WEDNESDAY / MARCH 30, 2016 / 4:00 PM

State of the Restaurant Industry

Operating a restaurant brand of any size is a challenge especially with the variety of legislative issues facing the industry. This panel of experts will give attendees insight on how to navigate their brands through everything from food safety procedures and minimum wage increases to menu labeling and the ACA implications.


Fredric Cohen | Founding Partner | Cheng Cohen LLC

Ric is a seasoned business and commercial litigator and trial lawyer. He represents clients in state and federal trial and appellate courts across the country as well as in alternative dispute resolution forums such as arbitration and mediation. Ric has extensive experience in the areas of antitrust, intellectual property, valuation, technology and finance, among others. He has helped franchisors develop programs to protect and enforce their intellectual property rights like trademarks and trade secrets, and he regularly defends franchisors against fraud, breach of contract, good faith and fair dealing, tortious interference, registration and disclosure violations and similar claims.

Carl Howard | President & CEO | Fazoli’s

Carl T. Howard was recruited by Sun Capital Partners to be the President and CEO of Fazoli’s Restaurants, Inc. in June 2008. Carl has diligently worked to rebrand and revitalize the Fazoli’s “Fast Fresh Italian” concept. After successfully repositioning Fazoli’s, the brand was sold to Sentinel Capital Partners in 2015. Since joining Fazoli’s every sales and EBITDA record has been posted. The franchise system has been same sales positive for 67 of the last 70 months and the brand is once again growing new units. In 2015 Fazoli’s will open 12-15 new units and is expected to sign 10-15 new franchisee development agreements.

Matt Walker | VP, Government Affairs | National Restaurant Assoc.

Matt leads the NRA’s advocacy strategy in the U.S. Senate and supports efforts directed at the U.S. House of Representatives and the Administration. The NRA represents the nation’s second largest private sector employer, an industry that employs over 14 million people and has annual sales in excess of $709.2 billion. Prior to joining the NRA, MATT worked in Congress for 14 years, most recently as the longtime Deputy Staff Director and Chief Counsel of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship and senior aide to U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine). A Maine native, Matt earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and an Interdisciplinary in Legal Studies from the University of Maine and a Juris Doctor from the Maine School of Law.


Tracy Markie | Chairman and Chief Product Development Officer | Small Box Energy

Tracy Markie, Chairman and Chief Product Development Officer for Small Box Energy, has more than 30 years of experience with the development and implementation of control systems and energy management solutions spanning across traditional building automation to cutting edge technology and sustainability solutions. He is a published author and presenter, with articles on the subjects of automation and energy management appearing in more than a dozen national publications. Tracy is a Certified Energy Manager through the Association of Energy Engineers, and recently served on the GridWise Architecture Council, a group appointed and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

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