Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

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



| Registration opens for Food Tour participants

| Food Tours

Fast Casual Food Tours

Join fast casual restaurant executives and other Summit attendees as we tour and eat out at some of Indy’s top local fast casual restaurants.

Tours include:

| Registration opens

| Welcome & Opening Remarks
  • Cherryh Cansler | VP of Events | Networld Media Group
  • Stacey Sikorski | Franchise Team Lead (Mid Market Sales) | 7shifts

| Opening Keynote

The Future of Restaurants is Digital

Consumer demand for a seamless digital experience has continued to see rapid growth, ushering in a new era in the fast casual restaurant landscape that values convenience and loyalty. Companies are looking beyond traditional channels, leveraging technology and innovation more than ever to cater to the next-generation guest. So how can food establishments stay ahead of the pack?

Hear from sweetgreen’s Chief Marketing Officer Daniel Shlossman on the ways the leading fast casual brand has reimagined the future of the restaurant industry to create a more meaningful path to purchasing for its customers.

Keynote Speaker:
  • Daniel Shlossman | Chief Marketing Officer | sweetgreen

Sponsored by 7shifts
Keynote Speaker
Daniel Shlossman
Chief Marketing Officer

| Awards Presentation

Fast Casual Hall of Fame Induction

For more than 20 years, fast casual concepts have been at the forefront of innovation in the restaurant industry, proving to be trendsetters in store design, menu development, customer experience and restaurant technology. That would not be possible, however, without the blood, sweat and tears of the men and women who lead those brands each day.

The Fast Casual Hall of Fame will honor three individuals, who through their vision and leadership, have driven not only the success of their brands, but of the fast casual segment as a whole.

Join us as we honor the inaugural class of the Fast Casual Hall of Fame.

2022 Honorees:

  • Carl Howard
  • Blaine Hurst
  • Carin Stutz
  • Cherryh Cansler | VP of Events | Networld Media Group
  • Jason Valentine | Chief Strategy Officer | Botrista Technology

Sponsored by Botrista Technology

| Networking Event

Welcome Reception

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

  • Lori Stout | VP of Marketing | PAR Technology

Sponsored by PAR Punchh

MONDAY // OCTOBER 10, 2022

| Registration & Breakfast

| Breakfast Briefing

Meeting Market Challenges with Emerging Technology

Staff shortages & retention, customer loyalty & preferences, managing quality & consistency, these are no doubt among some of the top market challenges you face. In this briefing, we will examine technologies being deployed by operators to overcome the changing physical and digital landscape, including emerging technology disruptions such as the Metaverse and the use of NFTs to build customer loyalty and engagement.
  • Alp Basol | Senior Principal Architect, Global Enterprise Solutions - Retail & Restaurant | AT&T

Sponsored by AT&T Business
Alp Basol
Senior Principal Architect, Global Enterprise Solutions - Retail & Restaurant

| General Session

The Perfect Pitch

Following a global contest, five 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), a $3,500 prize and 6 months of free service with Ovation!

2022 Finalists:

  • Ron Bolden | COO | Paradise Smoothie Juice Bar
  • Bill Johnson | CEO | Paradise Smoothie Juice Bar
  • Todd Kirby | Franchise Development Partner | Hot Chikn Kitchn
  • Hanson Li | Co-Founder & CEO | Lazy Susan
  • Todd Smith | Co-Founder | Flake Pie Co.
  • Ryan Thorman | CEO | Bango Bowls
  • Rick Timmons | Co-Founder | Flake Pie Co.
  • Dave Wood | Chief Strategic Officer | Hot Chikn Kitchn

  • Jim Balis | Managing Director, Strategic Operations Group | CapitalSpring
  • Zack Oates | Founder & CEO | Ovation
  • Max Sheets | Founder & CEO | Chick N Max

Sponsored by Ovation

| Break
Sponsored by Minna

| Breakout Session

Making Your Brand an (Efficient) Oasis for Customers

Giving your customers the confidence to get back out into the world is imperative for any brand that hopes to thrive post pandemic, but how do you convey that you are still taking health and safety seriously while serving them effectively and turning a profit? After all, fewer workers and lack of supplies does not equal fewer tasks.

This panel features execs who have found ways to maximize productivity despite supply chain issues, inflation and labor shortages.

  • Justin Bartek | Vice President of Marketing | Dog Haus Worldwide
  • Louis Basile | Founder & President | Wildflower
  • Scott Redler | Co-Founder & Board Member | Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers

  • Tracey Fullington | National Account Manager | Essity North America

Sponsored by Tork
| Breakout Session

There’s No Crying in Supply Chain Management

A two-year pandemic coupled with labor shortages have caused a lot of tears for many operators, but this session’s experts will describe the creative ways they’ve solved their supply chain issues.

  • George Frangos | Co-Founder | Farm Burger
  • Jennifer Silveira | SVP of Supply Chain Optimization | Consolidated Concepts
  • Samir Wattar | COO | Layne's Chicken Fingers

  • Mark Cimino | SVP of Account Management | Buyers Edge Platform

Sponsored by Consolidated Concepts

| Break
Sponsored by Minna

| Breakout Session

Building an Appetite for Loyalty

It’s a difficult time for the restaurant industry. Almost two years of changing restrictions, wide-ranging shortages and increasing business costs have stressed both restaurants and their guests alike. And while 61% of people agree that rising prices are making restaurant dining too expensive, we’re finding that offering deals and incentives – in the right omnichannel media mix – can spark an appetite for your brand and drive more guests to your loyalty platforms.

In this panel session, we’ll discuss how to serve up a strategy that appeals to diners' varying needs.

  • Rob Crews | New Business & Account Management, Restaurant Brands | Vericast
  • Jeff Hemschoot | Vice President Marketing | Jersey Mike's Franchise Systems
  • Doug Willmarth | President | MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes

  • Cherryh Cansler | VP of Events | Networld Media Group

Sponsored by Vericast
| Breakout Session

Got Labor Woes?

Managing workforces has always been a big job, but with wage increases and labor shortages, it’s become one of the biggest headaches for most restaurant brands. This session will reveal how to use technology to ease those pains.

  • Chris Ives | Chief Financial Officer | Bubbakoo’s Burritos
  • Robin Robison | Chief Operating Officer | Modern Restaurant Concepts
  • Elliot Schiffer | Partner & CEO | Mici Handcrafted Italian

  • Andrew Dougherty | Vice President of Sales | Crunchtime

Sponsored by CrunchTime!

| Lunch & Learn

Decarbonization of the Commercial Kitchen

  • Scott Heim | President of Middleby Ventless Solutions & Evo America | The Middleby Corporation

Sponsored by Middleby Corporation
Scott Heim
President of Middleby Ventless Solutions & Evo America
The Middleby Corporation

| Breakout Session

Order Up! Delivery Apps’ Impact on the Restaurant Industry

With so many aspects of our day-to-day lives revolving around apps, it’s no surprise that food delivery is changing, too. Whether a restaurant is doing its own delivery or partnering with a specific delivery app, gone are the days of exclusively dining in.

Delivery services, through a third-party app or in-house, have a ton of associated considerations: ease of use, price and maintaining the quality of the product, among others. Where does the delivery-dine-in-take-out trichotomy go next? Our experts weigh in.

  • Nick Falco | VP of Operations | Starbird
  • Alex Munoz-Suarez | CEO | Fuku
  • Zak Omar | CEO | Atomic Wings

  • Valerie Cansler | VP, Client Services – South | Curion

Sponsored by Curion
| Breakout Session

If You Entertain Them They Will Come... and Stay

Upselling customers is the goal of any restaurant, but in order to do that, you must first capture their attention. Then, you must inspire them to stay and order more without annoying them.  After all, employees can only ask, “want fries with that?” once or twice without turning them off.

Luckily, technology has come a long way and can entertain guests while also making those suggestions as well as advertising specials and promotions.

  • Francesco Brachetti | President & Co-Founder | Avocaderia
  • Stacey Kane | Restaurant Marketing Consultant
  • Chris Smith | Owner | Zunzi’s and Zunzibar

  • Jake Myers | VP of Local & Regional Advertising Sales | Atmosphere

Sponsored by Atmosphere

| Break
Sponsored by Minna

| 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:

  • ACCOUNTABILITY | Sponsored by Wisetail
  • EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT | Sponsored by Raydiant
  • FUTURE TRENDS IN DIGITAL REVENUE | Sponsored by VikingCloud
  • LOSS PREVENTION | Sponsored by Envysion
  • REAL-TIME MARKETING | Sponsored by InMarket
  • USING GUEST FEEDBACK TO DRIVE SALES | Sponsored by Merchant Centric

| Break
Sponsored by Minna

| Breakout Session

From Ghost Kitchens to Ghosting

Restaurants around the world are finding new revenue streams with virtual and ghost kitchens, but while they can lead to major growth opportunities they can also lead to missed visits, cart abandonment and lapsing guests.

This session will feature operators who have found ways to make the ordering process quick and easy so customers don't give up. After all, no one wants to be ghosted!

  • Geoff Alexander | President & CEO | Wow Bao
  • Jim Bitticks | President & COO | Dave's Hot Chicken
  • André Vener | Partner | Dog Haus

  • Kristin Lynch | Director of Restaurant Data Insights | Paytronix

Sponsored by Paytronix
| Breakout Session

This Ain’t Your Mama’s Drive-Thru

Covid-19 has accelerated the enthusiasm for the drive-thru with visits up 26% from April to June 2021 and representing a staggering 42% of all restaurant visits.

And the future’s looking bright too, with 57% of respondents to a recent study saying that they would order from fast casual restaurants more frequently if more of them had drive-thrus. The problem is that most restaurants are running drive-thrus the same way they have since the ‘50s, but those old-school operations went out with the poodle skirt.

This panel will reveal how the latest AI technologies can transform your drive-thru experience.

  • Scott Boatwright | Chief Restaurant Officer | Chipotle Mexican Grill
  • Doug Bostick | President | Fazoli’s
  • Hal Lawlor | COO | Smokey Bones

  • Trey Eanes | National Account Executive | Steritech

Sponsored by Steritech

| Meet for pre-event specialty cocktail: The Pineapple Upside Down Leasecake (Floor 1)

| Buses depart for offsite dinner party

| Offsite Event

Dinner Party at The Dallara IndyCar Factory

After a full day of inspiring sessions, get ready for an evening of cocktails, food and fast cars at The Dallara IndyCar Factory. You'll have the chance to explore 23,000 square feet of interactive and hands-on exhibits centered around the engineering and technology of the world’s fastest sport!

Get the feel of what it’s like to race at the famous 2.5 mile oval when you sit behind the wheel of a racecar simulator and race using IRacing. 

You can even sign up to take a ride around town in a street-legal Indycar!  

All experiences are complimentary with your Summit pass.

Sponsored by 7shifts


| Breakfast

| Breakfast Briefing

The Big Idea: Powering Location Growth with Leaner Teams

Join us for another “BIG Idea” session with Jordan Doepke, the CEO of Green District as he shares his exciting PE backed growth strategy succeeding with a team much leaner than most operators. From humble beginnings discovering Green District, a healthy signature salad concept with a massive following, Jordan’s team created a powerful location growth model – from a single location to twenty-five (and beyond)! Through the use of smart technology, coupled with real estate brokers, in-house development and construction expertise, all the way through opening in new markets, there’s a great deal to learn – how do you collaborate easily and grow with a leaner team? Get a front row seat and find out!
  • Taj Adhav | CEO | Leasecake
  • Jordan Doepke | CEO | Green District

Sponsored by Leasecake
Taj Adhav

Jordan Doepke
Green District

| General Session

Executive Perspectives: Inspiration for Today’s Restaurant Leaders

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

  • Using Tik Tok as a Marketing Tool | Shawn Lalehzarian
  • Restaurants Need To Get Personal- Sherif Mityas
  • Loyalty Without The Discounts: How Non-Discount Reward Strategies Drive Revenue and Protect Margins- Emily Rugaber
  • Shawn Lalehzarian | Co-Founder & CEO | The Red Chickz
  • Sherif Mityas | President | Brix Holdings
  • Emily Rugaber | VP of Marketing | Thanx

Sponsored by Thanx

| Break
Sponsored by Minna

| Breakout Session

Putting the "Fun" in Functional Beverage Innovation

Consumers have a growing thirst for beverages that not only taste great but serve a greater purpose whether it's fueling their busy lives, supplementing their nutritional intake or supporting their dedication to smart sustainability. The functional beverage category has become a point of competition, most notably in the fast casual restaurant segment.

In this session, we will take a look at how restaurant operators are addressing the functional beverage category and overall beverage innovation. Panelists will also serve up a refresher on the importance of functionality when paired with ease, familiarity and convenience. They'll also discuss how non-exclusionary agreements create a more limitless approach to beverage innovation.

  • Seth Larsen | Chief Relationship Officer | Cheba Hut Toasted Subs
  • Steve Schulze | Co-Founder & CEO | Nékter Juice Bar
  • Chase Wardrop | President | Swig

  • Charles Dixon | On-Premises National Accounts Manager LSR/QSR segment | Red Bull

Sponsored by Red Bull
| Breakout Session

Extending Hospitality to the Digital Customer

Digital ordering is more important than ever. What considerations should be made around the experience layer of a restaurant’s tech stack, and how can great UX help deliver better hospitality for the online customer?

This panel will share their insights on building and maintaining a phenomenal digital restaurant experience.

  • Seth Cohen | President & Co-Founder | Sweetfin
  • Adam Griffith | VP of IT | Original ChopShop
  • Jane McPherson | SVP of Marketing | Capriotti's and Wing Zone

  • Brett Spiegel | Co-Founder & COO | Koala, Inc.

Sponsored by Koala

| Break
Sponsored by Minna

| Breakout Session

Self-Service: The Touchpoint Restaurants Can’t Ignore

Pandemic or no pandemic, eating on the run has become an integral part of the modern dining experience, and restaurants that remove friction from the order process are winning customers.

The pandemic brought with it customer acceptance of ordering and paying using an unattended device, so brands are racing to find self-service technology that not only provides a frictionless customer experience but also allows them to scale. How does a restaurant find the right technologies and what does a restaurant need to look for in a prospective partner?

This session will explore these questions and offer insights into what operators need in order to win in today’s limited-service restaurant landscape.

  • Mike Freeman | Chief Brand Officer | McAlister’s Deli
  • Ryan Harrison | Chief Operating Officer | Zunzi’s + Zunzibar
  • Deena McKinley | Chief Experience Officer | Papa Gino’s Pizzeria & D’Angelo Grilled Sandwiches
  • Tinku Saini | CEO & Co-Founder | Tarka Indian Kitchen

  • Jake Berkowitz | VP of Enterprise Sales | Revel Systems

Sponsored by Revel Systems
| Breakout Session

Is Your Growth Plan Still Working?

The goal of any brand is to open as many locations as possible, but what's possible? How do you know if your brand is right for a specific market, and is your current plan nimble and innovative enough to support expansion during these turbulent times?

This panel of growth specialists will reveal what's worked and what's flopped for their brands.

  • Jami Bond | VP of Franchise Development | Goodcents
  • Dale Goss | SVP Real Estate | Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers
  • Jason Morgan | CEO | Original ChopShop

  • R.J. Hottovy | Head of Analytical Research |

Sponsored by

| Lunch & Learn

Unleash Your POS

  • Greg Schmitzer | President & Co-Founder | Mad Mobile

Sponsored by Mad Mobile
Greg Schmitzer
President & Co-Founder
Mad Mobile

| Breakout Session

Why Customer Visit Data is the Missing Ingredient in Your Marketing Plan

In recent years, the email address has become the holy grail of customer contact information. But in reality, unless you’re collecting the guest’s email address with every in-store and online purchase, it only tells half the story… especially for restaurants. Understanding your guests can only truly be achieved when you have visibility into both the online and offline relationship your customers have with your restaurant, and in-store customer visit data is the missing link.

In this session, we will explore the benefits of customer visit data as well as ways to leverage this information to drive your bottom line. We’ll also dive into case studies and tangible tactics showcasing how visit data will be the key competitive advantage to marketing success for restaurants moving forward.

  • Alonso Castañeda | VP of Brand Development & Strategy | Savory Restaurant Fund
  • Akash Kapoor | Founder & CEO | Curry Up Now
  • Harold Walters | Co-Founder & CEO | Shootz Hawaiian

  • Caroline Keros | Senior Account Executive | SOCi

Sponsored by SOCi
| Breakout Session

Addressing Today’s Mental Health Crisis: Key to Managing Staffing and Reducing Turnover

Three-quarters of employees report at least one symptom of a mental health condition in the past year, with 84% of those reporting at least one workplace factor negatively impacting their mental health. 

Economic uncertainty, stressful working environments, and more challenging interactions with guests and co-workers make restaurant and hospitality work more difficult than ever before. Despite this growing need for mental health support, many restaurant employees either don’t have or don’t know how to access mental health resources. Restaurant operators who promote a healthy work environment by getting employees the help they need are seeing better daily staffing, reduced turnover, and higher overall job satisfaction. 

Our panel of experts include an industry-leading mental health professional, a crisis manager, a legal expert, and an operator who will discuss what the current crisis looks like, why having an EAP alone may not be enough, and how to cost effectively offer resources and support to your employees.

  • Adenah Bayoh | Founder, Franchisee | Cornbread, IHOP
  • Amy Hom | Chief Operating Officer & Chief People Officer | Bluestone Lane
  • Kelly McCutcheon | Vice President of People | Hopdoddy Burger Bar

  • Michelle Harden | Managing Partner | Messner Reeves
  • Roslyn Stone | CEO | Zero Hour Health

Sponsored by Messner Reeves, Zero Hour Health

| Break
Sponsored by Minna

| Breakout Session

How to Culturally Inspire Your Workers to Give More Effort

With rising food and menu prices, supply chain delays and shortages, and major staffing concerns, restaurant operators are spending more time and effort than ever on managing operations. But what if their employees could share the burden?

This session focuses on giving organizations the tools and actionable tips needed to culturally inspire hourly employees toward the discretionary effort needed to rise above the challenges facing the foodservice world.

  • John Pepper | Founder | Boloco
  • Steve Schulze | Co-Founder & CEO | Nékter Juice Bar

  • Jordan Ekers | Co-founder & COO | Nudge, an Axonify company

Sponsored by Nudge
| Breakout Session

AI: Getting Up Close and Personal With Your Customers

Few will argue that the restaurant industry is embracing AI. Brands of all sizes are exploring the technology, but how can operators be sure they are getting the most out of their investment in AI?

This session features operators who have not only deployed AI in back- and front-of-house operations, but who also use technology to collect customer data to help them better engage with each guest. For example, what if you knew the perfect discount to offer a particular customer by studying past purchases and syncing that with social media conversations? AI makes all of that --- and more --- possible.

  • Eric Easton | Chief Financial Officer | Ampex Brands
  • Logan Hull | Director of Digital Restaurant Experience & Managing Director of Robotics | Chipotle Mexican Grill
  • Gracie Prasanson | VP of Sales | Jason's Deli

  • Stacey Kane | Restaurant Marketing Consultant

Sponsored by Skellam AI

| Break
Sponsored by Minna

| 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 2023 and beyond.
  • Chris Baggott | CEO | ClusterTruck
  • Jeff Chandler | CEO / President | Hopdoddy Burger Bar & HiBar Hospitality Group
  • SG Ellison | President & Franchisee | Diversified Restaurant Group
  • Patrick Renna | President | BurgerFi

  • Sam Gerace | CEO |

Sponsored by

| Summit adjourns

View 2021 Agenda


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