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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 is the President and Chief Operating Officer for Dave’s Hot Chicken. He oversees the day-to-day operation of the company with direct oversight over operations, training, procurement, construction, and technology. Jim joined the Dave’s team when there were just four restaurants and has helped grow the brand to 150 locations across the U.S., Canada, and the Middle East. Prior to his current role, Jim was the Chief Restaurant Officer and EVP of Operations, Training, and Construction for Blaze Pizza, and oversaw the successful growth of that brand from two restaurants to three hundred seventy-two restaurants before making the move to Dave’s.
Eric Knott | Chief Operating Officer | PDQ Restaurants
Eric Knott is a restaurant executive with a proven track record built upon operational excellence, driving revenues with favorable returns, and a passion for developing best in class teams. Currently leading the fast casual brand People Dedicated to Quality (PDQ) as the Chief Operating Office, Eric has committed over a decade to driving strategic growth across the business. Understanding the importance of a holistic vision, Eric is directly responsible for producing results through a vast array of incentives. Innovation across Operations, Technology, Real-Estate, and Marketing campaigns are a few examples of how Eric has created superior value to the organization.
John Lucas | VP of Brand & Franchise Development | Farmer Boys
John Lucas is an industry veteran with over 35 years of hospitality and restaurant experience. In his role, John ensures Farmer Boys upholds our consistent operational standards and delivers a high-quality, reliable guest experience in every restaurant. Additionally, Lucas oversees all the system’s franchised locations and is responsible for building upon Farmer Boys’ high service standards at those locations. Lucas joined the Farmer Boys team in 2017 as a franchise business consultant and now serves as the Vice President of Brand and Franchise Development.
Chase Wardrop | Chief Operating Officer | Swig
Chase Wardrop is Chief Operating Officer of Swig, one of the fastest-growing beverage companies in the country. After graduating in 2015 at the age of 24, he co-founded The Soda Shop in his hometown of Gilbert, Arizona. The Soda Shop became a widely popular brand locally and grew to two stores in less than a year. In 2017, a majority stake of The Soda Shop was purchased by Savory Fund, which merged The Soda Shop with the original soda brand, Swig. Since the merger, Swig has opened 54 corporate stores, seen positive sales growth for 5 years straight, and has increased both operational efficiencies and profitability. In 2022, Swig was purchased by Utah icon The Larry H. Miller Company in a nine-figure deal — an acquisition that Franchise Times named Deal of the Year. In February 2023, Swig launched multi-unit franchising, and six months later, it secured 250 franchise units in seven new markets — and is on track to secure 500 units by the end of the year.

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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