Franchise finer with Fresh To Order

Fresh To Order Leadership

Pierre Panos, an industry leader and innovator, founded Fresh To Order with the simple idea that “Good food shouldn’t leave you broke.” Together with Chef Jesse Gideon, a fast-fine menu was developed. Ten years later, both Pierre and Jesse continue to evolve and innovate Fresh To Order to keep it at the forefront of fast-fine dining.

Pierre Panos  /  Jesse Gideon


 

Pierre Panos

Great food doesn’t have to leave you broke.” This deep-rooted belief of Pierre Panos is what has molded the guiding principle of his entrepreneurial restaurant endeavors. By combining the food quality and restaurant ambience that he became familiar with during his fine dining and finer casual dining days, with the price points and operational platform of the ever-popular fast casual category, Pierre’s vision to provide a dining option of fresh, flavorful and affordable food culminated in his development of a new concept, Fresh To Order, pioneer of the fast-fine niche.

With a banner year for company-owned and franchised store openings in 2014, Fresh To Order is well on track to have 50 open units, with 50 more in development by 2018. Among its industry awards are The NRN 50 Breakout Brand (2013), QSR Best Franchise Deal (2013, 2015) Nation’s Restaurant News Hot Concepts (2013), Food News Media’s Healthy Active Lifestyle Award (2014), and Fast Casual’s Top 50 (2015).

The path to building a multi-concept business began in South Africa where the then-7-year old Pierre worked in the kitchen of the family’s restaurant. After earning a Master’s in Accounting and Taxation, he joined Cooper & Lybrand (the PWC predecessor), only to return to his first love, the restaurant business. Together with his brother, Pierre owned and operated a fine dining establishment which they grew to be among the top 3 restaurants, in terms of revenue, in Johannesburg. Eventually they sold this establishment when Pierre immigrated to Atlanta, Georgia, in 1993.

Once settled in his new home city, Pierre continued with his entrepreneurial ventures as CFO and co-owner of Brookwood Grill restaurants, a fine casual concept serving innovative American cuisine. In 1996, real estate developer David Rowe and Pierre co-founded Stoney River Legendary Steaks with restaurants in Atlanta and under construction in Chicago before selling to O’Charley’s in 2000.

At 35, with no plans to retire, Pierre established QS America, LLC, parent company, with holdings in, Papa Johns pizza franchises, Brookwood Grill, and eventually, Fresh To Order (f2o).

Tapping into the culinary talents of his long-time executive chef Jesse Gideon, Pierre set out to continue his passion through f2o by offering a menu of “clean, fresh, nutritious food without breaking the bank”.

“I like to develop concepts that fit into something that’s not already there”, Pierre once said. “’I saw there was a niche for fast fine. Our platform is about being able to deliver that “fine” element of dining of our food while keeping our prices reasonably affordable.”

For as long as the runway ahead of Fresh To Order remains long, it looks like its founder will not be retiring any time soon.


 

Jesse Gideon

When business partners Pierre Panos and David Rowe were in search of a corporate chef for their new restaurant called Stoney River Legendary Steaks, they invited a handful of chefs to prepare a few menu items, contest-style, not unlike today’s TV reality shows “Iron Chef” or “Chopped”. The youngest participant, Jesse Gideon, impressed them in the first round. A graduate of Johnson & Wales University’s culinary arts program and already a chef, Jesse was competing against some of Atlanta’s more established name chefs, so Pierre and David thought there must have been a “mistake”. A few weeks later, the chefs were invited back. After this second showing, all doubts were erased; clearly, there was no mistake. Stoney River found its chef in Jesse Gideon.

Thus began a fruitful business relationship between Pierre and Jesse which continues through today and includes two additional concepts, Brookwood Grill and Fresh To Order. Although Stoney River has since been sold to O’Charley’s, the menus of Brookwood Grill and Fresh To Order continue to reflect Jesse’s culinary creativity that Pierre first recognized years ago during that contest.

Jesse’s immersion in the restaurant field started literally close to home. The Gideon family owned and operated restaurants and catering companies in New York City, and this is where the young Jesse learned the trade. Over the years, Jesse further honed his craft while working in the food and beverage departments of Marriott Hotels, InterContinental Hotel Group, and Harvey Hotels. He has also apprenticed with two master chefs, worked with multi-unit restaurant groups, catering companies and country clubs.

But throughout this career odyssey, Jesse never compromised his philosophy when it comes to food: “I don’t like to introduce a lot of spices and additives. Instead, I just let the food taste as naturally as it’s supposed to.”

As an honorary professor at Michigan State University, Jesse hopes to share his experience with the next generation of chefs, and perhaps even learn from them. Ever unassuming, you will find Jesse at his best, and happiest, while working in a restaurant kitchen developing the next generation of professional chefs.

Let’s start the conversation

Like what you’re reading about Fresh To Order’s franchise opportunities? Let’s start the conversation about your next steps, and we can answer some questions you may have. Click here to start your inquiry »

Franchise Sales Disclaimer—This information is not intended as an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, a franchise. It is for informational purposes only. No Fresh To Order franchises will be sold to any resident of any state until the offer has been exempted from the requirements of, or duly registered in and declared effective by, such state and the required Franchise Disclosure Document has been delivered to the prospective franchisee before the sale in compliance with the applicable law.