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Breakout Session / Tuesday / October 10, 2023 / 10:30 AM

Embracing AI without Killing Your Budget

Cutting costs, reducing errors, improving customer satisfaction and enhancing the customer experience are just a few benefits of incorporating artificial intelligence into operations, but upgrading systems isn’t always affordable.

This session shows you the pros and cons of a variety of higher-tech solutions.


Joe Buonavolanto III | VP of Franchising | The Buona Companies
Joe Buonavolanto is a 3rd generation owner and operator of the Buona Companies (Buona Restaurants & The Original Rainbow Cone Ice Cream Shop). Joe has been an integral part of the company tripling revenues and units since 2011, and is well versed in all things quick-serve and fast casual. In 2022, Joe was promoted to Executive Vice President of Franchising & Growth as the company takes aim on nationwide expansion for it’s Buona Restaurants and Original Rainbow Cone Ice Cream shops. Joe lives in the Chicago suburbs with his wife and two children.
Steve Lieber | VP Franchise Business Development | BurgerFi
Steve Lieber is an expert in designing restaurant concepts, the art of pizza making and is a certified pizzaiolo from Italy. As Vice President of Franchise Development, Steve leads the team who sold over 150 franchises to over 50 franchise groups. His team has sold franchises in 20+ states and international deals in Kuwait and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Our teams built systemwide restaurant sales of $100+ million USD in under 5 years. Steve was on opening restaurant teams for 10+ states in the United States. He taught franchisees recruiting techniques, training and operating systems, professionalism, food ordering and preparation, inventory controls, labor controls, local store marketing to increase sales and profitability of all locations.

Ryan Gaylor | VP of the Restaurant Vertical | Upside
Ryan Gaylor is the VP of the Restaurant Vertical at Upside. Ryan has over 20 years of experience bringing innovative solutions to the market, as well as finance and capital markets. Ryan’s experience spans across product management, financial analysis, business development, sales and leadership roles at several early and late stage technology companies. Ryan graduated from the University of Michigan and also obtained his MBA from Northwestern.
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