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CEO Roundtable / State of Industry

This panel packed with successful CEOs will talk about the latest issues of the day and what it takes to succeed in fast casual.


Paul Ballard | Founder/CEO | Ballard Brands

Speaker bio coming soon!

Darden Coors | CEO | MAD Greens

Darden Coors is the Head of Lettuce (CEO) of MAD Greens, LLC, a Golden, CO-based fast casual restaurant concept featuring fresh, made-to-order salads, wraps, grain bowls, soups and juices. Darden joined MAD Greens in December 2013 to help launch the concept’s rapid growth from 11 locations to 32 today. Prior to MAD Greens, Darden was a real estate and transactional attorney, holding a variety of in-house counsel positions, in both public and private companies, including Assistant General Counsel for Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Inc., gaining strong interest and experience in fast casual restaurant space.

Aaron Day | President & CEO | Blue Lemon

After working for years in a family-owned software company, Aaron Day and his wife Lychelle decided to follow their passion and create an original, unique restaurant concept called Blue Lemon in 2009. Together they set out to create a concept that offered more than your typical quick service: a restaurant with a unique health-focused menu, with truly gourmet presentation, and a blended service style. The result is an innovative concept with numerous local and national awards. Blue Lemon has six locations in Utah, with eyes on growth through strategic partnerships. Aaron has served as President and CEO for 9 years.

Sean Pourteymour | Co-Founder & CEO | Luna Grill

CEO Sean Pourteymour co-founded Luna Grill in 2004 with his wife and Luna Grill’s Chief Cuisine Officer, Maria Pourteymour. Prior to Luna Grill, Sean and Maria were in automotive fleet management, which is where Sean honed the two pillars of his business philosophy. First, making employees happy translates to customer happiness. Second, treating customers with honesty and respect keeps them coming back. In 2004, Maria wanted to combine her passion for food with Sean’s background in real estate, so they sold their automotive business and opened the first Luna Grill. Now, Luna Grill has 41 locations offering wholesome Mediterranean cuisine in a contemporary setting.

Shauna Smith | Co-Founder & President | Four Foods Group

Shauna K. Smith co-founded Four Foods Group in 2008, and serves as President of this rapidly growing company. In her role at Four Foods Group (FFG) – a restaurant development, operations and finance company – Smith has assisted in developing, acquiring and operating 154 restaurants across a 10-state territory, over five different brands: Kneaders Bakery & Café, Little Caesars, R&R Barbeque, MoBettah’s and Swig n’ Sweets. She also has been a key influence in creating more than 5,500 jobs, and continues to create nearly 125 new jobs per month with the addition of new restaurant units across the country.


Michael Kowalski | Director, Product Communications | Xenial

Michael Kowalski is passionate about helping restaurant and retail companies succeed and has a genuine interest in technology and the value it brings to people and businesses. His B-to-B technology marketing experience includes contributing to marketing programs for Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Seagate Technologies, WatchGuard, and MegaPath. Michael is currently Director Product Communications at Xenial cloud-based restaurant and retail management.

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