Breakout Session / Monday / October 9, 2023 / 1:30 PM
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
Jim Bitticks was promoted from COO to president and chief operating officer of Dave’s Hot Chicken in 2021. A 30-year restaurant operations veteran, Bitticks started in the restaurant industry as a teenager and climbed the ranks at CKE Restaurants to become vice president of operations in the San Diego market. He joined Blaze Pizza in 2013 to lead operations and training and later became chief restaurant officer to help that concept grow from two to more than 350 locations.
Rian McCartan | CEO | Swig
Rian McCartan is the CEO of Swig, Home of the Original Dirty Soda™ and leader in the customized beverage category. He joined Swig in September 2022, prior to its acquisition by Utah icon The Larry H. Miller Company. McCartan’s leadership has been instrumental during the company’s explosive growth: Swig has nearly 50 corporate locations, will add 25 more in 2023, and recently announced multi-unit franchising. Prior to Swig, McCartan was the former Vice President of Global retail and real estate for See’s Candy, a Berkshire Hathaway Company. In the first half of his career, he held leadership positions with Fortune 500 retailers such as American Eagle Outfitters, Williams-Sonoma, Inc., and Skechers U.S.A. He was also a consultant for several leading startups in the direct-to-consumer space, which led him to executive roles at Will Leather Goods in Portland, Ore., and Tecovas in Austin, Texas. McCartan’s expertise shines in joining emerging brands, pre-scale, and then strategically guiding them through hyper growth and high unit counts.
James Walker | CEO | Frisch’s
Mr. James Walker is one of the restaurant industry’s most accomplished and sought-after executives, familiar with the QSR, Fast Casual and Casual Theme segments. Walker is an authority in restaurant technology and delivery channels, with a focus on building a best-in-class customer experience, domestic and international development, operations, new product innovation, menu evolution, and brand (re)positioning. Currently Mr. Walker holds the position of CEO for Cincinnati-based Frisch’s® Restaurants, a 75-year-old American Comfort Food, Casual Theme Restaurant brand, famous for its “Big Boy®” burgers. Prior to Frisch’s, Mr. Walker held the CEO position for ultrafast grocery startup, BUYK, located in New York City. Walker has more than 30 years of broad-based, senior level, management experience in the hospitality and retail industries for brands such as Nathan’s Famous®, Baja Fresh®, Cinnabon®, and Subway®.
Jake Berkowitz | VP of Enterprise Sales | Revel Systems
Jake Berkowitz is the Vice President of Enterprise Sales at Revel Systems and currently oversees enterprise sales, as well as the sales engineering group. During his tenure at Revel, he’s been responsible for winning some of the company’s key accounts, and has built Revel’s enterprise division from the ground up. Prior to joining Revel, Jake oversaw new market launches for Cake (formerly Leapset), and played a role in the company’s successful acquisition by Sysco Foods. He brings with him a deep understanding of restaurant and retail industries, cultivated from over 10 years of selling experience.
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