ELS: Lunch with a Leader
ELS members are invited to attend this complimentary Lunch with a Leader featuring Vaughan Dugan of Kapow! Noodle Bar. Enjoy networking, lunch and learn about Vaughan’s personal story through entrepreneurship and the restaurant industry. Space is limited!
More about Vaughan Dugan:
Vaughan Dugan isn’t one to care about titles, but he’s held several—CEO, founder, restaurateur, serial entrepreneur, marketer, designer, and dishwasher, to name a few. Dugan’s storied past begins in Newport, Rhode Island where he launched his first business at 10 years old: a neighborhood lawn mowing business. Naturally skilled in building teams, Dugan expanded his sole-proprietorship to employ four of his friends. It’s no surprise then that Dugan went on to study business at Florida Atlantic University.
If you visited the Kinkos near FAU back in the ‘90s, and someone was hogging the only Apple computer there, it was probably Vaughan. He was busy designing and printing fliers for local music venues and tourist attractions. This operation would soon outgrow his two-bedroom apartment. Stellar Concepts & Design Inc., as the company went on to be called, was a five million dollar business just 18 months later. Vaughan’s addiction to building brands had begun.
In 2006, Dugan founded Pizza Fusion. The brand was a trailblazer in the food industry and set the standard for environmentally friendly restaurants. The pizzas were delivered in hybrid cars, the food containers were compostable, and the tables were made from reclaimed wood. These weren’t gimmicks intended to sell more pies. Pizza Fusion’s dedication to the planet was just a natural extension of Dugan’s own personal values. Pizza Fusion’s unheard of sustainability initiatives brought the brand widespread media attention. Soon Dugan found himself alongside executives from national players such as Starbucks, Patagonia and Whole Foods. Eventually, he stepped away from Pizza Fusion to pursue other ventures. He would return a few years later to take the company public.
After leaving Pizza Fusion, he began working with Rodney Mayo and Scott Freilich, two of the most well-known names in the South Florida restaurant scene—and long-time friends from Dugan’s college years. Together they created Kapow Noodle Bar. Dugan is quick to share the insights he’s learned over the years, and apply to them to his new businesses. As for the eco-friendly practices, Dugan continues to implement them. Kapow uses recycled bags, recycled plastic silverware, and recycled aluminum containers.
Vaughan Dugan’s expertise extends far beyond the four walls of his restaurants. He recently raised $1.5 million dollars in funding for Kula Crate, a crowdfunding platform that hopes to help teachers offset out-of-pocket costs. His e-commerce company Dugan & Dame sells organic olive oils, vinegars, hand-crafted spices, tonics, bitters, and teas. After years of acquiring and growing businesses, meeting with investors, raising capital, running day-to-day operations, and building teams, Dugan has found his calling: building compelling brand stories, then turning those stories into reality.
Of course, Dugan’s most important positions are father and husband. He and his wife Angela—who he met at Pizza Fusion—have a three-year-old son appropriately named Bassil.
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