March 21, 2023

13: Pioneering the Fast-Fine Restaurant Movement | Charles Bililies, Souvla

13: Pioneering the Fast-Fine Restaurant Movement | Charles Bililies, Souvla
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Charles Bililies is the Founder & CEO of Souvla, a group of fast-fine Greek restaurants with six locations throughout San Francisco. Charles has built Souvla from a passion project into a brand with a cult-like following, having been named a “Top 100 Restaurant” by the San Francisco Chronicle, and a recipient of the StarChefs award for “Best Concept”, as well as being featured in national media outlets such as The Today Show, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Bloomberg.

If you’re looking to start a restaurant in 2023 it’s hard to find advice from someone with more relevant experience and credibility than Charles.

We cover topics such as the inspiration behind Souvla’s innovative “fast-fine” business model, the very first step Charles took to make his concept a reality, how Souvla structured it’s first financial investment, the story of how Charles met his co-founder Tony, a detailed breakdown of how Souvla staffs its restaurants and management team, and much more.

Please enjoy my conversation with Charles Bililies!

Where to find Souvla:

Where to find Charles:

Where to find Bryan:

Where to find Kitava:


In this episode, we cover:

  • (01:28) Charles’ background before starting Souvla
  • (04:51) Souvla’s intention as a business that could scale, while “bringing the head and the heart together”
  • (08:20) Where Souvla’s “Fast Fine” business model inspiration came from
  • (15:12) The first step Charles took to make the concept a reality
  • (17:23) Why writing a business plan is Charles’ #1 piece of advice for aspiring restaurant owners
  • (20:26) How Souvla structured its initial investment, and what Charles recommends for most restaurants
  • (30:08) How Charles met his co-founder
  • (36:07) The team that opened the first Souvla, and how it evolved
  • (43:24) How Souvla staffs each restaurant and the senior leadership team today
  • (49:14) Souvla’s lessons from operating a commissary kitchen to centralize production
  • (57:43) On The Fly Segment