Beautiful Brands launches new Italian fast casual concept

Dec. 13, 2011

Beautiful Brands International (BBI) has announced a joint venture with Dean and Jill Bastian to develop and franchise Fresco Wood Fired Italian Kitchen. The agreement marks the first and only authentic Italian fast casual restaurant, created from taste to concept, to join BBI's family of brands.

"The best words to describe this remarkable concept are fresh and authentic. Absolutely nothing can match the taste," said David Rutkauskas, BBI founder, president and CEO. "We're talking hand-crafted, made-from-scratch cuisine that is completely based on the Italian way of eating with fresh herbs and wholesome ingredients. Nowhere else can you find Italian food of this quality — where fast casual convenience meets completely out of this world chef-inspired food."

The joint venture will utilize BBI's organizational and support system to market and franchise the brand on a national and global scale. BBI's support will include marketing, real estate, architecture, legal, franchise sales and other aspects of franchise development.

Fresco Wood Fired Italian Kitchen will be positioned as a fast casual authentic Italian cuisine concept with its first store slated to open in 2012 in Tulsa, Okla., and/or Knoxville, Tenn.

"What makes us stand out most is our casual, yet upscale ambience," said owner/founder, Chef Dean Bastian. "When you enter Fresco you'll be greeted by an atmosphere that also reflects the concept — a modern Italian kitchen."

The concept features an open design with seating facing the kitchen and a wood-fired oven in the middle. Food prep will be visible to customers.

"We want it all in full view to highlight our fresh, made-to-order approach," Bastian said.

Bastian also co-owns and operates Hard Knox Pizzeria in Knoxville. Prior to developing Hard Knox, he spent 30 years in the advertising business as a creative director working at some of the top agencies in the world. Along with his wife, Jill, who is marketing director for Ruby Tuesday, Bastian has an understanding on all angles of a business model.

Some of Fresco's signature menu items will include made-from-scratch pasta; Pasta Santa Caterina — made up of fresh spaghetti with fresh chopped tomatoes, oregano, parsley, garlic, basil and grated Parmesan; Marinated Chicken Panini with oven roasted tomatoes, arugula, lemon and asiago cheese; and Fresco Wood Fired Pizza with pepperoni, Italian sausage, fresh rosemary and crushed red pepper.

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Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability , Food & Beverage , Franchising & Growth , Italian/Pizza , Marketing / Branding / Promotion , Operations Management

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