During the height of the pandemic that challenged most restaurants, newly launched portfolio company Untamed Brands saw an opportunity to apply decades of fast-casual and QSR expertise to emerging concepts. Entering 2023, Untamed Brands has grown its portfolio by 300 percent since forming in 2021. Founded by Chipotle veteran Phil Petrilli, Untamed Brands currently operates taim mediterranean kitchen and Hot Chicken Takeover. Untamed expects to reach 35 units by the end of the year.
“Great national chains start with a strong concept, customer-obsessed culture, and a desire to grow, but achieving that goal starts to challenge most founders after four or five locations,” says Phil Petrilli, Founder and CEO of Untamed Brands. “This crossroads is where Untamed Brands brings in our best-in-class fast casual and QSR expertise. Our brands are our full-time job. I’m often working in the kitchen and others on our team can be seen throughout the restaurants. We also stick with our brands for the long haul.”
Untamed Brands’ leadership team applies experience in operations, real estate and development, culinary strategy, supply chain, and marketing from brands like Chipotle, Noodles & Co., Dean & DeLuca, Nando’s, and Le Pain Quotidien as well as national advertising agencies.
“Access to this deep bench of expertise is rare for a founder who sees the potential for their brand but may not have the resources to cover each of the areas essential today to scale successfully,” says Bethany Strong, Chief Operating Officer at Untamed Brands. “We work with existing teams – many of whom have been with the concept from the beginning. Our shared ideas, energy, and expertise allow us to stay true to what inspired their strong customer following; we address areas of untouched potential.”
taim has been a New York City staple since first opening in 2005 and its commitment to good food remains consistent. The New Yorkers described taim as “the best falafel” in the city. Untamed Brands fully acquired taim in 2021. The restaurant’s longtime kitchen staff serves the green and harissa falafel, chicken and cauliflower shawarma, golden eggplant, and mezze dishes that put taim on the map. taim started as a single-unit walk-up in the city’s West Village neighborhood, and with Untamed Brands now at the helm, the chain is marking its milestone 12th location in February 2023. Beyond New York, Untamed has introduced taim to New Jersey and Washington D.C. Its first Maryland location opens on February 8, 2023.
Based in Ohio, Hot Chicken Takeover prides itself on serving 100% fresh, seasoned and fried-to-order chicken entrees, sandwiches, wings and drums that take 15 preparation hours from brine to plate. The restaurant is known for sides like Ma’s mac, fried pickles, slaw, and Miss B’s banana pudding. Untamed Brands acquired Hot Chicken Takeover at six units and recently opened its seventh restaurant and additionally operates inside two Columbus sports team stadiums.
At taim and Hot Chicken Takeover, Untamed Brands has strengthened and streamlined menus with trend-forward ingredients, introduced stand-out branding, refreshed restaurant designs, and emphasized the guest experience.
“A great concept is only as good as the customer experience and that’s where our obsession with culture and community makes the difference,” adds Petrilli. “From supporting our neighbors to preserving and enhancing historical elements of our spaces, we’re proving to be an authentic partner – not only to our founders but the communities that inspired their ideas.”
Untamed Brands is currently eyeing a third concept for its portfolio.