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How to Get in the Food Safety Zone

Keeping customers and employees safe has been one of the year’s most pressing issues whether it’s containing the spread of COVID-19 or avoiding foodborne illnesses that can often crop up in restaurants.

This session will take a look at how restaurants fighting the good fight are succeeding by implementing strict procedures, inspiring employee and leadership buy-in as well as using technology when possible.


Pete Botonis | COO | Marugame Udon

Pete Botonis is the Chief Operating officer at Marugame Udon. He is responsible for overseeing the overall business operations in conjunction with company strategic and performance standards. Pete has been in the restaurant business for over 25 years. He is an inspirational leader who builds great teams with a proven ability to establish visionary company culture and standards. He’s opened more than 75 restaurants in his career, the majority of those were with Pei Wei Asian Diner where he spent 17 years. He was the first Operating Partner in the company and instrumental in bringing the brand to Texas and the central states. He developed all of the operating systems, and led the fastest growing and most profitable territory.

Steve Felson | Vice President of Operations | Bonchon

Steve Felson is a C-level servant leader with proven success in growth and profitability in the restaurant hospitality industry. Steve spent a significant portion of his career with Denny’s where he raised to Director of Field Training and Operations Support during an 11 year span with the company, holding various roles such as Franchise Business Leader and Director of NRO. He then went on to join Huddle House as a Franchise Area Director before joining BurgerFi where he was promoted from VP of Franchise Operations to Executive Vice President. During his EVP tenure he led the Franchise Operations, Company Operations, Marketing, Food Safety and Learning and Development departments.

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.

Matthew Sheppard | Director of Franchising Development | The Hummus & Pita Co.

Prior to his current position as Director of Franchising Development, Matthew Sheppard most recently served as the Chief Operating Officer of The Hummus and Pita Co, one of the country’s fastest-growing Mediterranean fast-casual concepts. Matthew is also a General Partner of 080808 Capital a New York City-based private equity company focused on small businesses around the globe in need of growth capital and financial management support as well a managing partner of Keanest Ventures, a Barcelona based Venture Company developing and advising emerging concepts across southern Europe. Matthew began his career as an associate for McAlister’s Corporation. Matthew progressed quickly through McAlister’s management system transitioning into the executive ranks.


John Walsh | Director of Industry Relations | PathSpot Technologies

John Walsh, Director of Industry Relations at PathSpot, has worked for over a decade with some of the largest food brands in the world and with various verticals across the food supply chain. John’s specialty has been bringing new and Innovative Technologies to companies of all sizes in the food industry. and his unique background includes working with upwards of a dozen different types of technologies, that are purpose-built for the food industry. John has an uncommon knowledge base that can be matched by very few in the industry as his expertise coupled together with a broad range of SaaS-based technologies provides him the ability to deliver a unique, relevant and differentiated perspective.

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