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Giving Franchisees the Power of Customization without Diluting Your Brand

We live in a real-time world, which means restaurant chains not only must be flexible with menu offerings, they need to market those changes quickly and effectively.

This session will help attendees understand how to customize and localize corporate marketing messages without straying too far from the brand’s core message. Experts will also discuss how each unit can strike the right balance between incorporating the local flavor without compromising the company’s overall decor, look and feel.


Scott Ford | President | Goodcents Franchise Systems

Scott Ford has more than 30 years experience building and leading top brands in the restaurant industry. As the president of Goodcents Franchise Systems, Ford oversees the strategic vision of the business, including franchise growth and overall customer experience. Ford lead the charge on a successful new digital consumer interaction and ordering strategy for the business, as well as new up-to-the-minute reporting technology for franchisees and e-learning platform for training new employees. Prior to joining Goodcents in 2010, Ford held various leadership positions at Applebee’s and Boston Market.

Patrick Renna | Chief Financial Officer | Wahlburgers

Patrick is the CFO of Wahlburgers, a Boston based burger restaurant founded by Executive Chef Paul Wahlberg, and celebrity brothers Mark and Donnie Walhberg. Patrick was most recently CEO at Boloco, a fast casual globally inspired burrito chain, where he also served as CFO for four years. Prior to that Patrick was CFO at Sebastian’s Café and Catering, where he spent four years overseeing all financial and administrative policies and procedures for the company; this included leadership during the company’s most profitable growth period. Previously, he held CFO positions at Fresh Concepts, which operates fast casual restaurants under the name Fresh City and Souper Salad.

Ryan Smolkin | Founder & CEO | Smoke’s Poutinerie Inc.

Ryan Smolkin’s first display of entrepreneurial spirit began at Wilfred Laurier University where he studied business and built up $4 million in rental assets before selling them in 2004. Moving forward, he began the development of Smoke’s Poutinerie as the first poutine-centred QSR in the world. Smoke’s Poutinerie has been growing at an astoundingly fast pace and has been recognized within the industry by receiving a number of accolades, such as the Pinnacle Award for Company of the Year, the Hospitality Award for Fastest Growing Company in Canada, and most recently Strategy Magazine’s 2015 Brand of the Year. Currently, Smoke’s Poutinerie has over 200 stores across North America.


Melissa Marquis | VP of Business Development | GFX International

Melissa Marquis is the Vice President of Business Development for GFX International. GFX International is a retail execution company with decades of experience in retail, fast casual, QSR, family dining, hospitality, grocery, etc. Melissa joined GFX in 2013, with the focus and responsibility to provide solutions to retailers and restaurant chains in both décor and POP execution. Her team is focused on reducing costs and timelines for restaurant chains and retailers using technology to drive smart marketing and décor distributions based on store specific profiles. As an executive, Melissa ensures that GFX International continues to invest in technology to streamline processes and exposing additional cost savings for clients.

session sponsor