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BREAKOUT SESSION / TUESDAY / OCTOBER 5, 2021 / 1:10 PM

Fueling Up Your Bottomline with Beverage Innovation

By incorporating and promoting new and interesting beverages, restaurants have been able to quench customers’ thirst and appeal to new customers and different dayparts. Fast Casuals can take this a step further by energizing their customers through beverage innovation. With a stimulating 10.5% increase in energy drink and caffeine-infused beverage sales and a high rate of ongoing consumption by nearly half of the of-age US population, restaurant operators are keeping pace by incorporating energizing beverages into their menus.

This session will feature brands that are exploring beverage innovations from ready-to-drink options and craft cocktails to shakes and smoothies.

PANELISTS

Steve Felson | VP of Operations | Bonchon

Steve Felson is the Vice President of Operations for Bonchon International with oversight for the brand’s Operations, Training, Food Safety and Restaurant Opening teams. Steve has more than 20 years’ experience across multiple restaurant industry segments spanning a number of roles. Prior to joining Bonchon, Steve worked with the fast-casual chain BurgerFi leading Operations, Training and Marketing and, prior to that, as the Director of Field Training and Restaurant Openings for Denny’s restaurants. Steve received a B.A. degree in English from Stetson University.

Steve Schulze | Co-Founder & CEO | Nékter Juice Bar

Now with more than 170 locations, another 200 in development and $100 million in systemwide sales, Steve Schulze, as CEO, has grown Nékter Juice Bar into the clear leader and pioneer of the $2 billion juice bar industry. Founded in 2010 upon a promise to reinvent a restaurant category that had lost its way, Nékter Juice Bar has been a catalyst for change, vowing ingredient integrity and authenticity across its menu of 100% freshly made, nutrient-rich and entirely clean juices, Superfood smoothies, acai bowls, cleanses, and a variety of healthy snacks.

Charles Watson | CEO | Tropical Smoothie Cafe

Charles Watson is the CEO at Tropical Smoothie Cafe and focuses on the strategic vision and sustainable growth of the franchise system. Prior to being named CEO in December 2018, Charles served as the Chief Development Officer for Tropical Smoothie Cafe. Under his leadership, the Tropical Smoothie Cafe system grew from 265 units to 725 units. Tropical Smoothie Cafe currently has more than 975 locations nationwide and will open its 1,000th location in 2021. A veteran franchise professional, Charles has worked for several hospitality-related companies. Charles is a graduate of The Hotel School at Cornell University and holds an MBA from The Terry School of Business at The University of Georgia.

MODERATOR

Zach Goldstein | Founder & CEO | Thanx

Zach Goldstein is a die-hard Sacramento Kings fan; it was through many losing seasons where he first learned the value of loyalty. He founded Thanx in 2011 with the goal of helping merchants identify, reward and retain their best customers / die-hard fans. Previously, Zach worked with retail and tech giants at Bain and Company, where he focused on customer satisfaction and retention. He received his MBA from Stanford and shivered his way to a BA at Dartmouth.

session sponsor