WEDNESDAY / MARCH 30, 2016 / 9:30 AM

International Franchise Development & Expansion: Why You Don’t Have to be Big to Go Big

Many smaller franchisors incorrectly assume they cannot participate in the growing importance of international markets. This panel will explore the myths that keep smaller brands from going international from supply chain and training issues to outlandish costs and loss of brand control.


Shawnon Bellah | COO | Crest Foods Inc. (franchisor of Nestlé Toll House Café by Chip)

Shawnon Bellah is Chief Operating Officer of Crest Foods Inc., franchisor of the successful Nestlé® Toll House® Café by Chip® concept. Bellah began her career in the hospitality industry with Razzoo’s Cajun Café before moving to Metromedia Restaurant Group in 2001. She worked in Bennigan’s franchise operations until 2008, when she was hired as Director of Training and Menu Development for Nestlé Toll House Café. Bellah was promoted to VP, Operations in January 2009, to SVP of Global Operations one year later and to her current position in 2015. Under her direction, AUV has continued positive sales growth and café counts have continuously grown in the U.S. Bellah also initiated the opening and growth of the concept in the Middle East and Canada. The franchise organization now has more than 2,000 employees and 150 cafés. She was featured on CBS’ “Undercover Boss” in Dec. 2015.

Sean Brennan | CEO | The Pie Hole

Sean lives with his wife and daughter in Los Angeles where he and his partner, Matty Heffner, operate the multi-unit “The Pie Hole” pie and coffee concept. Sean has been in and out of the culinary world since his first busboy job at age 14. His upbringing in Wisconsin laid the background for his philosophies on modesty, customer service, and work ethic. Sean has 20 years of service and organizational leadership experience, is a Fulbright scholar, and has an undergraduate degree in education and a masters degree in organizational development.

Rafik Farouk | VP, Franchise Ops. and Dev. | Consolidated Restaurant Operations, Inc.

Rafik Farouk has served as CRO’s Vice President of Franchise Development and Operations since February, 2005. He has worked with restaurant brands that include Chili’s Grill & Bar, El Chico, Cantina Laredo, III Forks Prime Steakhouse, Silver Fox Steakhouse, Cool River, Champs Americana, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Seattle’s Best Coffee, specifically in the Middle East. Rafik specializes in global restaurant operations, sourcing for international and domestic clients, and positioning brands for international and domestic growth. He has successfully leveraged his knowledge of two cultures to unite business leaders to develop and grow a variety of businesses.


Anke Corbin | Founder & CEO |

Anke is the founder and CEO of, an international marketplace that provides global on-demand knowledge, digital tools, resources, vendors, and connections for product managers, marketers, technology startups, operations, and HR teams to accelerate global expansion. Her background includes executive positions in sales, marketing, product management, and business development for technology startups and enterprise companies including MapQuest, Time Inc., Times Mirror Magazines, and more. Anke has a MA in Integrated Marketing and enjoys traveling, languages, skiing, hiking, biking, cooking, and enjoying good food with family and friends.