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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

Christine Barone joined True Food Kitchen as CEO in 2016. Since then she’s accelerated the company’s development – growing the business from 12 restaurants in 2016 to 28 restaurants in 13 states today. True Food Kitchen’s mission “to bring people together to eat better, feel better, and celebrate a passion for better living” is what drives Christine and her commitment to the brand’s ongoing growth. Prior to her current role, Christine served as senior vice president of food, evenings and licensed stores at Starbucks. Christine graduated from Harvard University with a BA in applied mathematics and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Carl Howard | President & CEO | Fazoli’s

Carl T. Howard was recruited by Sun Capital Partners to be President and CEO of Fazoli’s Restaurants, Inc. in June 2008. Carl has diligently worked to rebrand and revitalize the Fazoli’s “Fast Fresh Italian” concept. After successfully repositioning Fazoli’s, the brand was sold to Sentinel Capital Partners in 2015. Since joining Fazoli’s every sales and EBITDA record has been posted. The franchise system has been same sales positive for 67 of the last 70 months and the brand is once again growing new units. In 2016 Fazoli’s will open 12-15 new units and is expected to sign 10-15 new franchisee development agreements.

Frank Paci | CEO | Corner Bakery

Frank Paci is an accomplished executive with over 25 years of experience leading retail and foodservice brands. He most recently served as President and CEO at Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Inc. He previously was President and CEO of McAlister’s Deli, a 300-plus unit fast casual brand, and was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at the Pantry, a publicly traded convenience store chain with over 1,500 locations. Prior to that, he held senior leadership finance and franchise development positions at Blockbuster, Pizza Hut and Burger King.

Steve Schulze | Co-Founder & CEO | Nékter Juice Bar

Now with more than 140 locations across 15 U.S. states, another 175 in development and more than $100 million in systemwide sales, Steve Schulze, as co-founder and CEO, has grown Nékter Juice Bar into the clear leader and pioneering champion of the elevated juice bar experience in the $2 billion juice bar industry. Founded in 2010 upon a promise to reinvent a restaurant category that had lost its way, Nékter Juice Bar has been a catalyst for change, vowing ingredient integrity, menu transparency and authenticity across its menu of freshly made, clean and nutritious juices, Superfood smoothies, acai bowls and other healthy snacks.


Zach Goldstein | Founder & CEO | Thanx

Zach Goldstein is a die-hard Sacramento Kings fan; it was through many losing seasons where he first learned the value of loyalty. He founded Thanx in 2011 with the goal of helping merchants identify, reward and retain their best customers / die-hard fans. Previously, Zach worked with retail and tech giants at Bain and Company, where he focused on customer satisfaction and retention. He received his MBA from Stanford and shivered his way to a BA at Dartmouth.

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