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October 13-15, 2024 | Denver, CO — Save $300 when you sign up by July 26! Register Now


SUNDAY // OCTOBER 13, 2019

10:00 am | Registration opens 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 Austin’s top local fast casual restaurants.

Tours include:

Austin Daily Press
Baby Greens
Bird Bird Biscuit
Corner Bakery Cafe
Freebirds World Burrito
Kitchen United
Nékter Juice Bar
Newk’s Eatery
Tarka Indian Kitchen
True Food Kitchen
Velvet Taco
  • Sponsored by Kitchen United

3:00 pm | Registration opens

5:00 pm | Opening Remarks

Cherryh Cansler | VP of Editorial | Networld Media Group
Jordan Boesch | Founder & CEO | 7shifts

5:10 pm | Opening Keynote

Why Companies That Innovate on People and Talent Will Win

Companies that innovate will be successful, but companies that innovate on people and talent will win. If you have the talent piece in place, your brand can thrive in an age where every company in every industry is disrupting or transforming their category. As a long-established successful fast-casual brand, Panera has been on a transformation journey of its own, underscored by investments in technology—to seamlessly integrate digital ordering platforms, Rapid Pick-Up and delivery services—as well as its commitment to clean and healthy ingredients. A pivotal part of that journey, for every company, is attracting both customers and top talent to carry the brand into the future.

Karen Kelley | SVP, Chief Restaurant Operations Officer | Panera Bread

  • Sponsored by 7shifts


Karen Kelley
SVP, Chief Restaurant Operations Officer
Panera Bread

6:00 – 8:00 pm | Networking

Welcome Reception

This is a great opportunity to meet some of our speakers, sponsors and your fellow attendees over hors d’oeuvres and cocktails.

  • Sponsored by Steritech

MONDAY // OCTOBER 14, 2019

7:00 am | Registration & Breakfast

7:40 am | Breakfast Briefing

Data Gravity

Charles Fuhrmann | Lead, Enterprise Services | Square

  • Sponsored by Square


Charles Fuhrmann
Lead, Enterprise Services

8:00 am | General Session

Executive Perspectives: Inspiration for Today’s Restaurant Leaders

In this session, you will hear three short, thought-provoking talks that will leave you challenged and inspired.


The Green Standard
Sandra Noonan | Chief Sustainability Officer | Just Salad

Full Court Press on Food Halls
Bryan & Caleb Lewis | Founders | Press Waffle Co

I’m back from HELL — Opening a new restaurant in the age of social media
Antonio Swad | Founder & CEO | Porch Swing

Jaron Waldman | Co-Founder & CEO | Rakuten Ready

  • Sponsored by Rakuten Ready

9:00 am | Refreshment Break

9:30 am | Breakout Session

How Technology Advancements are Changing your Kitchen and BoH Operations

Two technological advancements are already improving restaurants around the world – robotics and adding smart technology to foodservice equipment. Both are not only changing the customer experience in the front of house but also the level of productivity and labor in the kitchen.

This session will explore how operators must embrace the kitchen of the future in order to automate meal production and to take better care of their units.

Geoff Alexander | CEO | Wow Bao
Dennis O’Toole | Principal Consultant | Kitchen Equipment Solutions

Erik Koenig | VP of Strategic Marketing & Product Content | Heritage Parts

  • Sponsored by Heritage Parts

9:30 am | Breakout Session

Handling Workplace Diversity, Compliance and Soft Skills Training with Mobile Technology

Trying to fix a problem is much more costly than putting the training and systems in place to prevent it from occurring. This is doubly important when dealing with difficult issues like workplace diversity and gender equality in the workplace. When disasters revolve around these topics, it’s rarely clear what the point of failure was or how to fix it. Thus prevention is a must for businesses.

This session will give attendees insight and the tools needed to ensure that their workplace is a positive and inclusive environment.

Bill DiPaola | COO | Ballard Brands
Steve Felson | Former EVP, Business Operations | BurgerFi
Jae Kim | Owner & Founder | Chi’Lantro
Michael Mohammed | CEO | Chronic Tacos

Paul Bradley | Head of Product Management | PlayerLync

  • Sponsored by PlayerLync

10:30 am | Refreshment Break

11:00 am | Breakout Session

Controlling Your Marketing: Are Your Franchisees Going Rogue?

The signs and materials in all locations need to be exactly the same — except when they shouldn’t. But how do you know when to be consistent and when to allow flexibility for local market requirements? This session will help you strike the right balance between protecting your brand without stifling local-store marketing efforts.

Justin Bartek | Director of Global Marketing | The Halal Guys
Matt Friedman | Co-Founder & CEO | Wing Zone
Ashley Wilson | Marketing Director | Your Pie

Kathi Woolsey | Director of Business Development | Visualogistix

  • Sponsored by Visualogistix

11:00 am | Breakout Session

Get in the Delivery Game: Ways to Solve Restaurant Delivery Dilemmas

Whether it’s keeping hot food hot or ice cream frozen, this session will teach attendees how to maintain food integrity and help mitigate food safety risks. It will also focus on customer food quality expectations by sharing recommended practices for a stellar delivery experience with third-party delivery partners.

Alonso Castañeda | VP of Brand Development & Strategy | Four Foods Group
Tad Low | Director of Off Premise Marketing | Moe’s Southwest Grill
Eric Marcoux | VP, Quality Management | Smashburger
Jason Morgan | CEO | Original ChopShop and bellagreen

Doug Sutton | President | Steritech

  • Sponsored by Steritech

12:00 pm | Lunch & Learn

You Want to Cook Where?

Scott Heim | Divisional President | Evo, Inc.

  • Sponsored by Middleby Corporation


Scott Heim
Divisional President
Evo, Inc.

12:45 pm | Breakout Session

Freeing Your Restaurant from Tablet Hell

Many fast casuals rely on third-party companies to help meet their delivery needs, but what should be an easy way to add an additional revenue stream can easily turn into an operations and customer experience nightmare. Orders are often lost or typed in wrong, for example, when employees have to pull orders from a tablet and manually enter them into a POS system.

This session offers advice from restaurant operators who have been to tablet hell and back.

Scott Goodrich | COO | Greek from Greece
Dawn Nielsen | COO | Kolache Factory
Desi Saran | Founder & CEO | Sweetberry Bowls

Sterling Douglass | Co-Founder & CEO | Chowly

  • Sponsored by Chowly

12:45 pm | Breakout Session

Why Follow When You Can Lead? Uncovering Menu Trends of 2020

Predicting the next major menu craze has always been a challenge, and as we move into a more integrated and interdependent world, customers are exploring foods and flavors from around the world, which makes it even more difficult.

This session’s experts will reveal what menu trends are most popular and where and show attendees how to apply them to their menus.

Dan Carberry | VP of Culinary Innovation & Guest Experience | Zoup! Eatery
Hagop Giragossian | Partner, Culinary & Operations | Dog Haus
Ike Shehadeh | Founder | Ike’s Love & Sandwiches

Maeve Webster | Senior Director | Datassential

  • Sponsored by Lamb Weston

1:45 pm | Refreshment Break

2:15 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.

Brain Exchange Topics:
 ADVERTISING | Engaging Today’s Mobile Consumer Sponsored by: Clear Channel Outdoor
• CATERING | From operations to marketing to food waste, is your catering program up to par?
• DELIVERY |  Do you have the right tech and operations in place to do it right? Sponsored by: ItsaCheckmate
• DIGITAL PROMOTION | How are you using digital channels to drive visits and win share of stomach against restaurants, grocery and convenience? Sponsored by: Flipp Corporation
• DRIVING TRAFFIC | Best digital practices to drive foot traffic/in-store visits Sponsored by: AdTheorent
• EXPERIENCE | Going beyond food to set yourself apart Sponsored by: Touchpoint Restaurant Innovations
• FUNDING | Does your brand have what it takes to raise funds in order to grow? Sponsored by: Chase
• GOING GLOBAL |  When and where should you first open outside your home country? Sponsored by: Sift
• LOYALTY | How to use the power of personalization to drive incremental customers and incremental profits Sponsored by: GetUpside
• MENU TRENDS | From CBD to plant-only foods, what’s hot in 2020?
• MILLENNIALS | How 50% of the American Workforce Influences QSR Spend Sponsored by: Dinova
• STAYING RELEVANT | What are you doing to attract younger customers? Sponsored by: Postmates
• SUPPLY CHAIN | New Technologies to Create a Safer, Faster, and Smarter Supply Chain Sponsored by: Controlant
• TALENT | Recruiting, training and retaining good employees Sponsored by: Square


3:30 pm | Energy Break

  • Sponsored by Red Bull

4:00 pm | Breakout Session

To Respond or Not to Respond?

The number of reviews per location is increasing faster in food service than any other industry. For the first time, it will surpass Hospitality, so how do restaurant brands respond and control those customer reviews? This session will answer a variety of questions including:

  • Should I let my GMs and franchisees respond?
  • How do I keep control of the branding and voice?
  • What kinds of technologies are out there to help me?
  • Are they worth the cost?
  • How can I measure ROI?

Tom Carr | VP of Marketing | Chicken Salad Chick
Adrienne Ingoldt | VP, Marketing Communications | Jack in the Box
Kyle Noonan | Owner & Founder | Mutts Canine Cantina

Lee Zucker | Head of Industry, Food Service | Yext

  • Sponsored by Yext

4:00 pm | Breakout Session

No (Marketing) Money, No Problem!

It’s true that small or emerging brands can’t afford to compete on the same level with the big brands when it comes to advertising, but the good news is that they don’t need to try. In today’s social media landscape, nearly any brand can create a lot of buzz with very little money.

This session will show you how far a little creativity and ingenuity can take you.

Jeff Fenster | Founder & CEO | Everbowl
Pedro Mora | Founder & CEO | Fajita Pete’s
Angela Petro | CEO | Sweet Carrot & Two Caterers

Stephen Polanski | Senior Vice President | Buxton

  • Sponsored by Buxton

6:30 – 9:30 pm | Dinner Party

SPIN Austin

After a full day of informative and inspiring sessions, get ready for an evening of great food, conversation and fun at SPIN, Austin’s first ever ping pong social club!

SPIN Austin’s eclectic venue features Olympic-style ping pong tables, private lounge spaces, and a full-service restaurant and bar offering new American cuisine and handcrafted cocktails. The multi-sensory interior blends graffiti, street-style art, murals from local artists and a house DJ booth overlooking center court.

This private dinner party is included with your Summit registration at no additional cost. Please wear your badge.

  • Sponsored by 7shifts


7:30 am | Breakfast

8:00 am | General Session

The Perfect Pitch

Following a global contest, six concepts have been selected to be part of The Perfect Pitch. Listen and learn as entrepreneurs pitch their fast casual concepts. The pitchers will address not only the Summit’s attendees but also a panel of advisers who will give them advice about how to grow their concepts.

It’s our “nicer” version of “Shark Tank,” which means it’s all about helping small but innovative concepts get off the ground. The audience members will vote on their favorite pitch, and the winner will receive bragging rights (of course) and a $5,000 prize!

2019 Finalists:
Due’ Cucina Italiana
Karma Farm
Roll Play
Royals Hot Chicken
Sweet Carrot

Massimo De Marco | Chief Culinary Officer | Kitchen United
Josh Goldin | Founder & Managing Partner | Alliance Consumer Growth
Kathleen Wood | Founder & CEO | Kathleen Wood Partners | Suzy’s Swirl

Jason Moles | Senior Brand Manager | Henny Penny

  • Sponsored by Henny Penny

9:45 am | Refreshment Break

10:05 am | Breakout Session

Taking the Temperature of Fraud: Protecting Your Brand in the Rise of Mobile Ordering

Online ordering can no doubt increase sales, but it also has opened new ways for fraudsters to steal from you or disrupt your business.

Unlike traditional browsing and access via a computer, mobile devices introduce many new elements that complicate the user verification process. This session will arm attendees with all the info they need in order to protect their customers and their businesses.

Brian Anderson | Director of Technology | Modern Restaurant Concepts
Devin Handler | VP of Marketing | Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh
Sunny Ilyas | Founder/CEO | Vale Food Co.

Darrin Heisey | Director of Product Evangelism | PAR

  • Sponsored by PAR

10:05 am | Breakout Session

Convenience Over Culture: The Future for Restaurants in an On-Demand World

Two mega-trends — delivery and personalized customer engagement — are rocking the restaurant industry and defining winners. It’s no coincidence that Starbucks, Dominos, and Panera, who are industry leaders in same-store sales, have invested heavily in off-premise and customer data. And the landscape is only getting more fiercely competitive.

To compete, restaurants must own their customer data and provide memorable, personalized interactions that are just as magical outside the four-walls as within.

This session will discuss how restaurants with limited budgets can successfully “play big” and grow revenues in this new era of convenience and personalization.

Christine Barone | CEO | True Food Kitchen
Carl Howard | President & CEO | Fazoli’s
Frank Paci | CEO | Corner Bakery
Steve Schulze | Co-Founder & CEO | Nekter Juice Bar

Zach Goldstein | Founder & CEO | Thanx

  • Sponsored by Thanx

11:05 am | Refreshment Break

11:25 am | Breakout Session

What the Heck Does ‘Fast Casual’ Mean These Days, and Does it Even Matter?

When the term “fast casual” emerged more than 20 years ago, it was used to describe a restaurant brand that offered higher-quality food in a more upscale setting but didn’t use servers. As the popularity of “fast casual” concepts increased over the years, other sectors, including casual dining and QSRs, have changed everything from their menus to service models in an effort to stay competitive.

Today, the line is blurry, but does it even matter to customers?

Michelle Bythewood | President | Salata
Paul Carolan | COO | Mongolian Concepts
Beto Guajardo | President | Schlotzsky’s
Akash Kapoor | Founder & CEO | Curry Up Now

Sarah Kabakoff | Director of Enterprise Solutions | Toast

  • Sponsored by Toast

11:25 am | Breakout Session

Using Digital to Increase Your Carry-Out Profits

The NPD Group recently reported that carry-out orders placed digitally were up 279% in the last five years, making digitally ordered carry-out the greatest source of growth in the industry over that time.

This session will explore strategies for driving off-premise growth in pickup via first-party and marketplace digital platforms.


Wendy Ewers | VP of Off Premise | Potbelly Sandwich Works
Stacey Kane | Head of Marketing & Customer Magnetism – US | Leon Restaurants
Deena McKinley | CMO | Papa Gino’s Pizzeria & D’Angelo Grilled Sandwiches
David Menis | VP of Marketing | Chopt Creative Salad Co.

Cheryl Kemp | Senior Partnerships Manager | Ritual

  • Sponsored by Ritual

12:25 pm | Lunch & Learn

Supplier Flexibility & Innovation is the Name of the Game

Today, it’s all about digitizing the restaurant experience from the front of house, back of house and outside the four walls. Consumer uses of technology are evolving fast with online ordering, delivery, loyalty, kiosks, pay at table and more. Restaurants need to move fast too to keep up and keep ahead of their consumer’s expectations. This means suppliers need a flexible mindset to enable restaurants to move faster with innovations and go to market strategies.

In this panel, discover how critical it is for the digital restaurant space to look for opportunities to stay agile, iterate new functionalities and get feedback from consumers and restaurant operators in near real-time.

Mike O’Hanlon | Head of Catering Partner Business | ezCater
Shaun Shankel | CEO | ToGo Technologies
Shane Wheatland | Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer | Omnivore

Cherryh Cansler | VP of Editorial | Networld Media Group

  • Sponsored by Omnivore & ToGoTechnologies

1:10 pm | Breakout Session

Building Off-Premise & Delivery – The Silver Bullet or A Profit Drain?

The debate around delivery continues to swirl; is it the silver bullet you’ve been looking for or a deal with the devil that steals your profits? As delivery options continue to multiply, understand the questions you need to ask to determine whether it is right for your brand. Learn from industry experts on how to maintain control of the delivery experience and present your brand in a way that keeps customers searching for the re-order button.

In this session, you will hear from operators who have succeeded, the hurdles they overcame, and the companies that connect the dots to make it work.

Zaid Ayoub | Founder & CEO | SAJJ Mediterranean
Joe Guith | President | McAlister’s Deli
Ame Hull | COO | Lemonade Restaurant Group
Kelly Roddy | CEO | Saladworks

Anthony Green | VP, Sales | Kitchen United

  • Sponsored by Kitchen United

1:10 pm | Breakout Session

Women in the Lead: How the Restaurant Industry is Benefitting by Embracing Female Executives

It’s no secret that the restaurant industry has been slow to offer c-level positions to females, but that’s changing. More women than ever are holding leading fast casual brands as chefs, CEOs and vice presidents, and this panel brings several of them together to discuss how the restaurant culture can be even more inclusive.

Janene Holig | Executive Chef/VP of Operations | Hot Indian Foods
Sue Petersen | VP of Human Resources | Noodles & Company
Robin Robison | COO | Modern Market
Kathleen Wood | Founder & CEO | Kathleen Wood Partners | Suzy’s Swirl

Michelle Harden | Partner | Messner Reeves

  • Sponsored by Messner Reeves

2:10 pm | Energy Break

  • Sponsored by Red Bull

2:30 pm | Breakout Session

How to Deliver a Frictionless Guest Experience

The minute your guests experience any friction in any interaction, the likelihood of them returning plummets.

So, what can you do to reduce friction throughout the guest experience? Make it easy for them to order, pay, earn and redeem loyalty currency, and communicate with your brand. That means relevant, timely communications and reducing interruptions or disruptors. New technology coupled with guest-centric thinking help brands capture even more orders.

This session will feature brand execs who have incorporated new thinking into the guest experience to make it easier than ever for guests.

Jamie Cohen | COO | Kerbey Lane Cafe 
Todd Madlener | COO | Coolgreens
Rachel Phillips-Luther | Owner | UP Inspired Kitchen

Karl Ruter | Sales, West Coast | Paytronix

  • Sponsored by Paytronix

2:30 pm | Breakout Session

Are You Prepared for a Mobile Future?

While most restaurant leaders would agree that having a mobile presence is imperative to the future of their businesses, more than half of the respondents of a recent survey expressed doubts over their ability to keep up with the speed of mobile technology changes and felt threatened by their mobile-enabled competitors.

And that fear isn’t unfounded; to remain relevant, restaurants must act quickly to modernize their mobile strategy and offerings. Experts on this panel will discuss how restaurants can embrace mobile and back-end technology to drive higher ticket value, enable upsell. cut labor costs and improve the guest experience.

Sam Ballas | President & CEO | East Coast Wings + Grill
Aaron Noveshen | Founder & President | Starbird & Culinary Edge Ventures
Andrei Stern | CFO | SuViche Hospitality Group

Bob Gibson | VP of Sales | Oracle Food and Beverage

  • Sponsored by Oracle Food and Beverage

3:30 pm | Refreshment Break

3:45 pm | General Session

CEO Roundtable / State of Industry

This panel packed with fast casual CEOs will talk about important issues restaurant operators face today and what it will take to succeed in 2020 and beyond.

Michelle Bythewood | President | Salata
Sam Ferreira | President | Gloria Jean’s Gourmet Coffees and It’s A Grind Coffee House
Chris Fuqua | CEO | B.GOOD
Patrick Renna | President | Wahlburgers

Dennis Becker | Chairman & CEO | Mobivity

  • Sponsored by Mobivity

5:00 pm | Summit adjourns

Agenda and speakers are subject to change.


Register two attendees and get a third registration at no additional cost!