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10:00 am | Registration open for Food Tour participants

11:00 am – 3:00 pm

Fast Casual Food Tours

Join fast casual restaurant executives and other Summit attendees as we tour and eat out at some of Southern California’s top local fast casual restaurants.

Space on tours is limited. Register early to ensure your participation.

  • Sponsored by Taylor Company

3:00 pm | Registration open

5:00 pm | Opening Keynote

Captivate Your Customer: How Fascinating Companies Win the Moment

When you fascinate your customers, they’re more likely to remember you, buy from you, and rave about you. Yet in today’s distracted and competitive environment, most messages are either forgotten or ignored.

In a competitive market, the most fascinating option always wins. How will you compete, and win?

Sally’s research uncovers new trends in how the brain establishes patterns of loyalty and respect. For example, she discovered that by applying certain hardwired triggers, a fascinating brand can charge up to four times more than its competitors.

Taking you on a high-velocity journey through neurology, economics, and pop culture, Sally will share handpicked case studies and custom audience analysis. You will be buzzing long after the keynote ends, inspired by new ideas to transform your business.

  • Sponsored by Manitowoc


Sally Hogshead
CEO & Founder

6:00 – 8:00 pm

Welcome Reception

Join us on the lawn of the Laguna Cliffs Marriott for food, cocktails and music while the sun sets over the ocean. This is a great opportunity to meet some of our speakers, sponsors and your fellow attendees.

  • Sponsored by The Steritech Group


7:00 am | Registration & Breakfast

8:00 am | Breakout Session

Building Brand Culture: It’s About Empowering Employees

Successful brands across all industries have one thing in common: A solid brand culture. The key to building that culture is employees, and this session will teach you how to empower your employees to live, breathe and eat your company’s culture.

Michael Lastoria | Founder & President | &pizza

Trevor Hansen | Vice President | Visualogistix

  • Sponsored by Visualogistix

8:00 am | Breakout Session

3 Ways to Optimize Labor Efficiencies and Cut Costs

Between higher wages and new labor regulations, restaurants are facing a labor crisis, and the outdated processes they rely on aren’t helping their problems. This session will not only show operators how outdated and inconsistent scheduling practices are taking a toll on the bottom line, but experts will also provide tips to help solve these problems.

Aaron Day | President | Blue Lemon
Eric Lavinder | Executive Director of Operations | ML Foods (The Simple Greek)

Michelle Strong | Chief Marketing Officer | LRS

  • Sponsored by LRS

9:00 am | Refreshment Break

9:30 am | Breakout Session

Using Customer Data to Build and Measure a Successful Social Media Campaign

As today’s ‘always on’ digital consumers become increasingly sophisticated in their engagements with your brand, the matrix of channels across social, online, in-store, mobile and beyond is getting incredibly complex and fragmented. In order to better engage the customer, for example, most brands spend a lot of resources developing “brilliant social media campaigns,” but what does that actually mean? Having 100,000 “likes” or followers doesn’t mean anything if you can’t translate them into increased sales.

Luckily, our experts have this down pat and will dissect successful social media campaigns to not only explain why specific campaigns resonated with customers, but to also review how following the digital footprints left behind by those customers can provide unprecedented insight into your customer intelligence and marketing engagements. Panelists will share how a data-driven strategy that spans your social accounts, online channels, in-store systems and beyond can help you deliver exceptional experiences to your customers and revenue-impacting results to your brand.

Laura Rea Dickey | CIO | Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants
Conor Kerlin | Chief Brand Dude | Mariposa Restaurant Holdings, Ltd.
Jennifer Schuler | CMO | Wetzel’s Pretzels

Brad Marg | COO | Clutch

  • Sponsored by Clutch

9:30 am | Breakout Session

The Future of Mcommerce and Restaurants

No one can argue that restaurants must embrace Mcommerce as a way to satisfy digital savvy consumers. Whether it is to place orders, gain loyalty points or to pay for their food, many customers want the option of using their phones. This panel goes beyond the stats to show you why it’s time to embrace Mcommerce and focuses on teaching operators exactly how to get on board with this must-have tech trend.

Our experts will share what they learned when they took the mobile plunge, giving not only best practice tips but also sharing mistakes to avoid when choosing a partner. They’ll also reveal how they inspired their colleagues– from executives to employees– to embrace mobile.

Christi Christian | Director of Marketing | Urbane Cafe
Elizabeth Friend | Consumer Foodservice Strategy Analyst | Euromonitor
Aaron Noveshen | CEO & Founder | Starbird & The Culinary Edge

Christina Dorobek | Chief Sales Officer | LevelUp

  • Sponsored by LevelUp

10:30am | Refreshment Break

11:00 am | Breakout Session

Personalized & Relevant: Cracking the Code on Marketing Success

A successful marketing strategy that truly drives incremental sales long-term requires an experience that meets and exceeds your guests’ expectations. Hear from a panel of leading restaurant operators about how they are leveraging guest data insights along with digital and mobile marketing to develop personalized and relevant marketing that delivers a memorable guest experience and real value for their brand.

Emily Bennett | Vice President of Regional Marketing | Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants
Alan Wright | CMO | Newk’s Eatery

Paula Carren | VP of Client Success | Fishbowl

  • Sponsored by Fishbowl

11:00 am | Breakout Session

The Supply Chain Demystified

Before any brand can grow, it must have its supply chain under control, especially when it comes to expanding globally. Many restaurants, however, have a difficult time solving such mysteries as how to incorporate locally sourced foods, when it’s best to use frozen options and where they can cut costs. Luckily, we have a few supply chain experts who will address all those issues and also discuss supply chain trends.

Blaine Adams | VP, Supply Chain | Fazoli’s
Brian Balconi | President – USA | Gloria Jean’s Coffees
Paul Damico | President | Focus Brands

Maryanne Rose | CEO and Founder | SpenDifference

  • Sponsored by SpenDifference

12:00 pm | Lunch

12:30 pm | General Session


In this session, you will hear four 15-minute, thought-provoking talks that will leave you challenged and inspired.

Suzy Badaracco | President | Culinary Tides, Inc.
Jennifer Klawin | SVP, Brand Strategy, West Coast | BuzzFeed
Cecily Sorenson | VP, Corporate Communications | Firehouse Subs
Patrick Sugrue | CEO | Saladworks

Don Hawkins | Group Vice President | The Middleby Corporation

  • Sponsored by Middleby Corporation

1:30 pm | Refreshment Break

2:00 pm | General Session

Brain Exchange

The Brain Exchange breaks attendees into small groups to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing restaurant operators today. These informal group discussions allow attendees to learn from one another’s mistakes and successes.


3:30 pm | Refreshment Break

4:00 pm | Breakout Session

How to Run a Restaurant in the Digital Age

Twenty-five percent of restaurants will fail in the first year of opening, according to a 10-year joint research project conducted between Cornell University & Michigan State University. It also found, however, that brands that embrace technology have a much better success rate. This panel will introduce attendees to a variety of technological tools that have previously been available only to big chains. Whether it’s in marketing, inventory, employee management, or any aspect of your business, the right technology will help you increase revenue, drive down costs, give you more time with your customers, and generally equip you with the data you need to succeed.

Tyler Kerlin | Director of Operations | Mexicali Fresh
Karen Porter | Vice President of Marketing | Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt
Mike Speck | COO | The Halal Guys

Joel Doherty | Head of Global Strategy | Epson Cloud/Epson America

  • Sponsored by EPSON

4:00 pm | Breakout Session

Menu Trends of Today and Tomorrow

Brands are always searching for the next “big” flavor trend when it comes to food and beverages, and this session will predict several. Attendees will get a jump start against competitors. Don’t be that guy who never added avocados to sandwiches or salted-caramel flavored desserts. Instead, get ahead of what your customers will want.

David Goldstein | COO | Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill
Lindsay Hollister Heffner | Owner/Founder/Director of Sales & Marketing | The Pie Hole
Kazia Jankowski | Founder, Culinary & Brand Innovator | KJ Culinary

Jenny Doan | Director of Marketing | Nestlé Professional

  • Sponsored by Nestle Professional

6:30 – 10:00 pm | Dinner Party

Mission San Juan Capistrano

After a full day of informative and inspiring sessions, get comfortable as we treat you to a unique Southern California experience at Mission San Juan Capistrano.

The Mission dates back to 1776 and is home to the oldest building in California still in use, a chapel built in 1782. Over 500,000 visitors come to the Mission each year. You’ll get a chance to tour the mission and the ruins of “The Great Stone Church” (which was all but leveled by an 1812 earthquake).

Following an alfresco dinner, you’ll enjoy entertainment by The Long Run, a hardworking tribute act from Los Angeles dedicated to faithfully recreating the timeless music of The Eagles.

This private dinner party is included with your Summit registration at no additional cost. Bus transportation to and from the party will be provided. Buses will leave the host hotel at 6:00 pm.

  • Sponsored by Manitowoc


7:30 am | Breakfast

8:30 am | General Session

The Perfect Pitch

Following a global contest, three concepts will be selected to be part of The Perfect Pitch. Listen and learn as entrepreneurs pitch their fast casual concepts to a panel of distinguished investors and consultants who will provide on-the-spot advice.

Ben Butler | Founder | Rock Creek MT LLC
David Oddi | Founding Partner | Goode Partners
Otto Othman| CMO & Co-Founder | Pincho Factory
Larry Reinstein | President | LJR Hospitality Ventures

Rob Kenny | Director, Retail, Restaurant & Brand Solutions | RetailMeNot

  • Sponsored by RetailMeNot

9:30 am | Refreshment Break

10:00 am | Breakout Session

Should I Stay or Should I Grow?

Knowing when it’s time to take your brand from one or a handful of units to multiple locations is a tricky equation. Luckily, our experts will provide you with a checklist to follow to see if you should concentrate on the stores you have or take the plunge by growing your brand.

Mario C. Bauer | CEO | Vapiano Franchising International
Steve Schulze | CEO | Nekter Juice Bar
Andrew Thengvall | SVP of Strategic Growth & Chief Legal Officer | Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers

Stephen Polanski | Senior Vice President | Buxton

  • Sponsored by Buxton

10:00 am | Breakout Session

Does Your POS System Work for You, or Do You Work for It?

Most operators already know that forcing employees to use outdated POS systems cuts productivity, which leads to profit losses. There are so many options and buzzwords floating around, however, that many aren’t ready to make a switch for fear of the unknown. This panel will discuss the increasing demand in the fast casual community for a cloud-based POS software model and will explain how they can incorporate everything from native loyalty and ordering modules to applications designed to make the deployment of third-party integrations easy.

Eric Ersher | CEO | Zoup!
Laura Sporrer | Director of Franchise Development | HuHot Mongolian Grill

Paul Rubin | VP Brink Software | PAR

  • Sponsored by PAR

11:00 am | Refreshment Break

11:15 am | Breakout Session

Paying a Living Wage: Why It’s Not Impossible

Whether or not to increase the minimum wage is a hot button in the industry as restaurateurs often struggle to meet the needs of their employees without taking huge cuts to their bottom lines. This session brings together a few executives who have been able to find the right balance. They’ll share what they’ve learned so far and will also discuss a variety of other topics related to hiring and training.

David Jones | CEO | Blazing Onion Burger Company
Frank Klein | CEO | Asian Box
John Pepper | CEO | Boloco

Mary Kay Hyde | Vice President of Marketing | HotSchedules

  • Sponsored by HotSchedules

11:15 am | Breakout Session

Food Safety & Training: How to Protect Your Employees and Customers

Employees know to wash their hands, wear gloves and to keep gluten-free menu items away from the gluten-based options, but restaurants still face a variety of food safety concerns. Just ask Chipotle. This panel dives deeper into figuring out how to avoid common problems, including E coli and other food-poisoning issues. Experts will also share ways to control the quality of menu items.

Louis J. Basile Jr. | CEO | Wildflower Bread Company
Patty Scheibmeir | VP of R&D and Innovation | Pie Five Pizza Co.
Jason Valentine | VP, Operations | Cousins Subs

Roberta Salerno | President & CEO | Integrated Control Corp

  • Sponsored by  Integrated Control Corp

12:15 pm | Lunch

1:00 pm | Breakout Session

The Restaurant Formula

Branding expert Gerry O’Brion will share “The Restaurant Formula,” which will help attendees build a more powerful and profitable restaurant brand. O’Brion, who worked with Quiznos, and Red Robin and Coors, will touch on:

  • The secrets used by the most successful restaurant brands
  • The formula for building a great concept
  • The six key critical success factors for every restaurant
  • And how to attract customers with little or no marketing budget

Gerry O’Brion | Speaker & Author | What Big Brands Know

John McCarthy | RVP Major Accounts Central | Oracle

  • Sponsored by Oracle

1:00 pm | Breakout Session

Ask the Experts: Forging the Ideal Franchisee-Franchisor Relationship

Franchisors and franchisees share a common goal of growing the brand. They also have have another thing in common: They need each other, but they often forget that and waste precious time and money fighting each other. Attendees of this session will learn what questions to ask potential partners BEFORE going into business with each other and how to find the right person with which they can work.

Craig Dunaway | President | Penn Station East Coast Subs
Jim Mizes | President & COO | Blaze Pizza
Larry Sidoti | Chief Development Officer | Paris Baguette

Tracey Fullington | National Account Manager | SCA Americas – Tork

  • Sponsored by  SCA/Tork

2:00 pm | Refreshment Break

2:15 pm | Breakout Session

Mastering the Omni-Channel Experience

While customers still order and pay for their meals in a variety of ways from using their phones to doing it face-to-face, the one thing they have in common is that they want to be in charge of how it’s done. They don’t want you to tell them how they should order their pizza; they want to call the shots, and if you don’t give them their favorite option, they’ll often find someone who will. This is why mastering the omni-channel experience is a must for all brands. Offering a multichannel approach to sales provides the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether she is ordering online from a desktop or paying with her mobile device. Our experts will share their successes and failures when implementing this approach.

• Scott Deviney | President and CEO | Chicken Salad Chick
• Justin A. McCoy | VP of Marketing | Cousins Subs
• Kent Voetberg | Senior Director of Marketing | McDonald’s Corporation

• Jon Lawrence | Senior Director, Global Product Marketing | NCR Corporation

      • Sponsored by NCR

2:15 pm | Breakout Session

CX ROI: What’s the Value of Investing?

In the past, calculating the ROI of customer-experience improvements was a huge challenge, which meant that it was nearly impossible to decide which initiatives were necessary. But what about now? In this session, restaurant operators who have been quick to invest in offering a more innovative customer experience, will share how and why they implemented a variety of platforms and programs and how those enhancements led to an increase in profits.

• Steve Heeley | CEO | Veggie Grill
• Frank Klein | CEO | Asian Box
• Srini Kumar | CEO | CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries

• Brad Christian | Managing Director | Market Force Information

      • Sponsored by Market Force

3:15 pm | Refreshment Break

3:30 pm | General Session

CEO Roundtable

This grand finale session brings together some of the industry’s top CEOs, who will talk about the latest issues of the day and what it takes to succeed in fast casual.

Phil Greifeld | CEO | Captain D’s
Andrew Gruel | CEO & Founder | Slapfish
Linda Vap | President | HuHot Mongolian Grill
David Wolfgram | CEO and President | Yalla Mediterranean

• Matt Steiger | Director, Business Development | Heartland Commerce

      • Sponsored by Heartland

5:00 pm | Summit adjourns

Agenda and speakers are subject to change.