Conference sessions cover a range of topics from monetizing social media to service-sequence success. As we explore using new tools to engage new guests, increase spend and drive frequency, attendees will discover that no one topic is really unique unto itself. Through immersion learning and idea-sharing, you'll cross-germinate good ideas to build revenue growth strategies tailored to your business.



BREAKFAST GENERAL SESSION: Driving Sales and Talent with Culturally Intelligent Community Outreach

Monday, May 21, 2018,  8:30 - 9:30 a.m.
Gerry Fernandez, President & Founder, Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance (MFHA)
Don Fox, CEO, Firehouse of America
As marketers search for new revenue streams and increase social media spend, they often overlook an obvious source of customers—the communities they serve. This session will outline the key elements needed to develop a community engagement blueprint that will create reciprocal value for the company and the community. A list of key engagement competencies will be shared along with common and potential pitfalls to be aware of. Attendees will leave with an outline to help launch their revenue-driving outreach effort.

NETWORKING LUNCH & KEYNOTE: Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

Monday, May 21, 2018,  12:45 - 1:45 p.m.
Billy Beane, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations & Minority Owner, Oakland Athletics
Billy Beane explores his innovative, winning approach to management and leadership. He explains how to win against companies that have bigger budgets, more manpower, and higher profiles by utilizing analytics to identify and re-purpose undervalued assets. Beane uses the powerful metaphor of baseball, but his genius lies in his ability to draw striking parallels to almost any industry.
Beane’s inspiring tale, a modern day David vs. Goliath, is an unforgettable talk, a brilliant confluence of baseball and business success that teaches what it really takes to succeed “big” with limited resources.


STRATEGIC WRAP-UP: Success Starts Now

Monday, May 21, 2018,  3:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Jon Taffer, Executive Producer, Taffer Media
Engaging new guests, increasing spend and driving frequency are critical to revenue growth and the continued success of a prosperous operation. This conference has inspired innovative ideas, and provided tools and resources you can implement to grow your own business.
Combined with Jon’s unprecedented industry knowledge and his sharing of profit-increasing techniques and signature tactics, this strategic wrap up will keep you motivated as you head back to work armed with strategies to drive your company forward.



Learn about how tools like big data, attracting untapped audiences and incorporating leading technologies can help you be smarter about targeting and engaging new guests.

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Delivering Your Offers to the Right Hands: Key Mobile Marketing Strategies

Sunday, May 20, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Monica Ho, CMO, SOCi
In this session, we will unpack the many different mobile marketing tactics and show you the ones that have been proven to drive REAL restaurant sales and put butts in seats. Explore the latest research on mobile sites and sources consumers turn to when their cravings arise, identify key mobile marketing tactics and how they can be used to drive revenue growth for your business, and recognize how to use measurement and insights to not only prove performance but optimize and scale your results. If you are trying to increase new or repeat guest visits and sales, this session is for you.


Sunday, May 20, 1:45 – 2:30 p.m.
Juan RuizMintel
In a market that is becoming increasingly fragmented, Hispanics can be a source of growth. This session explores four segments of Hispanic consumers based on their attitudes toward dining out. Understanding the different groups of Hispanics can help restaurant operators determine the segment that offers the greatest opportunity and how to connect with them in relevant ways.

Sunday, May 20, 2:45 – 4:00 p.m.
Jeff Fromm, President FutureCast
Today’s modern consumer is a much more active consumer and wants to participate with a brand—are you leveraging this opportunity to identify sales and improve loyalty? In this session, we will both listen to and generate ideas around youth culture and consumer trends, allowing you to create stronger, more impactful marketing strategies. We will explore how youth culture trends can impact various aspects of a restaurant’s business and how today’s consumers seek affordable adventures.


Monday, May 21, 9:45 – 10:45 a.m.
Marc LandsbergFounder and CEO, SOCIALDEVIANT
Social media is no longer optional. It is critical that restaurants have a strong social media presence—not just for social's sake, but to drive the things that matter most: guest and revenue growth. This program will provide you with the strategies you need to manage and generate exponential ROI. Arm yourself with the resources you need to create a strong social media presence to attract new guests, develop content that will generate buzz for your restaurant, and have people waiting in a line outside the door!

Forecasting Revenue Strategies 

Monday, May 21, 11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Daniel HofstadCargill Risk Management Senior Director
Tom KingGlobal Risk Services Lead, Refined Oils Cargill
Forecasting revenue and growth can be a tricky part of the business, particularly in an ever increasing volatile environment. The fluctuation of food and beverage prices only adds to the complexity of managing operating margins. Strategies to forecast primary food and beverage costs for major staple ingredients like protein, oils, sweeteners, and flour to optimize commodity pricing for revenue growth will be explored.
(Sponsored by Cargill)


Innovate or Perish: Restaurants Go Big (Data)

Meredith Sandland, COO, Kitchen United
Alex Canter, Director of Business Development, Canter’s Deli
Amy Mason, Senior Vice President and Chief Engagement Officer, Dine Brands Global, Inc.
Alexandra Chan, Vice President, Restaurant Equity Research, Jefferies
Monday, May 21, 2:00 – 3:15 p.m.
Restaurants today are being confronted by a fundamental shift in consumers’ dining preferences. As consumers experience the digitization of other facets of their lives, they find they like it...and now want it in their mealtimes. Much of what makes the digital experience so compelling is the customization enabled by the trillions of bytes of data tracked and computed on every person, location, and possible purchase. But which data is important? And how does a restaurant find actionable insight in so much information? Join our panel of distinguished industry leaders from across the restaurant ecosystem for a discussion that will challenge attendees to rethink how they approach their businesses.




Once your guests are seated, boosting their spend is your most bankable path to increased revenue. Discover how kiosks, promotions, and product placement can enhance your bottom line.

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The Key Elements of Building an Off-Premise Operation

Sunday, May 20, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Erin Childs, Director of Catering, boloco
Jackie Kurkjian, Senior Director, Off-Premise Dining, Fiesta Restaurant Group
Jennifer Parker, Co-Founder, Impact Brands
Jim Rand, Catering Practice Leader, ezCater
The off-premises landscape is complex but can be highly profitable if done right. The demand for food in the office has made corporate customers a particularly attractive market—a $22 billion one— with business catering growing more than 30 percent over the past three years. While opportunity abounds, launching an off-premise operation poses new operational challenges. In this session, panelists from top brands will share how they implemented a strategy that drives top-line sales and bottom line profits.
(Sponsored by ezCater)


Sunday, May 20, 1:45 – 2:30 p.m.
Dawn FitzgeraldSr. Dir Mrktg Services, Sysco
A well-defined menu strategy is one of the key drivers of revenue growth in an operation. A menu can either drive or hinder sales, and it is the one item in a restaurant guests are guaranteed to see. The steps to innovate and engineer a menu include menu analysis to determine profitable and value perception, along with menu selection and its impact on guest satisfaction. This session will cover these strategies and more to build a greater guest spend and experience. 
(Sponsored by Sysco)


Sunday, May 20, 2:45 – 4:00 p.m.
Bob BrownBob Brown Service Solutions
Learn to master every touchpoint from hello to good-bye to enhance the guest experience and boost sales. Move your team to star status by helping them break the Yes/No Habit, give Guided Tours of your menus, use the By The Way Technique to up-sell without being pushy, and use The Grouping Technique to create permission buying.


Monday, May 21, 9:45 – 10:45 a.m.
Brian GolinvauxLillie's Q Sauces and Rubs
Chef Charlie McKennaLillie's Q Sauces and Rubs
Have you ever considered retail and product placement as a potential growth opportunity for your operation? Delve into the world of market expansion through retail products and explore examples and case studies to help you determine if the retail route is right for you. In this session you’ll hear the latest data on the competitive landscape, discuss scalability, and realistically assess your operation’s bandwidth. You’ll also discuss roles and responsibilities of product development, distribution options, and, of course, the pitfalls to watch out for in the retail space.


Monday, May 21, 11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Sean ButlerSenior Vice President, Retail, Chef'd
Barb StuckeyPresident & Chief Innovation Officer, Mattson
Steven VigilanteDirector of Partnerships, Chef'd
In 2012, the meal kit segment was relatively non-existent. Today the market is estimated at $5B+ and is expected to grow at a 25% CAGR for the next half-decade. Over that same period, mature chain restaurant concepts have struggled, particularly with millennial consumers. In this interactive session, we will take a look at the dynamics of meal kits, from retail to on-premise to direct-to-consumer, and how restaurants—specifically casual dining—can tap into this rapidly growing market to reposition their brands.

Digital Disruptions: The Evolution of the Traditional Path-to-Purchase in a Connected World

Monday, May 21, 2:00 – 3:15 p.m.
Gwen BrannonDirector, Guest Insights & Analytics, The Coca-Cola Company
Technology is disrupting traditional touchpoints with guests throughout the path-to-purchase. In this session, we’ll explore how restaurants can not only overcome these interruptions but leverage them for revenue and growth. Exploring app-based order placement, mobile payment, third-party delivery, kiosk-based ordering, and more, Coca-Cola uses their proprietary insights platform to connect the dots along this new diner journey. Join us as we delve into the rich contextual influences that these new routes to fulfillment are having on diners and your restaurant and utilize them for growth.
(Sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company)


Guests who feel valued come back. And loyal regulars speed up business growth. Brainstorm how loyalty programs, emails, and data can convert first-time diners into regulars.

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Gen Z: Driving the Future of Guest Experience

Sunday, May 20, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Michiel Bakker, Director, Global Programs and Workplace Services, Google
Abhijeet Jadhav, Senior Manager, Marketing Strategy, GP Pro
Carin StutzExecutive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Red Robin
In the ever-evolving world of foodservice and technology, there is one evergreen principle— experience matters. And to Gen Z, who continues to spend emphatically more on food than any other category, the restaurant experience dominates. That experience transcends on-premise dining and spans every touchpoint, including a restaurant brand’s digital presence, mobile apps, food packaging, and offsite delivery capability, to name a few. And, as the traditional restaurant rapidly finds itself competing against untraditional eateries, such as meal kits, food trucks, ghost restaurants, grocerants and even simple kiosks, it’s becoming increasingly important to entice Gen Z and millennials by exceeding the elevated expectations for their total guest experience, and ultimately increasing their wallet share. Learn how investments made today in contemporary ambience, personalized service, customized menus, wholesome ingredients, heightened food safety, and sustainable food packaging will greatly impact your success tomorrow. 
(Sponsored by GP Pro)

Drive Revenue Growth Through Loyalty Program Strategies

Sunday, May 20, 1:45 – 2:30 p.m.
Darren TristanoCHD-Expert
Discover loyalty program strategies and best practices that drive guest frequency and revenue growth. Whether you have an existing loyalty program in place or have been considering developing and launching loyalty rewards, this session will provide insight on consumer considerations and identify which programs are working in today’s competitive marketplace. Learn which strategies may fit best within your business and explore how best to implement.


Sunday, May 20, 2:45 – 4:00 p.m.
Mike Archer, CEO, Houlihan's Restaurants, Inc.
Brad Rukstales, President and CEO, Cogensia
Restaurants that focus on knowing who their guests are, their value, and their purchase patterns are able to connect through personalized communications that reduce the need to discount. When customers can be tracked and machine learning is applied, restaurants can anticipate what marketing is required to drive sales. Our speakers will discuss how restaurant brands have been using big data to grow more profitable relationships, drive growth, and use customer information to better engage guests. (Sponsored by Congensia)


Monday, May 21, 9:45 – 10:45 a.m.
Minsoo PakPartner/Principal, EY
It might seem like tech is everywhere, but the industry is just scratching the surface when it comes to customer-facing tech tools. Ordering kiosks, contactless payments, and tableside ordering are not only growing in popularity among diners, but areadding real revenue. Learn how the best operators are putting this tech to use and walk away with the ideas and solutions to keep your company ahead of the competition.
(Sponsored by Ernst & Young)


Monday, May 21, 11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Warren Solochek, Senior Vice President, Industry Relations, The NPD Group, Inc.
Jenna Telesca, Editor-in-Chief, Nation’s Restaurant News, Editorial Director, Restaurant Hospitality
Store design plays a big role in the guest experience and can often be a factor in a guest’s decision to come back. From conveniently placed to-go items, to a simple facelift or a dramatic makeover, determine the best store design that will inspire guests to return time and again.



Monday, May 21, 2:00 – 3:15 p.m.
Ryan ArnoldLettuce Entertainment
Unique cocktail experiences that include creative mixology, table side and bar rituals, memorable garnishes, and creative glassware will bring your guests back. Exclusive beer and wine offerings not readily available anywhere else also keep guests coming back. Signature programs with depth, flavor, and creativity will help define your restaurant and create a point of difference that draws guests in for an experience or product they cannot get elsewhere.  This session will provide you with useable examples of beverage programs, creative elements and merchandising programs you can use to improve the guest experience, increase your sales and drive frequency.