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October 8-10, 2023 | Louisville — Early Bird registration ends June 2. Register Now

SPEAKERS

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS


JJ Johnson
Founder & Chef | FIELDTRIP
JJ Johnson is an award winning Chef, Founder, TV Personality and Author. JJ presents an environment for connection through food that transcends people, memories, and generations. His diligent efforts toward the food industry has amounted to untouchable accolades: James Beard Award Winner for Best Author and Nominations for Best Chef and Rising Star NYC, Forbes and Zagat 30 under 30, and 2 time Best New Restaurant of the Year Winner by Esquire Magazines. His ability to combine culturally-relevant ingredients with classical technique is showcased at FIELDTRIP, a quick-casual rice bowl shop located in Harlem that highlights rice traditions from around the world with globally-inspired flavors and techniques. Catch him today on his TV show, Just Eats, airing on Cleo TV.


PANELISTS & MODERATORS


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.
David Bloom
Chief Development & Operating Officer | Capriotti’s & Wing Zone
David Bloom's early career in the restaurant and hotel industries included working with and for some of the most iconic brands and leaders in their respective industries where he learned how to strategically accelerate sustainable brand expansion. Having grown up in the restaurant industry in and around NYC, David’s entrepreneurial career began as a large multi-unit franchisee and serving as the SVP of Brand Expansion for Quiznos, growing it from a small regional brand of 18 restaurants to opening over 5,000 locations in 28 countries. Subsequent senior roles included the rapid growth of numerous enterprises including; Clockwork Home Services, Bridge International Academies based in Nairobi, Kenya, Famous Brands International and as President of Office Evolution. Today, David is responsible for all aspects of franchise development and operations for Capriotti’s and scaling a recently acquired fast casual concept Wing Zone to new heights.
Cherryh Cansler
VP of Events | Networld Media Group
Before joining Networld Media Group as Vice President of Events, Cherryh Cansler spent several years as VP of Editorial managing the Networld’s nine B2B publications. Throughout her 20-year career as a journalist, she’s written about a variety of topics, ranging from the restaurant industry and technology to health and fitness news. Her byline has appeared in a plethora of newspapers, magazines and websites, including Forbes, The Kansas City Star and American Fitness magazine. She also serves as the managing editor for FastCasual.com.
Josh Halpern
CEO | Big Chicken
Josh Halpern is the Chief Executive Officer for Big Chicken. Josh is a dynamic, partnership-focused, thought leader with a robust career in streamlining efficiency, driving innovation, building diverse engaged teams, and growing economic results across the CPG, retail, and restaurant verticals. Most recently, Josh served as the Chief Sales Officer for FIFCO USA, the 8th largest US brewing company, where he was responsible for commercial operations and building top and bottom-line results for Off-Premise, On-Premise, and company-owned brewpubs. Prior, Josh led the Anheuser-Busch InBev, On-Premise and Small Format channels in the US, and Shopper Marketing globally.
Prakash Karamchandani
Co-Founder | Balance Pan-Asian Grille
Prakash Karamchandani is a self-proclaimed foodie and technology junkie who co-founded Balance Pan-Asian Grille, a nationally-acclaimed fast-casual Asian fusion multi-unit concept based in Ohio. Since starting the venture in 2010, Prakash has been recognized as a Top 24 Fast Casual Executive and a 20 Under 40 recipient. He is a graduate of the University of Toledo where he received his bachelor’s degree in business administration and met his company’s co-founder. Prakash is a proud husband and father of two.
Mike Speck
CEO & Partner | FUSIAN
Mike Speck has significant experience in Operations, Training, HR, Business Acquisitions and Senior Level Leadership, in both corporate and franchise national high growth casual dining and fast casual service restaurant companies. He is the Chief Executive Officer & Partner of Fusian and CEO, Co-Founder of Paceline Restaurant Partners (FUSIAN development arm) with full responsibility for building the organizational, operational and financial businesses of FUSIAN, and emerging brands; The Wizard of Za and Hunny Bee’s Crispy Fried. In addition, he is also an active Board Member, former CEO with Asian Box. Immediately prior was Chief Operating Officer of The Halal Guys, the New York City most iconic brand.” Other experience with unique brands of Qdoba, Red Robin and Steak and Ale proudly credit a life long good fortune of mentorships. Mike is also a professional mentor at the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business and has been a past chairman for the National Restaurant Association HR Executive Group.
Adam Terranova
Sr. Director of Growth | WOWorks
André Vener
Founding Partner | Dog Haus Worldwide
Along with his two business partners, André Vener co-founded Dog Haus in April 2010, with the mission of elevating stadium food classics into culinary masterworks. Over the last decade, Dog Haus has expanded from its Pasadena, CA, base to nearly 50 locations from coast-to-coast. André and his partners have spearheaded the craft-casual brand’s rapid expansion by forming alliances with leading ghost kitchen networks, an innovative partnership with Live Nation and the 2020 introduction of The Absolute Brands – a suite of virtual restaurant concepts spun off from several of Dog Haus’ signature menu items, such as the Bad Mutha Clucka. Prior to co-founding Dog Haus, André served as Executive Producer of Pasadena Entertainment, where he produced hundreds of events in venues of all sizes, including The Rose Bowl, Los Angeles County Arboretum, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and more. André founded and operated redwhite+bluezz, an award-winning restaurant and jazz club that served great food, wine and live music for eight years.


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