10:00 am | Registration open for Food Tour participants

11:00 am – 3:00 pm

Fast Casual Food Tours

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

Tours include:

Jars Juice
Kigo Asian Kitchen

  • Sponsored by Gusto

3:00 pm | Registration open

5:00 pm | Opening Remarks

• Cherryh Cansler | Editorial Director |

5:10 pm | Opening Keynote

Winning not Fighting. What the history of LEON and Bruce Lee’s martial art of Wing Tsun can teach us about the restaurant industry.

Launched in 2004, LEON, a quick-service brand based in the UK, set out to prove that fast food can taste good, do you good and be kind to the planet. LEON’s founder and CEO John Vincent will share his vision behind the brand known for serving fun, fresh food quickly and at an affordable price.

He will discuss his strategy for bringing the best food to the most people, his outlook on building a brand with purpose and how the key to LEON’s successful growth has been its people.

  • Sponsored by Welbilt


John Vincent
Founder & CEO
LEON Restaurants

6:00 – 8:00 pm | Networking

Welcome Reception

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

  • Sponsored by Steritech


7:00 am | Registration & Breakfast

8:00 am | General Session


In this session, you will hear three 15-minute, thought-provoking talks that will leave you challenged and inspired.


Marketing to Gen Z
Jeff Fromm | President | FutureCast

John Lebel | CEO | Anthony’s Pizza & Pasta

How to Get Off Struggle Bus
Kathleen Wood | Founder and CEO | Kathleen Wood Partners | Suzy’s Swirl

  • Sponsored by Gusto

9:00 am | Refreshment Break

9:30 am | Breakout Session

How to Execute Winning Marketing Campaigns

Well-executed marketing campaigns are critical to how your customers experience your brand. Step one is simplifying the process while still delivering localized menu pricing, unique product offerings and franchise customization.

The most successful brands understand that their teams must be flexible enough to roll out timely market campaigns, nimble enough to respond to competitor moves and sophisticated enough to track all the variable data.

This session will help you conquer all your marketing challenges.

Susie Fogelson | Founder | F&Co.
Rachel Layton | VP of Marketing & Growth | Taziki’s Mediterranean Café
Linda Veatch | VP of Marketing | Fuzzy’s Taco Shop

Melissa Marquis | VP, Business Development | GFX International

  • Sponsored by GFX International

9:30 am | Breakout Session

Overcoming the Obstacles to Becoming a More Sustainable Brand

Consumers, especially millennials and members of Gen Z, have high expectations when it comes to sustainability and hygiene, and those don’t wane when they think about eating out.

While it can be expensive on the front end to be more energy efficient, offer recycled products or clean up supply chains, for example, operators can win the ROI long game.

The big secret? Using innovation to improve efficiency, which leads to both lower environmental impact and lower costs.

Scott Davis | President & CCO | CoreLife Eatery
Gonca Esendemir | Co-Founder & CMO | Flatbread Grill

  • Sponsored by Tork

10:30am | Refreshment Break

11:00 am | Breakout Session

Protecting your Marketing Team From Burning Out

Entering a high-growth period creates a lot of strain on support staff, especially the marketing division, which is often already stretched too thin managing marketing efforts of existing stores. Combine that with the needs of a new location, and your team could face serious burn out as they add new marketing collateral, consideration of delivery of those materials and the need for localized offers to their workload.

This panel will address methods of simplifying the marketing supply chain, helping franchisees take on some of their own local marketing materials and encouraging franchisees to use marketing materials more frequently and effectively.

Natalie Anderson-Liu | VP of Marketing | MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes

Kathi Woolsey | Director of Business Development | Visualogistix

  • Sponsored by Visualogistix

11:00 am | Breakout Session

Chipotle’s Food Safety Turnaround and Lessons Learned

If you’re looking for a brand that both exemplifies and understands the importance of food safety, look no further than Chipotle Mexican Grill. After a period of incredible growth, it recently endured one of the most publicly visible foodborne illness outbreaks of the last two decades.

Despite this, Chipotle has transformed its food safety approach by working to address issues at their root and create a robust and thriving food safety culture. Join us for a discussion led by Doug Sutton, president of industry leading food safety provider Steritech along with Dr. James Marsden, executive director of food safety at Chipotle. You’ll discover how Chipotle is re-capturing the hearts of customers with the help of its innovative approach to food safety, and walk away with a better understanding of how to implement its successes at your own locations.

Dr. James Marsden | Executive Director of Food Safety | Chipotle

Doug Sutton | President | Steritech

  • Sponsored by Steritech

12:00 pm | Lunch & Learn

  • Sponsored by Middleby Corp.

12:45 pm | Breakout Session

The Hungry Searcher: Menus, Attributes, and Attracting Diners in Unbranded Search

We’re witnessing a massive shift in the ways consumers search for food every day. It used to be when you searched for a restaurant online, you got 10 blue links back on a screen, clicked the one you want and get re-directed the restaurant’s site. Today, intelligent services are giving you direct answers and they’re surfacing more types of information than ever before, and diners crave more information than ever. In fact, according to a Yext study:

Almost 70% of searches for restaurants today are unbranded–meaning they’re being done by cuisine type or food item.
83 percent of consumers read a restaurant menu online before deciding where to eat
More than 76 percent of diners were more likely to choose a restaurant that provided information about price range, dress code and meals served right in the search results.

And more than 67 percent of diners consider three or more options before deciding where to eat, begging the question, does your restaurant, your menu, and other information about the business stand out?

How do you make sure when a customer searches for a menu item like “pizza” or a highly specific search like “casual restaurant with wifi that’s good for kids,” they choose you, and not your competition?

This session will explain what restaurants need to be thinking about in this new age, and what they can do to be found and chosen by today’s hungry searchers.

Akash Kapoor | CEO & Co-Founder | Curry Up Now
Benedict Koenig IV | Founder | Heritage Eats

  • Sponsored by Yext

12:45 pm | Breakout Session

Why Your Old-School Training Methods are Failing

If your employees are still reading boring training manuals or watching outdated videos, it is time for an upgrade. Restaurant employees, especially millennials and members of Gen Z who have grow up with technology, expect a variety of hands-on technology to teach them about your business.

By using tablet-based content delivery and control systems, for example, fast casuals can quickly and easily deliver eLearning content, recipes, manuals and messages to employees.

This session will take a look at a couple case studies where upgraded training methods led to better communication among team members, more efficient training and lower turnover rates.

Mike Chissler | COO | Holler & Dash
Tom Ferguson Jr. | CEO | Rise Biscuits Donuts

Peter McLaughlin | Sr. Director, Customer Success | PlayerLync

  • Sponsored by PlayerLync

1:45 pm | Refreshment Break

2:15 pm | 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.


3:30 pm | Refreshment Break

4:00 pm | Breakout Session

How to Create an Omni-Channel Digital Experience that Drives Customer Engagement, Retention, and Spend

Constantly on-the-go, today’s consumers demand seamless and state-of-the-art ordering options when it comes to their daily meals. They’re looking to engage with restaurants in entirely new ways that come with rewards and promote loyalty.

While your app and website represent key touchpoints for guests to understand your brand and offerings, customers also look to order from the places in which they already live and work: Facebook, Amazon, Google, Yelp, and Foursquare. A multi-channel digital approach is therefore critical to winning over lifelong fans.

This session will teach you how to provide your customers with a full digital experience using your website, app, social media channels and more. We’ll also explore how digital channels can pull in analytics that improve customer engagement, retention and spend.

Stephen Dutton | Consumer Foodservice Analyst | Euromonitor International

  • Sponsored by LevelUp

4:00 pm | Breakout Session

When Should New Diets Become Part of the Menu?

Fad diets have become so commonplace that restaurant brands often find themselves trying to incorporate menu items to fit some of those needs without alienating non dieters.

The popularity of Atkins, for example, has faded, but Atkins-friendly options, such as lettuce wrapped burgers, is proof that some diets become more than just fads. But how do you know when to embrace or ignore diet trends?

One could argue that today’s Atkins is the Paleo Diet or even the Keto Diet. Both — like Atkins — are heavy on the protein and low on carbs. Does that mean pizza and burger brands need to find innovative ways sans bun and crust to please those eaters?

This panel of experts will answer those questions and more about catering to diet trends.

Maria Pourteymour | Co-Founder | Luna Grill
Patrick Sugrue | President & CEO | Saladworks

  • Sponsored by Simmons Foods

6:30 – 10:00 pm | Dinner Party

Chihuly Garden and Glass

After a full day of informative and inspiring sessions, get ready for an evening of great food and great conversation at Chihuly Garden and Glass. Located in the heart of Seattle next to the iconic Space Needle, immerse yourself in a world where curiosity, creativity and color come to life. Throughout the Galleries, ever-changing Garden and signature Glasshouse, attendees will experience a comprehensive look at Chihuly’s most significant series of work.

This private dinner party is included with your Summit registration at no additional cost. Transportation will be provided.

  • Sponsored by Welbilt


7:30 am | Breakfast

8:00 am | Morning Breakfast Briefing

  • Sponsored by Chatmeter

8:30 am | General Session

The Perfect Pitch

Following a global contest, three concepts will be selected to be part of The Perfect Pitch. Listen and learn as entrepreneurs pitch their fast casual concepts to a panel of distinguished investors and consultants who will provide on-the-spot advice.

Susie Fogelson | Founder | F&Co.

  • Sponsored by Lamb Weston

8:30 am | General Session

The Perfect Pitch

Following a global contest, three concepts will be selected to be part of The Perfect Pitch. Listen and learn as entrepreneurs pitch their fast casual concepts to a panel of distinguished investors and consultants who will provide on-the-spot advice.

  • Sponsored by Lamb Weston

9:30 am | Refreshment Break

10:00 am | Breakout Session

Keeping up with the Kitchen Trends

Creating innovative menu offerings is the backbone of fast casual industry success, but it often requires brands to embrace new trends in kitchen equipment in order to produce those must-have items.

Whether it’s investing in new equipment to serve more innovative offerings, adopting equipment that can perform multiple functions or simply adding more attractive equipment seen by customers via open kitchens and front-of-house prep stations, restaurateurs must be up on all the latest kitchen trends.

This session will not only uncover those trends but will also weigh the pros and cons of kitchen upgrades and discuss how to get the most out of your equipment budget.

Adam Baird | Executive Chef | The Habit Burger Grill
Drew French | Founder & President | Your Pie
Aaron Noveshen | Founder & President | Starbird & Culinary Edge Ventures

  • Sponsored by Taylor Company

10:00 am | Breakout Session

Why ‘Right Now’ is the Best Time to Embrace Artificial Intelligence

Incorporating artificial intelligence into restaurant operations may have seemed like a pipe dream just a few years ago, but several brands are now making it a reality.

Pizza Hut, for example, is already testing self-driving cars and drones for delivery, and the fast casual burger joint, Caliburger, launched a burger-flipping robot for its kitchens. KFC is developing a restaurant that uses AI face recognition technology to infer what a customer may order, and several chains have implemented AI, automated-speech-recognition, mobile ordering to better serve their customers.

Multiple questions arise with these new technologies: are they suitable for all types of restaurant brands? Does the ROI make sense? And, how can brands ensure that these systems succeed?

Experts on this panel will not only discuss those concerns but will also give tips on keeping costs down when implementing AI.

Nicole West | Director of Digital Commerce | Chipotle

Steve Bigari | Founder & CEO | SYNQ3

  • Sponsored by SYNQ3

11:00 am | Refreshment Break

11:15 am | Breakout Session

More at Risk than Food Safety: The Growing Concern of (Payment) Fraud

While food safety is a problem that can kill a restaurant brand, it’s certainly not the only pitfall that brands must avoid. Regaining customer trust after a data breach incident isn’t impossible, but it’s not easy. This session features executives from a few brands that were able to learn from their breaches and win back customers.

Eric Ersher | Founder & CEO | Zoup!

  • Sponsored by Kount

11:15 am | Breakout Session

How Not Knowing Your Customers Can Kill Your Customer Experience

Keeping your customers happy is getting harder as their appetites for technology and innovation increase. They expect you to meet them where they are — on their phones. And in order to meet those expectations, you must know who they are and what they want. This session will give you best practices on not only collecting customer data but how to use it to create loyalty programs and personalized offers and discounts that will improve sales. It will also discuss good old fashioned local area marketing.

AJ Rochow | CMO | Cali Group
Steve Schulze | Co-Founder & CEO | Nékter Juice Bar

Brad Christian | Chief Customer Officer | Market Force

  • Sponsored by Market Force

12:15 pm | Lunch

  • Sponsored by Campbell’s Foodservice

1:00 pm | Breakout Session

Stopping Cannibalization From Gobbling Up Your Profits

Growing without the fear of increasing the number of locations is always a brand’s top goal, but the fear of cannibalization can often eat into that progress.

This session will teach restaurateurs how to uncover the true market potential of the area and optimize the locations of distribution channels to capture all sales potential without over-saturating the market.

Attendees will also learn how to define their trade areas, how to figure the true market potential and how far apart locations need to be in order to prevent significant cannibalization.

Kevin King | Chief Development Officer | Smoothie King
Charles Watson | Chief Development Officer | Tropical Smoothie Cafe

  • Sponsored by Buxton

1:00 pm | Breakout Session

Using Social Media to Up Your Customer Service Game

All operators understand the importance of showing guests excellent customer service when they come into the business, but consumers expect top online customer service, too.

In fact, 67 percent of consumers now utilize networks like Twitter and Facebook for customer service requests, and 33 percent of consumers even prefer to contact brands using social media rather than a phone call.

This means every message, mention and wall post that comes in via social media has the power to influence that consumer’s opinion of your business and her likelihood to visit. Implementing a social media customer service strategy can increase the annual customer satisfaction scores by 20 percent, according to recent research, which is why this session will teach attendees the top ways to extend great customer service on social media.

It will also discuss how to handle bad online reviews and how to prevent them in the first place.

Colleen Glendinning | Director of Social Media & PR | Toppers Pizza
Otto Othman | CMO & Co-Founder | Pincho Factory
Reed Slobusky | Owner | SkinnyFATS

  • Sponsored by Thanx

2:00 pm | Refreshment Break

2:15 pm | Breakout Session

Is Your Restaurant Running Your Managers, Or Are They Running Your Restaurant?

More often than not, your restaurant is running your managers as opposed to the other way around. Your team functions in a reactionary mode to the crisis of the day or gets caught in shortcutting routines and procedures because of other competing priorities of the business.

That is exhausting and stressful for managers and teams, and sadly, the store’s performance in the eyes of the customer is only as strong as your weakest manager and how well they follow and enforce operating standard and routines.

Old-school checklists and processes no longer cut it, which is why this session will teach attendees how to leverage technology to take back control of their restaurants.

Ryan Egozi | Director of Operations | SuViche Hospitality Group
Chris Patheiger | Head of Business Development & Partner | Uncle Smoke Cookhouse

Paul Rubin | Chief Strategy Officer | PAR

  • Sponsored by PAR

2:15 pm | Breakout Session

Why 4 is The Magic Number When it Comes to Inspiring Customer Loyalty

As the consumer’s dining options continue to rise, the cost of customer acquisition for restaurant brands increases and customer loyalty decreases. To get a good return on investment from acquiring new customers, it is more important than ever that those experiencing a brand for the first time become repeat customers.

The challenge is to motivate a second, third, and fourth visit. If the brand can nurture guests to the fourth visit, the payback is excellent. In fact, a Paytronix study showed that it is 90 percent likely that those who visit a fourth time will continue to visit on a regular basis.

For limited-service brands a first visit, whether guest will return is 50/50. After two visits, there’s a 70 percent chance. And by the fourth visit there’s an 85 percent chance that they will be back within in six months.That’s quite a compelling reason to create and implement a marketing strategy that is focused on getting as many guests as possible to their fourth visit. This session will show brands how to do it.

Frank Paci | CEO | Corner Bakery

  • Sponsored by Paytronix

3:15 pm | Refreshment Break

3:45 pm | General Session

CEO Roundtable / State of Industry

This panel packed with successful CEOs will talk about the latest issues of the day and what it takes to succeed in fast casual.

Sam Ferreira | President | Gloria Jean’s Coffees
Michael Mabry | President & COO | MOOYAH
James Park | CEO | Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh
Sean Pourteymour | Co-Founder & CEO | Luna Grill

  • Sponsored by Xenial

5:00 pm | Summit adjourns

Agenda and speakers are subject to change.

Group Discount

Take Your Team to the Summit
Register two attendees from your company and get a third registration at no additional cost! Sign up early to take advantage of discounted pricing.


Hotel Reservations

Hyatt Regency Lake Washington
at Seattle’s Southport

1053 Lake Washington Blvd N
Renton, WA 98056

(425) 203-1234

Rate: $239/night* | Deadline: 9/17/18
* Subject to availability at time of booking.


Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsoring the Summit will put you in meaningful conversations with executives in your target market. Opportunities are available for almost any budget. Download the Sponsor Prospectus to learn more.



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

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