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Charles Bililies of Souvla on Creating a Fast-Fine Greek Restaurant Interview with Founder/CEO of Souvla Charles Bililies about being a fast-fine restaurant, believing in an entrepreneurial vision, and how Toast technology revamped his tech stack.

By Shawn P. Walchef

Key Takeaways

  • The Birth of "Fast Fine" - Non-American cuisine can be tricky terrain to navigate in the United States. Charles Bililies decided to create a “fast-fine” restaurant with Souvla to ensure the ordering and dining experiences were modern while the flavors remain traditional.
  • Taking the Leap Into Entrepreneurship - When Charles Bililies left his traditional job to start Souvla, his parents (also entrepreneurs) were both shocked but supportive. Thankfully, he was able to go through the process of learning and have his vision materialize.
  • Moving on the Same Set of Wheels - Charles Bililies fancies Souvla as a technology-first restaurant. As the company grew, he needed to reinvent his tech stack to ensure efficiency and effectiveness within his technology partners. Toast has allowed the various tools to move in one direction with the same set of wheels.
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Souvla Founder/CEO Charles Bililies knew opening a Greek restaurant in San Francisco wasn't going to be easy. But the restaurateur also knew he had something special to offer with his "fast fine restaurant."

What sets Souvla apart is its unique concept — a "fast fine" dining experience that combines the accessibility of fast-casual restaurants with the elevated flavors of fine Greek cuisine. This is representative of founder Charles Bililies' journey to realize his culinary vision through determination and innovation.

"My position is that we have sort of created the fast fine format," says Charles Bililies matter of factly to Shawn Walchef of CaliBBQ Media. "This sort of elevated version of the fast casual space, that not only allows people to enjoy the cuisine and the wine in the restaurant, but also take it to-go, have it delivered, order online."

It wasn't always smooth sailing for Souvla.

When Charles Bililies first revealed his plan to start the Greek restaurant in San Francisco, his parents — both entrepreneurs themselves — were taken aback, yet ultimately supportive. They had witnessed their son's unconventional decisions before when he wanted to leave his traditional university and attend culinary school.

As Souvla began to grow, Bililies recognized the need to integrate technology seamlessly into his operations. He considers Souvla a technology-first restaurant and knew he had to revamp its tech stack to grow.

Bililies sought out the best-in-class specialists to optimize efficiency, but faced the challenge of ensuring these systems could communicate with each other effectively.

That's when Bililies discovered Toast — the comprehensive point of sale and restaurant management platform that allowed him to integrate external partners and streamline operations. With Toast as the center, Souvla's technology ecosystem could work harmoniously, ensuring a smooth and consistent experience for customers and staff.

Toast is also a sponsor of the Restaurant Influencers series.

With the "fast fine" concept, Charles Bililies has not only reinvigorated Greek cuisine, but also transformed the dining experience itself. Through innovative technology integration, Souvla continues to deliver authentic flavors while catering to the evolving technology preferences of its customers.

Souvla's success story serves as an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs and a testament to the possibilities that arise when authenticity, innovation, and a love for food converge.

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ABOUT RESTAURANT INFLUENCERS:

Restaurant Influencers is brought to you by Toast, the powerful restaurant point of sale and management system that helps restaurants improve operations, increase sales and create a better guest experience.

Toast — Powering Successful Restaurants. Learn more about Toast.

Shawn P. Walchef

Founder of Cali BBQ Media

“Be the show, not the commercial.”

Cali BBQ Media Founder Shawn Walchef helps brands and leaders leverage the new Business Creator Economy with strategic Smartphone Storytelling and Digital Hospitality.

His Cali BBQ restaurant company has generated more than $35 million since opening in 2008. They operate numerous locations in San Diego and beyond.

Shawn’s weekly video series Restaurant Influencers (published by Entrepreneur Media and produced by Cali BBQ Media) has been seen by over 25 million people.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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