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Markus PineyroMarkus Pineyro is oomi Digital Kitchen’s Co-founder, a dedicated entrepreneur and visionary leader with 18 years of experience in the restaurant industry. His journey began with the founding of Dallas-based Urban Taco in 2007, showcasing his entrepreneurial spirit. In 2020, Markus ventured into the world of digital innovation by co-founding oomi Digital Kitchen, a delivery-only kitchen that leverages technology to provide efficient and contactless dining experiences.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • Markus Pineyro reflects on the founding of Urban Taco in 2007 and how it became his most well-known brand
  • The role the pandemic played in the 2020 launch of oomi Digital Kitchen and its delivery-only kitchen concept
  • How customer feedback helped shape oomi’s diverse menu, featuring brands like Love Bowls, Clucky’s, and Hot Lips
  • What are some differences between operating a digital kitchen and a traditional brick-and-mortar restaurant?
  • Markus discusses the daily dining patterns of most consumers
  • How technology like Empower Delivery influenced oomi’s growth and operation
  • The future of oomi — new brands and more

In this episode…

Restaurants are always looking for ways to improve their process and keep their menu fresh. What often-unappreciated data can be used to both improve day-to-day performance and lead to new menu ideas or even new restaurant brands?  

According to oomi Co-founder Markus Pineyro, customer feedback is of paramount importance to his brand’s success. From personal interactions during food pickups to leveraging transaction data for targeted follow-ups, the strategy addresses positive and negative feedback alike. Markus emphasizes a hands-on troubleshooting process to identify and resolve issues, and he highlights the significance of turning dissatisfied customers into loyal patrons. Moreover, oomi actively listens to its customer base, whose feedback helps shape the brand’s offerings and innovations, exemplified by the creation of popular concepts like Love Bowls, Clucky’s, and Hot Lips through customer polls and order analysis. 

On this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, Markus Pineyro, Co-founder of oomi Digital Kitchen, joins Rise25’s Chad Franzen to discuss his restaurant journey, oomi’s unique approach as a delivery-only kitchen, its diverse menu crafted from customer feedback, and how to address negative reviews.

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Episode Transcript

Intro 0:04

Welcome to the Top Business Leaders show powered by Rise25 Media. We feature top founders, executives and business leaders from all over the world

Chad Franzen 0:20

Chad Franzen here co-host for this show, where we feature top restaurateurs, investors and business leaders. This is part of our SpotOn series. SpotOn has the best in class payment platform for retail and they have a flagship solution called spot on restaurant, where they combine marketing software and payments all in one. They’ve sorted everyone from larger chains like Dairy Queen and Subway to small mom and pop restaurants. To learn more, go to This episode is brought to you by Rise25. We help b2b businesses to get ROI clients referrals and strategic partnerships through done for you podcasts. If you have a b2b business and want to build great relationships with clients referral partners and thought leaders in your space. There’s no better way to do it than through podcasts and content marketing. To learn more, go to or email us at Before I introduce today’s guest, Markus Pineyro. I want to thank Meredith Sandland for the introduction. Meredith is the author of the award winning book Delivering the Digital Restaurant and she is CEO of Empowered Delivery, a b2b SaaS company that enables all restaurants to profitably and sustainably serve the growth consumer demand for delivered meals. She has been a guest on the show, and I encourage you to go back and listen to her episode. It’s called upgrading your restaurants digital strategy. As for our guest today, Markus Pineyro is a dedicated entrepreneur and visionary leader with a proven track record of creating and growing successful ventures. He has 18 years of experience in the restaurant industry, which includes founding Dallas based Urban Taco in 2007. And oomi Digital Kitchen in 2020. Markus, welcome to the show.

Markus Pineyro 1:55

Hey, pleasure to be here, Chad, thank you for having me.

Chad Franzen 1:58

Hey, tell me, you’ve got kind of a varied list of experiences. Tell me about how you got started in the restaurant industry.

Markus Pineyro 2:05

So it was literally my first job out of college. You know, I graduated on Friday and started working with a Restaurant Group here in Dallas on Monday. So it really became the only thing I really knew what to do. You know, growing, you know, post college, it just became my lane and my channel. So, you know, there was no turning back after that.

Chad Franzen 2:31

What was your first job?

Markus Pineyro 2:34

So I supervised a one location for a multi concept group here in Dallas. And from there, it just kind of developed into more of a management role as a director, and then kind of grew up the ladder a little bit. And then two years after that, I opened my first restaurant at 24. 

Chad Franzen 2:53

Wow, amazing. Did you grow up like working in the restaurant industry? You know, you know, to earn extra cash or anything like that? Or did you just start out after after college?

Markus Pineyro 3:01

Um, yeah, there’s a few jobs that I held, like, just like the majority of folks like, you know, through, through, through mostly through, like high school, and then pass that, you know, I always just envisioned myself as a concept person and just a passion for food and the restaurant industry in general.

Chad Franzen 3:21 

Where does that passion for food come from?

Markus Pineyro 3:24

Well, we all like to eat, I just like to eat a little bit more than most folks.

Chad Franzen 3:29

What do you enjoy most about working in that industry, that restaurant and hospitality industry.

Markus Pineyro 3:33

Um, I think there’s a certain feeling of that I enjoy in terms of one the hospitality part of it is just, you know, being able to be hospitable to, you know, folks that come in and experience your food, your creation. And, you know, to me, the biggest compliment is when, you know, when I look at it from a certain perspective, in terms of somebody made a conscious effort to spend their money with my, you know, buying my food that I created that I developed. And to me, that’s just one of the most satisfactory feelings I can get as an entrepreneur. That’s something small, you don’t think about it all the time. But when you really put it in perspective, that feeling is it’s very hard to get from anything else in my opinion.

Chad Franzen 4:23

Yeah. Yeah. You know, as I mentioned, you founded oomi in 2020. And we’ll, we’ll get into that. But, uh, take me through your journey kind of up to that point, especially some of your entrepreneurial ventures. I know, you found an urban taco, like, you know, more than 10 years before me. So take me through that. And, you know, some of the other things you’ve been involved with, if you could.

Markus Pineyro 4:42

Yeah, so, you know, the Urban Taco, you know, it’s the thing that I’m most known for, at least hear at a at a regional level. And it’s my most well known brand, and then became my identity, you know, it’s who I was. It’s, you know, I’m the urban taco guy. And, you know, we we had urban taco for about, you know, the last 18 years. And, you know, it’s a traditional brick and mortar. You know, there was no, the restaurant industry went through a period of zero innovation for you know, I guess for the last, I mean, pricing the first digital POS, like there’s just been no innovation in the restaurant business and COVID. You know, I guess a silver lining would be that it really brought a level of innovation into the restaurant business, I have never really been experienced with, you know, a lot of things technology, a lot of private equity money, a lot of VC money. And it can accelerate certain aspects of the restaurant industry that needed innovation, and really just took us to, you know, pulled forward the pipeline of innovation that was going to happen. So at that point is when I realized, like, hey, like I understand there’s a certain need for what we’re trying to create. There’s enough technology and third party development technology that’s been developed that we can harness to create what we are looking to, to develop, which was oomi, which is a delivery only kitchen. So because of that port forward innovation, we were able to create our very efficient restaurant, which you know, it’s a delivery kitchen is that you know, what we’re going to call it, you know, you can see what we have behind me, those are our pickup lockers, where people, you know, traditionally will place an order on their phone on our app, and then our food is either picked up by them here through those lockers without any interaction with, you know, front of half staff or waiter or manager. And then the food is in order the food can be delivered through our first-party drivers as well.

Chad Franzen 6:50

So you’re in the oomi location right now we’re looking at it. 

Markus Pineyro 6:53

No, this is just a background. 

Chad Franzen 6:54

Nice, okay, okay. Yeah, I was gonna say it looks pretty cool. Looks pretty cool. So, so you found it in 2020? Surely, is it all just a reaction to COVID? Or did you have that idea kind of percolating in your head for a while?

Markus Pineyro 7:06

Yeah, very good question. So I, ironically, like I met my business partner in 2019, and our kids were in the same school in the same class. He also has a restaurant background. And, you know, we started talking probably late 2019, about some of the trends that we’ve been observing. And, you know, he comes from a very corporate background, and he was trying to also find something different to do in the restaurant space, just not the traditional restaurant. And then we, you know, we started talking about, you know, some of the trends that we saw that could come to fruition in the near future that could, you know, shape the future of the restaurant like the restaurant, the future, and that, you know, revolved around the ghost kitchens base, dark kitchens, virtual brands, and right when COVID came around March of 2020, you know, we you know, everybody ran for the hills and like, hey, like, let’s take our family like we don’t know what’s gonna happen. And as we were coming on at COVID, we started talking again and realized that hey, like, I think the idea that we were crafting I think there’s there’s legs for that and you know, it’s something that we can you know, I think it’s a good time to start it so yeah, we started really crafting the idea wrote, you know, several different business plans you know, we have multiple different ideas, but you know, concepts and we just really kept fine tuning and fine tuning until we figure you know, we came up with the final model for me visual kitchen.

Chad Franzen 8:36

So tell me how it works from a customer standpoint, they would go to your oomi website or something like that. And I’m guessing from what I saw on the website, there’s a there’s multiple options they can choose from in terms of the types of brands and things like that, can you tell me just how it works and what a customer would you know, let’s say a first time customer goes to the website and they want to get something to eat? 

Markus Pineyro 8:58

Yeah, absolutely. So we are digital footfall, a customer can go to our website or download or or mobile app. And then from there there’s currently we have seven different concepts or brands where they can order from. We have one central kitchen, and we know the same guy that’s cooking chicken for grilled chicken tacos is also doing grilled chicken for your salad. So that we cross utilize, you know, ingredients cross utilize our staff, and run one central kitchen where we are able to control the quality, it’s you know, we’re vertically integrated. So it’s, you know, you place an order through our platform, we make the food with our staff, and then we either deliver the food or you come pick it up and one of the things that differentiates us versus a regular restaurant is that yes, you can order from multiple restaurants so or concept or menu so you know, let’s say you’re at your house and you’re you know, there’s a family of four and the kids want chicken nuggets, the wife wants a salad and the husband wants tacos so you can go on our on our app and place an order for all different types of cuisines and then it’s up to you know, it all comes together with one ticket one delivery.

Chad Franzen 10:07

So Urban Taco is is one of the brands served by oomi, I’m looking at your website. Now. You also got Love Bowls, Clucky’s, Hot Lips, Bowlrito, Savage Rabbit, Tribal All Day, and Paciugo Gelato. Are some of the some of those also your, your, you know, brainstorms or are they partner brands?

Markus Pineyro 10:30

Paciugo is a CPG brand. And then so it’s Tribal juice, and it’s a local juice company here in Dallas that does cold, cold pressed juices. So we, you know, we are a marketplace for them. But the Restaurant Brands are all our brands, including Urban Taco, which is part of the umbrella. But you know, we created those brands, based on what we saw our customers were looking for. And you know, based on the data that we’re looking at, we have shifted some brands here and there, but now we understand what the customer is looking for, you know, we serve our customers, we asked them what they’re looking for. And you know, every time that we develop a new brand, it’s based on customer feedback. And you know, these brands that we develop and put it out seem to be doing better than the previous brands based on that feedback that we get from our customers.

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