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Using Tech to Control Labor Woes

Recruiting and keeping employees happy is just part of the struggle employers are facing when it comes to labor issues. With minimum wages rising, it’s imperative to track labor hour by hour rather than per shift in order to predict labor costs with greater accuracy. Technology can help, however, which is what the experts on this panel will discuss. They’ll reveal what platforms are worth the cost and which they should have avoided.


Jason Breazeale | Director, Architecture & Innovation | Denny’s

Jason Breazeale spent the first 17 years of his career in various technology positions at large food retailers across the eastern US. He provided thought leadership for the early adoptions of virtualization, mobile devices, and enterprise data science. At one large global retailer, he built from the ground up an innovation practice for the incubation of emerging and mobile technologies that changed the way customers shop with augmented reality, mobile applications, and a patented frictionless checkout solution. Since moving to the restaurant and hospitality industry, he is driving an innovation culture with key initiatives towards Cloud based POS, progressive mobile evolution and frictionless curbside, and next generation service platform offerings for Denny’s and its franchisees.

Eric Ersher | Founder & CEO | Zoup! Eatery

Eric Ersher is Founder and CEO of Zoup!, a Michigan-based, fast casual soup concept, formed in 1998. Eric is responsible for strategic planning, concept evolution, quality and franchise support. He also leads the company’s staff in building and protecting the Zoup! brand and in shaping the company’s culture. Eric serves on the board of directors of the Michigan Restaurant Association and the advisory board of Forgotten Harvest, a leading food rescue organization. He is also an active member of the Detroit Entrepreneur’s Organization and a business mentor through HFL – Danto. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Michigan School of Business.

David Mesa Jr., CFE | EVP/Chief Development Officer | Ballard Brands

David Mesa, Jr is the Chief Development Officer for Ballard Brands and is head of their Franchise Division. Prior to joining Ballard Brands, David had been with a Health and Wellness Franchise for 14 years serving as their President of Franchise Operations where he was instrumental in their growth from 60 to over 350 locations. Prior to that, he served eight years as Director of Business Operations for Allegis Group, the largest privately held staffing company in the United States. David also served eight years in the United States Marine Corp. as an Air Traffic Controller.

Andy Hooper | President | &pizza

Andy Hooper is a restaurant industry veteran with over 15 years of people, operations, brand and technology leadership experience. He has led diverse multi-unit teams for both domestic and international brands, responsible for shaping culture, product and culinary innovation, talent development and guest satisfaction and engagement. Andy currently serves as President for &pizza, having previously served as Chief People Officer and Chief Operating Officer, since joining the brand in 2018. Prior to &pizza, Andy served as the Chief Innovation Officer and Chief People Officer for Cafe Rio Mexican Grill. In his early career, Andy held a variety of leadership roles in human resources for Burger King Corporation, both domestically and internationally.

John Pepper | Founder | Boloco

John Pepper is co-founder and Chief Worker Advocate of Boloco, a New England-based restaurant chain founded in 1997 focused on serving delicious modern Mexican inspired food as a tool for improving the lives and futures of its workforce. Recognizing Boloco’s work in advancing the interests of workers in the typically low wage restaurant industry, John won the 2012 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in New England. Boloco also became a Certified B Corporation in 2016 for its long-time commitment and achievements in social and environmental initiatives. Beyond Boloco, he is a co-founder of Worthee, an earlier than early-stage software platform focused on helping hourly workers to rise and thrive.


Dale McKee | Director of Sales Support | Xenial

Dale McKee has over thirty years of experience in developing, implementing and measuring sales, marketing, and branding initiatives for Fortune 500 clients. In his role with Xenial, Dale works to extend the reach and impact of the Enterprise Sales Team.

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