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October 8-10, 2023 | Louisville — Early Bird registration ends June 2. Register Now



| Registration

Registration Opens for Food Tour Participants

All attendees, sponsors and speakers must check in at the registration desk and pick up a name badge. Please wear your badge at all times during the Summit.

| Food Tours

Fast Casual Food Tours

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

Tours include:

| Registration opens

| Welcome & Opening Remarks
  • Cherryh Cansler | VP of Events | Networld Media Group

| Opening Keynote

Session Topic – Coming Soon!

Keynote Speaker:
  • JJ Johnson | Founder & Chef | FIELDTRIP

Sponsored by Botrista Technology
Keynote Speaker
JJ Johnson
Founder & Chef

| 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 2023 inductees into the Fast Casual Hall of Fame.

  • Cherryh Cansler | VP of Events | Networld Media Group

| 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.


| Registration & Breakfast

| Breakfast Briefing

Session Topic – Coming Soon!

Sponsored by AT&T Business

| 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), a $3,500 prize and 6 months of free service with Ovation!

Nominations now open!

Nomination Deadline: June 30, 2023

  • Matt Friedman | CEO | Franchise Founders
  • Rick Timmons | Co-Founder | Flake Pie Co.

Sponsored by Ovation

| Break

| Breakout Session

Is Your Brand Too Stacked?

Restaurants of all sizes have spent the past few years investing in a variety of technologies to help them understand the health of their brands, gain visibility into their spend management and streamline many of their processes. Although automation is imperative to cutting costs, brands are starting to minimize their tech stack and are focusing on “one-stop shop” solutions as they lack the bandwidth to manage so many platforms.

The tech gurus on this panel will reveal their strategies.

  • Prakash Karamchandani | Co-Founder | Balance Pan-Asian Grille
  • Andrew Maxwell | Owner & Operator | Boojum

  • Brian Foster | Vice President of Customer Success | Orderly by Siftit

Sponsored by Consolidated Concepts
| Breakout Session

Mastering Multi-Location Marketing

Although multi-location marketing requires a consistent brand message between locations, each store has its own unique needs.

This session will give you strategies to keep your branding on target while also addressing specific needs.

  • Alessandro Biggi | Founder | Avocaderia
  • Taylor Fischer | VP of Marketing - Fast Casual Division | FAT Brands
  • Karin Silk | Chief Marketing Officer | Qdoba Restaurant Corporation
  • Charles Watson | CEO | Tropical Smoothie Cafe

Sponsored by UMI

| Break

| Breakout Session

Growing with a Leaner Team

Shortages when it comes to hiring cashiers, cooks and drivers aren’t the only labor issues facing the industry; corporate and franchise teams are also leaner than ever, which means those positions could use a little boost from technology as well as operations experts.

This session will teach you how the use of smart technology, combined with real estate brokers, in-house development and construction expertise can help you grow without hiring a new team.

  • David Bloom | Chief Development & Operating Officer | Capriotti’s & Wing Zone
  • Jami Bond | VP of Franchise Development | Goodcents

  • Taj Adhav | CEO | Leasecake

Sponsored by Leasecake
| Breakout Session

Charting a New Course with Loyalty Marketing

Brands are struggling. Just consider these statistics from a recent study:

  • 54% find it difficult to interpret customer data and understand the needs of the moment.
  • 53% are challenged with creating personalized advertising experiences.
  • 47% said it is hard to deliver the right message at the right time, and 42% are struggling to find the right channel.
  • 23% are unsure what promotions will be most effective.
  • 19% can't change their strategy quickly enough to respond to unforeseen events.

So what’s a brand to do? Chart a new course, of course, and this panel will show restaurants how to rethink where and how they engage customers.

  • Bob Andersen | President | The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill
  • Chris Artinian | President & CEO | Condado Tacos
  • Josh Halpern | CEO | Big Chicken

Sponsored by Vericast

| Lunch & Learn

Session Topic – Coming Soon!

| Breakout Session

Exploring Leadership Pathways for Equitable Representation

Although nearly half (47.8%) of all restaurant employees are minorities with workers of color comprising nearly half of the restaurant industry and women making up 54% of all restaurant workers, the leadership team at most brands do not reflect those numbers.

This session discusses how different perspectives and approaches are invaluable to any successful company and how your brand can create intercultural teams and strive to strengthen the diversity within the organization. 

  • Rickey McBride | Co-owner | HJ SMS OpCo (Happy Joe's)
  • Phillip Scotton | Franchise Owner | PRIMO Partners (Ben & Jerry's)

Sponsored by Tork
| Breakout Session

Driving Profits at the Drive-Thru

Although having a drive-thru used to symbolize cheap, fast and low-quality food, customers expect their favorite fast casual brands to offer the convenient service without sacrificing food quality. This panel of experts will discuss how and why they are adding drive-thrus to their service models.
  • Jim Bitticks | President & COO | Dave's Hot Chicken
  • Rian McCartan | CEO | Swig
  • James Walker | CEO | Frisch’s

  • Jake Berkowitz | VP of Enterprise Sales | Revel Systems

Sponsored by Revel Systems

| Break

| 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:

  • How to Refuel On-Premise Dining | Sponsored by QikServe

| Break

| Breakout Session

Using Restaurant Design Trends to Streamline Operations

It’s tempting to rebrand or plan redesigns when you see the competition rolling out new logos, equipment and service models, but redesigns work best when done in tandem with operations teams.

This session will feature brands that have tested prototypes or remodeled in an effort to speed up service and enhance the customer experience.

  • Max Sheets | Founder & CEO | Chick N Max
  • Susan Taylor | President & CEO | Juice It Up!

Sponsored by Kitchen Brains
| Breakout Session

Optimizing Your Menu to Speed Up Service

Optimizing your menu across channels is one of the most important tools when it comes to increasing customer satisfaction – which results in higher check spend and more frequent visits.

This session explores how and why menu optimization can yield a high ROI when done correctly and how technology can help you not only manage your menu but teach your employees how to work faster and smarter.

  • Scott Johnson | Head of Marketing | Smashburger & JFCNA
  • Adam Terranova | Sr. Director of Growth | WOWorks
  • Annie Tselikis | Director of Marketing & Franchise Sales | Cousins Maine Lobster

Sponsored by Toast

| Break

| Keynote Session

Session Topic – Coming Soon!

| General Session

FastCasual Fashion Show

Check out the industry's hottest styles as models strut down the runway showing off this season's must-have uniforms and accessories.
Sponsored by Threads Uniform Agency

| Offsite Event

Dinner Party at the Frazier History Museum

Join us for cocktails, dinner and live music from vocal ensemble Radius at the Frazier History Museum, the official starting point of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

Sample some of Kentucky’s famous bourbons and learn about the history, craft and culture of Bourbon inside an authentic speakeasy.

This private dinner party is included with your Summit registration at no additional cost. First buses leave at 6:20 for the 5-minute bus ride.

Sponsored by Botrista Technology


| Breakfast

| Breakfast Briefing

Session Topic – Coming Soon!

| 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.

  • Creating a Hiring Experience That Encourages Long-Term Employee Engagement | Desmond Lim
  • How To Be a Hot Concept Without Fizzling Out| Mike Speck
  • Lauren Coulter | Director of Franchise Sales & Development | Biscuit Belly
  • Desmond Lim | Co-Founder & CEO | Workstream
  • Mike Speck | CEO & Partner | FUSIAN

Sponsored by Workstream

| Break

| Breakout Session

Doing More with Less — Maximizing ROAS During Economic Uncertainty

It’s been a tough year for many industries as high inflation plagued the economy, forcing vendors across all industries to largely raise prices and consumers to pull back on spending. While the dining vertical has seen continued success thanks to value-based offerings, convenience and menu innovations, restaurant marketers are not immune to the pressure as budgets face increased scrutiny, and are thus forced to do more with less. As a result, marketers are forced to drive highly efficient campaigns, motivated to maximize Return on Ad Spend and drive sales.

Join this discussion to learn more about what tactics and strategies marketers can use to maximize campaign efficiency while still driving campaign performance.

  • Rob Elliott | EVP of Marketing | Hungry Howie’s
  • Amy Hom | Chief Operating Officer & Chief People Officer | Bluestone Lane
  • Stacey Kane | Restaurant Marketing Consultant
  • Carin Stutz | Board Member | Kura Sushi USA

  • Alicia DiStefano | VP, Practice Lead | InMarket

Sponsored by InMarket
| Breakout Session

Embracing AI without Killing Your Budget

Cutting costs, reducing errors, improving customer satisfaction and enhancing the customer experience are just a few benefits of incorporating artificial intelligence into operations, but upgrading systems isn’t always affordable.

This session shows you the pros and cons of a variety of higher-tech solutions.

  • Joe Buonavolanto III | VP of Franchising | The Buona Companies
  • Steve Lieber | VP Franchise Business Development | BurgerFi

  • Ryan Gaylor | VP of the Restaurant Vertical | Upside

Sponsored by Upside

| Break

| Breakout Session

Driving ROI Through Offers and Discounts

Freebies can sometimes be the expectation for fast casual restaurants, but are they helping or hurting you? This panel will teach attendees how to craft offers and discounts that drive new adoption and keep franchisees or investors happy while also helping you grow your brand by using data to determine the best timing for offers.
  • Dan Harmon | CEO | Playa Bowls
  • Doug Willmarth | President | MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes

  • MaryBeth Maskovas | Founder, Director of Analytics | Insight Lime Analytics

Sponsored by Insight Lime Analytics
| Breakout Session

Session Topic – Coming Soon!

| Lunch & Learn

Session Topic – Coming Soon!

| Breakout Session

The Metaverse, NFTs, ChatGPT, Oh My!

Old-school marketing isn’t cutting it these days as customers expect their favorite brands to be available to them whenever and wherever they are.

Learn how combining tech-savviness with creative marketing campaigns will elevate your presence.

  • Geoff Alexander | President & CEO | Wow Bao

| Breakout Session

Session Topic – Coming Soon!

| Break

| Breakout Session

Making Your Brand Investment Worthy

Whether your brand is looking to get acquired or is in need of funds to help expand and navigate the challenges spurred by labor shortages, supply chain and higher food costs, this session will teach what investors seek in a solid investment.

Hear directly from brands that have secured funding and from investors who will share what types of restaurants they avoid and what gets them to open their checkbooks.

  • Thomas Kim | CFO | Smoothie King
  • Davide Macchi | Co-Founder & CEO | Due' Cucina
  • Gregg Majewski | CEO | Mongolian Concepts and Craveworthy Brands
  • Sarah Rigsbee | Chief Financial Officer | Farmer's Fridge

| Breakout Session

Session Topic – Coming Soon!

| Break

| General Session

CEO Roundtable / State of the 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 2024 and beyond.
  • William Dissen | Executive Chef & Owner | The Market Place Restaurant / Billy D's Fried Chicken
  • Steve Heeley | CEO | Pokeworks
  • André Vener | Founding Partner | Dog Haus Worldwide

Sponsored by

| Summit adjourns

View 2022 Agenda


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