Former Pei Wei and Raising Cane’s executive to spearhead growth at 2016 ‘Hot Concept’ winner
Dallas, TX (RestaurantNews.com) Velvet Taco, the trend-setting, premium taco concept created by Dallas-based Front Burner Restaurants, announced today that Clay Dover has been named to the newly created position of president.
Dover, who most recently served as chief marketing officer for Pei Wei Asian Diner, the fast-casual division of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc., has over 25 years of restaurant experience and a track record of growing and enhancing restaurant brands. His previous executive roles include successful stints with Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, where he helped exponentially grow the brand (from 60 to 220 restaurants during his six years) and established the Plano-based Restaurant Support Office, as well as serving as CEO of Metromedia Restaurant Group and Vice President of Marketing at Apex Restaurant Group.
“Clay is one of the most talented individuals in the restaurant industry and we couldn’t be more pleased that he will be leading the Velvet Taco brand as it embarks on a path of significant growth across new and existing markets,” said Front Burner CEO Randy DeWitt. “I’ve known Clay for a long time and his track record of brand development and strategic thinking are exactly what we were looking for when we began the search for new leadership.”
In Sept. 2016, Velvet Taco received a significant growth investment from Greenwich, Conn.-based private-equity firm L Catterton. The company noted that Velvet Taco’s innovative, food-forward approach to fast-casual dining has positioned the brand for nationwide expansion in the years ahead.
Velvet Taco opened its first restaurant in Dallas in 2011 and later expanded to Chicago, Houston and Fort Worth. Its fifth location is scheduled to open in Austin next month. Nation’s Restaurant News recently named the brand a 2016 “Hot Concept” Winner.
“I really had no intention of leaving Pei Wei any time soon, but the opportunity to join Randy and the Velvet Taco team with this extraordinary concept at such an early stage in its development was just too good to pass up,” said Dover. “I’ve been a big fan of Velvet Taco and the unique niche it has carved out in the fast-casual space since its inception. It has tremendous upside and a cult-like following, and I’m honored to be chosen to steer the brand going forward.”
Dover was named Dallas CMO of the Year in 2012 by the American Marketing Association and a Top 100 Chief Marketing Officer in 2016 by Richtopia. He currently serves as Co-Chair of the National Restaurant Association’s Marketing Executives Group. He and his wife, Rebecca, and their three children, are currently relocating back to Dallas from the Phoenix area.
For more information, including a complete menu, visit velvettaco.com.
About Velvet Taco
Velvet Taco is the place to go for anyone looking to get their taco fix. It’s a one-of-a-kind taco concept serving premium food in a unique and funky fast-casual setting. Founded on the idea that tacos do not have to be inspired by Tex-Mex cuisine and can be made with the same care and premium quality ingredients as fine dining, Velvet Taco is where anything goes meets the art of possible. Velvet Taco uses the freshest ingredients to offer a wide selection of tacos that explore the edge of multi-cultural boundaries, liberating tacos to a new level of sophistication and taste. The all-day menu features scratch-made everything, including handmade corn tortillas, slowly roasted rotisserie meats and corn, fresh fruit margaritas and homemade red velvet cake for dessert.