that our industry can solve if enough companies come together under the One Feeds Two model.”
Sir Richard Branson said: “The simple idea that every time you sell a food product or meal you can give a school meal to a child living in poverty is a great example of using business for good. What better way to tackle one of the world’s biggest problems than by uniting an industry around a common purpose that will help to make a difference to children’s lives.”
One Feeds Two USA is looking to roll out across restaurants, fast casual brands, food CPGs, supermarkets, online retailers, caterers, educational institutions and other food purveyors. One Feeds Two USA’s first partnership is with fine casual chain
INVICTO is a fine casual chain of retro taquerias featuring authentic and inspired Mexican street foods. The menu features Tijuana-style tacos, Cemitas, Sonoran hot dogs, and Mexican-inspired shakes and fries. The first of three INVICTOs will open in Naperville, IL in September. Two more locations are following shortly including the first loop location in 2019. Sloan says, “A massive opportunity exists to popularize the true staples of Mexican Street food and some lesser known treasures.”
INVICTO’s chef is Mexican native Jonathan Jimenez Alvarado. Chef Jonathan was born and raised in Mexico City and is an alum of Pujol, a restaurant featured in Netflix’s Chef’s Table.
Blackwood BBQ is one of the country’s first fast casual BBQ brands. Sloan says, “With the right guidance, the sky is the limit for Blackwood BBQ. The quality of Blackwood’s menu is one of Chicago’s best-kept secrets. This is BBQ made with love and that’s apparent in its quality.” Wiener adds, “BBQ is traditionally defined by regionality, but in 2019 the new region is the Internet. Blackwood BBQ is the perfect brand for this new era of food since Blackwood celebrates and is inspired by all the major regional traditions of American BBQ.”