TUESDAY / OCTOBER 11, 2016 / 3:30 PM
This grand finale session brings together some of the industry’s top CEOs, who will talk about the latest issues of the day and what it takes to succeed in fast casual.
Phil Greifeld | CEO | Captain D’s
Phil is a proven industry leader with a highly successful track record of growing sales and profits in fast-paced, multi-unit restaurant chains. Phil is a hands-on, highly-engaged leader, with a savvy and systematic approach to business. He has implemented numerous strategies spanning all operating disciplines with a heavy emphasis on brand positioning and evolution, menu and product development, operational engineering and franchising and development. Phil became President & CEO of Captain D’s in September of 2010. Since taking the helm, Phil has led an exciting brand transformation of the brand.
Andrew Gruel | CEO & Founder | Slapfish
Andrew Gruel, a graduate of Johnson & Wales University, is currently the CEO and Founder of Slapfish Restaurant Group, the award-winning food truck turned international brick and mortar, based out of Huntington Beach, CA and Co-Owner of Butterleaf Restaurant and Two Birds Chicken. Andrew has appeared on multiple television series including his most recent role as a judge on Food Network’s Chopped Junior. He was recently the Host of FYI Series “Say It To My Face” as well as a judge on Food Network’s “Food Truck Face Off.” He has made appearances on the TODAY show, PBS, Cooking Channel, and has been featured in numerous publications.
Linda Vap | President | HuHot Mongolian Grill
Linda Vap is the president and founder of HuHot Mongolian Grill. An experienced restaurant executive, Linda has an impressive 35-year career in the restaurant industry. She is responsible for overseeing all departments of the company with a focus on finance, accounting, and company development. Linda has considered herself a mentor to many young business people during her career. Linda’s current focus is on HuHot Mongolian Grills, the brainchild of Linda, Dan, and their son, Andy. The first HuHot location replaced a struggling Godfather’s Pizza restaurant, and opened in 1999. Shortly thereafter in 2002 HuHot sold its first franchise. Conservative yet steady growth has followed and HuHot now spans most of the Midwest with 59 locations in 16 states. During development, the Vap team put a heavy emphasis on the development of the pan-Asian flavors of their 12 signature sauces. Either instincts or luck have positioned HuHot well for current trends and Linda expects strong growth to continue.
David Wolfgram | CEO and President | Yalla Mediterranean
As a seasoned restaurant-industry veteran with more than 35 years of experience building successful concepts from the ground up, David Wolfgram introduced Yalla Mediterranean to Northern California in 2014. David began his career in the restaurant industry in the 1970s managing Hedon Place, an independent restaurant in Chicago. He later joined Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (LEYE), a multi-concept restaurant company, at which he held a variety of positions for a number of establishments. In 1991, he co-founded Maggiano’s Little Italy and the Corner Bakery Café. He then led the development of the fast-casual concept BoudinSF before joining Black Angus Steakhouse.
Matt Steiger | Director, Business Development | Heartland Commerce
Matt Steiger has over 25 years supporting technology initiatives in the restaurant industry by directing sales and marketing efforts for companies delivering best in class solutions. His background includes officer level positions with responsibility for marketing, key account sales, strategic alliances and general management. Now focused on strategic account development he directs programs to enhance market awareness of Heartland Commerce. Matt represents the Heartland Commerce portfolio of products and services to ensure growth in market share and profitability. He also initiates and cultivates relationships with key executives at restaurant enterprise companies to achieve strategic business goals identified by the customers, and Heartland Commerce, to derive mutual value. He also provides project oversight for major account system deployments and supports RFI/RFP responses for the company.