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Breakout Session / Tuesday / October 15, 2024 / 1:30 PM

From Storefronts to Stadiums: Strategic Expansion for the Fast Casual Restaurant

Fast casual brands of all sizes are trading in traditional locations for airports, gas stations, college campuses and arenas. This session features executives sharing how they identified the best areas and venues for their businesses while expanding brand awareness, boosting convenience and cutting costs.


Jason Ganahl | Founder | GQue BBQ
Jason Ganahl, founder GQue BBQ, is a celebrated figure in the world of Barbecue. There isn’t anything he hasn’t done in BBQ. As a competitor, He is a KCBS certified BBQ judge, has won a combination of 19 Grand and Reserve Grand Championships in professional BBQ contests. Perfect scores in each category, Including a Team of the year award and induction into the RMBBQA Hall of Fame. Following the success as a competitor Jason opened his first Restaurant in Westminster Colorado in 2018. Since opening, GQue Has received Countless Best of Awards and has been featured on Food Network and Cooking Channel. GQue BBQ now has 7 locations in the front range including Empower Field, Home of the Denver Broncos and Coors Field Home of the Colorado Rockies.
Jack Mashini | Co-Founder & Franchisor | Wing Snob
Jack Mashini is the proprietor and operator of Wing Snob, a restaurant chain based in Warren. The rapid expansion of Wing Snob can be attributed to the strategic approach taken by Mashini and Brian Shunia. In the early days, both Mashini and Shunia dedicated themselves to the first restaurant, working tirelessly seven days a week until they were confident enough to take a step back. This hands-on approach was replicated with each new location, leading to years of relentless work as they built their teams and established the systems necessary to ensure the smooth operation of their growing enterprise. Today, Mashini’s focus has shifted towards refining these systems and expanding their customer base. Wing Snob launched their redesigned mobile app and the overhaul of their loyalty rewards program, Snob Perks. For Mashini, Wing Snob is more than just a business. He affectionately refers to it as his “third child”. The pride he feels for what he, Shunia, and their teams have accomplished in less than six years is immense, and they are only just getting started.
Jason Rusk | SVP Restaurant Operations | Wonder
Jason Rusk leads the Restaurant Operations group at Wonder, a VC-backed food-tech startup company whose goal is to be the super app for mealtime bringing high-quality food from chef-backed restaurants. Wonder’s accelerated growth strategy of new brick-and-mortar locations gives guests the ability to order across multiple restaurants and cuisines in under 35 minutes through a fully integrated end-to-end platform. Prior to Wonder, Jason served as Chief Business Development Officer of Red Robin, where he oversaw Franchise Operations, Food & Beverage, Supply Chain, Development, and Off-premise channels. During his tenure, he helped scale Red Robin from a regional brand to over 550 locations nationwide. He led the strategy for Red Robin’s future, from new prototype to interior design and in-restaurant experience. Most recently he spearheaded the rollout of Donatos Pizza, the foray into on-demand services including delivery, catering, and online ordering, which contributed more than $500 million to the top line.
Doug Willmarth | President | MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes
Doug Willmarth is the President of MOOYAH Burgers, Fries and Shakes, a growing 90-unit fast casual restaurant company where he is working to revitalize the brand and accelerate unit growth. Throughout his career, Doug has specialized in building iconic brands and creating sustainable sales growth in restaurants and consumer retail. In addition to MOOYAH, Doug’s restaurant experience includes roles as Chief Brand Officer for Mongolian Concepts, Chief Marketing Officer at Wingstop, and Director of National Marketing for Pizza Hut. Doug started his business career in CPG marketing at PepsiCo and Kraft Foods, and served 9 years as a Naval Aviator.