Restaurant Franchising & Innovation Summit | Louisville 2018

MONDAY / APRIL 9, 2018

2:30 pm | Registration opens

3:30 pm | Opening Keynote Session

Drumstick-roll please: KFC exec to share secret (branding) recipe

If you’ve ever wondered how a 65-year-old brand can stay relevant in today’s digital world, KFC’s director of advertising has you covered. George Felix, who has led the brand’s marketing over the past 2 1/2 years, will share his secret recipe on how KFC is resonating with both millennials and Baby Boomers.

Spoiler alert: Sometimes, it involves embracing the weird.

Under Felix’s leadership, working with Wieden+Kennedy, KFC has come up with several unusual ways to connect with younger consumers — including creating chicken-scented sunblock and launching a chicken sandwich into space — but it hasn’t forgotten about its older demographic.

Felix, for example, was instrumental in bringing Colonel Sanders back as an advocate for the brand. Of course, his team has put a modern and funny twist on the character hiring a revolving list of actors, including Billy Zane, Rob Lowe, George Hamilton, Jim Gaffigan, Rob Riggle and Norm Macdonald, to portray the beloved colonel.

George Felix | Director of Advertising | KFC U.S.

  • Sponsored by Welbilt


George Felix
Director of Advertising

4:30 pm | Community Give-Back Party

Last year we made just over 10,000 peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches in one hour for the benefit of Dallas area people in need. This year we will be making PB&J sandwiches and bagging apples for the Louisville community. Our community partner is Dare to Care Food Bank.


5:30 – 7:30 pm | Opening Reception

Join us at the start of the Summit for a chance to network with attendees, speakers and sponsors over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

  • Sponsored by Scorpion

TUESDAY / APRIL 10, 2018

7:00 am | Registration & Breakfast

8:00 am | Opening Remarks

8:00 am | Opening Remarks

• Cherryh Cansler | Director of Editorial | Networld Media Group
Collin Holmes | Founder & CEO | Chatmeter

8:15 am | General Session


In this session, you will hear three 15-minute, thought-provoking talks that will leave you challenged and inspired.

From Passion to Purpose: Life Lessons from the Chicken Salad Chick
Stacy Brown | Founder | Chicken Salad Chick

The Importance of Effective Franchise Communications, Globally
Joe Christina | CEO | Church’s Chicken

Trust in Transparency
• Steve Rothenstein | Sr. Director of Franchising | Dippin’ Dots

  • Sponsored by Chatmeter

9:00 am | Refreshment Break

9:30 am | Breakout Session

Leveraging Your Suppliers to Cut Costs and Increase Profits

Restaurants obviously can’t run without proper services and equipment, but many brands unknowingly leave money on the table by not leveraging their relationships with suppliers and partners.

From tapping suppliers’ in-house chefs to help you with menu development to empowering your supplier to help you design your kitchen flow, this panel will show you how to squeeze as much out of your partnerships as possible.

Bob Andersen | CEO | Jimboy’s North America
• John Inwright | President | Quality Supply Chain Cooperative (Wendy’s)
• Peter Riggs | President & CEO | Pita Pit

Melissa McCormick | SVP, Global Sales, Service & Marketing | Taylor Company

  • Sponsored by Taylor Company

9:30 am | Breakout Session

Franchisees Tell All: Are You Listening?

Rolling out anything new – whether it’s adding a new menu item or deploying the latest technology to help streamline operations – is often a challenge in the franchise world.

Franchisees often feel pressured to spend money that they don’t have, and franchisors can become frustrated at what they perceive as a franchisee’s lack of passion for growth.

This session features franchisees who have a successful and mutually beneficial relationship with their franchisors. As franchisees, they will tell attendees what they need and expect from the corporate office in order to be profitable.

• Daven Acker | Franchisee | Pizza Inn
• Mike Monson | Franchisee | Sub Station II
• Julie North | Franchisee | Chicken Salad Chick

• Tim Tang | Director, Enterprise Solutions | Hughes Network Systems

10:30 am | Refreshment Break

11:00 am | Breakout Session

Conquering the Industry’s Top 5 Revenue Drainers

Cost cutting is a huge challenge—whether it’s controlling labor issues, managing the increasing costs of commodities, enhancing the menu, rolling out technologies to improve the customer experience or simply innovating to keep up with customer demands. Execs in this session share what keeps them up at night and what they do to keep costs down.

• Doug Hogrefe | Partner | 4-Top Hospitality Group
• Spencer Rubin | Founder | Melt Shop
• Carin Stutz | EVP & COO | Red Robin

• Paula Carren | VP of Marketing | Gusto

  • Sponsored by Gusto

11:00 am | Breakout Session

Taking Your Brand to the Streets

Food trucks, which were once seen only as an economical way to provide foodservice to worksites, are now finding popularity with a variety of brick-and-mortar restaurant chains – big and small. While some brands are using these restaurants on wheels as a way to market their standard concepts, others are solely operating mobile businesses.

This session will not only uncover how brands can use food trucks and stalls as marketing vehicles, but will also focus on best practices when it comes to franchising a mobile concept.

• Gonca Esendemir | Co-Founder & CMO | Flatbread Grill
• Rich Mainzer | Chef/Owner | The Boneyard Truck
Shemar Pucel | Director of Franchise Marketing & Development | sweetFrog

• Cherryh Cansler | Director of Editorial | Networld Media Group

12:00 pm | Lunch

12:15 pm | Welcoming Remarks

Greg Fischer | Mayor | Louisville Metro Government

12:30 pm | Lunch  & Learn

Automation and Robotics: The Past, Present, and Future of Your Kitchen

Don Hawkins, Jr. | Group VP, Emerging Chains, Government & Retail | Middleby Corporation

  • Sponsored by Middleby Corporation


Don Hawkins, Jr.
Group VP, Emerging Chains, Government & Retail
Middleby Corporation

1:15 pm | Breakout Session

A Look at Legality: What to Consider in Franchise Negotiations

Targeted toward franchisors in the relatively early stages of development (5-75 locations) or to those who are looking to diversify their franchising options to attract more partners, this session will teach attendees to ask the right questions during negotiations.

Experts will discuss: diversifying contract options, when to give more power to franchisees, accountability issues, rights, standards, obligations and procedures.

Chip Hamm | Attorney | Kaplan & Partners LLP
Bert Lane | Sr. Director of Franchise Development | Arby’s
• Richard Simtob | President/Partner | Zoup!

Justin Mink | Senior VP of Sales | Scorpion

1:15 pm | Breakout Session

Is Your Customer Experience Franchise Worthy?

Perfecting the customer experience is the first step toward building a successful franchise model, but guaranteeing that your customers have a delightful interaction with your brand doesn’t start when they order. And it certainly doesn’t end at payment.

The customer experience actually starts much earlier….with a guest’s hungry stomach…. and ends long after they’ve finished their meals. Today’s brands must do everything in their power to please the guest at each stop along their journey from choosing where to eat, what to order and how to pay to what food photos to post and who to tell about their experience.

Experts in this session will share with franchisees how to keep menus up to date while streamlining even the most complicated orders and how to increase accuracy and improve speed of service.

Scott Ford | President | Goodcents Franchise Systems
Marla Topliff | President | Rosati’s Pizza
Brian Unger | President & COO | Long John Silver’s

• Ken Willis | Vice President | MicroSale

  • Sponsored by MicroSale

2:15 pm | Refreshment Break

2:30 pm | Breakout Session

How to Alleviate the Stress of Growth on your Marketing Team

Although opening new locations is always a top goal of any brand, entering a high-growth period creates a lot of strain on support staff. The marketing division, specifically, is often stretched too thin as adding locations means increasing marketing collateral, consideration of delivery of those materials to each location and the need for localized offers.

This panel will address methods of simplifying the marketing supply chain, empowering franchisees with localized marketing materials and encouraging franchisees to use marketing materials more frequently and effectively. It’s not just about making things easier, it’s about getting you and your team back to your core function and realizing the value of your time.

• Allen Arnn | Director of Operations Services | Nothing Bundt Cakes
Sean Kennedy | President | Cowboy Chicken
Scott Taylor | President | Walk-Ons

• Kathi Woolsey | Director of Business Development | Visualogistix

  • Sponsored by Visualogistix

2:30 pm | Breakout Session

I’ll Take Digital To Go

Your customers live and work digitally on computers, tablets and smartphones, and they expect you to live there, too. Constantly on-the-go, today’s consumers are demanding seamless and advanced ordering options when it comes to their daily meals.

This session will explore what it takes to win over customers via digital platforms, including mobile apps, digital menu boards and online ordering, as well as how a multi-channel approach is key to winning over lifelong fans.

Jodie Conrad | VP of Marketing | Fazoli’s
Jacqueline O’Reilly | Sr. Director of Marketing | La Madeleine
Warren Solochek | President of Foodservice Practice | The NPD Group, Inc.

Allyson Klineman | Director of Agency Services | LevelUp

  • Sponsored by LevelUp

3:30 pm | Refreshment Break

4:00 pm | Breakout Session

Is Your Culture Making Your Leadership Quit?

This session dissects what a culture and training program entails and offers tips and techniques to create employee loyalty and retention. Specifically, experts will discuss how they upgraded their recruiting, training and onboarding processes by incorporating digital mediums.

Attendees will also learn how to identify and stop sources of monetary, reputational and company culture losses.

• Travis Doster | Sr. Director of Public Relations | Texas Roadhouse
• John Hughes | Brand Ambassador | Jersey Mike’s
• Dennie Laney | VP of Training & People Development | MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes

• Peter McLaughlin | Sr. Director, Customer Success | PlayerLync

  • Sponsored by PlayerLync

4:00 pm | Breakout Session

The Future of Marketing: What Eggs Should I Put in Which Baskets?

The technology boom has led to countless ways to get a brand’s message in front of people. But what’s the best mix, and is there still a place for classic mediums, such as print, radio and TV ads?

Our experts will discuss how to get the most out of present-day marketing efforts and what to expect when planning for the 2020s.

• Anna Duffy | Director of Marketing Implementation & Digital Strategy | Taziki’s Mediterranean Café
• Scott Iversen | VP of Marketing | Toppers Pizza
• Laura Sporrer | Director of Franchise Development | HuHot Mongolian Grill

• Karen Wenning | Business Development Manager, S4 MRC | Suttle-Straus

  • Sponsored by Suttle-Straus

6:00 – 9:00 pm | Dinner Party

Evan Williams Bourbon Experience

Located on downtown Louisville’s historic “Whiskey Row,” the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience features an artisanal distillery, guided tours, educational Bourbon tastings, and more! Celebrating the legacy of Evan Williams, Kentucky’s first commercial distiller, this immersive experience brings to life the history and tradition of Kentucky’s native spirit. Dinner provided by Feast BBQ, including pulled pork and chicken sliders with a variety of appetizers and desserts.

This private dinner party is included with your Summit registration at no additional cost. Transportation will be provided.

  • Sponsored by Welbilt


8:00 am | Breakfast & Learn

What’s in a name?

At the home of “The Whopper”, Burger King might say just about everything. Naming new products is part of the same business pursuit as innovation itself. We’re seeking differentiation. New customers. A multiplier on sales. Yet when it comes to naming products the process is often emotional and without practice discipline. In his brief breakfast discussion, Jerry Preyss, CEO of Scoppechio and former CEO of branding consultancy Interbrand Cincinnati, will share usable criteria for fast tracking the development of a great name for your next new product.

• Jerry Preyss | CEO | Scoppechio

  • Sponsored by Scoppechio


Jerry Preyss

9:00 am | General Session

Brain Exchange

The Brain Exchange breaks attendees into small groups to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing restaurant operators today. These informal group discussions allow attendees to learn from one another’s mistakes and successes.


10:30 am | Refreshment Break

11:00 am | Breakout Session

Using Mixology to Liven Up Your Menu without Confusing Your Customers

Beverages are more than just something to grab with your burger. These days, entire concepts are thriving around the juice, tea, coffee and smoothie sectors, and major food brands don’t want to be left behind. That being said, it’s important to make sure your beverage offerings complement your food menu and your brand.

This session will show operators how to mix up a few beverage offerings to help drive profits.

• Peter Boylan | President | Ballard Brands
• Jonathan Luther | Co-Founder & Proprietor | JJ’s Red Hots
• Steve Schulze | Co-Founder & CEO | Nékter Juice Bar
• Nicole Shepard| Innovation Brand Manager | Dunkin Brands

• Michelle Davis | Senior Director of Sales | F’real Foods

  • Sponsored by f’real

11:00 am | Breakout Session

Why Catering to the Business Diner Will Grow Your Profit

Realizing that connections made over a meal drive understanding and shared perspectives, corporations and small businesses spend more than $60 billion each year in restaurants and via catering.

But how can franchises get a piece of that action?

This session will reveal a variety of tips and tricks to help operators not only grow their off-premise catering business but also to help them appeal to corporate teams looking for a go-to place for their next business lunch or dinner.

• Ed Keller | Director of Off Premise Sales | Corner Bakery
Michelle Matthews | VP, Direct Sales | Dickey’s Barbecue Pit
Chris Patheiger | Head of Business Development & Partner | Uncle Smoke Cookhouse

• Joe Macchio | VP Strategic Partnerships | Dinova

  • Sponsored by Dinova

12:00 pm | Lunch

12:45 pm | Breakout Session

Mastering Mobile Marketing

More than half of U.S. diners (60 percent) search only on their mobile devices when deciding where to eat, which is why it’s imperative for restaurateurs to use mobile marketing techniques to attract customers. And that’s just Step 1 in conquering digital marketing.

With 88 percent of people reporting that they’re influenced by reviews and online comments, Step 2 is learning to take a proactive approach to social media and online reviews.

This session will give brand leaders the tools to transform themselves and their teams into master mobile marketers.

Liz Bazner | Digital Manager | A&W Restaurants
Matt Friedman | CEO | Wing Zone
Mary Newell | Director of Marketing & Brand Loyalty | Texas Roadhouse
 James Park | CEO | Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh

Kevin Murray | Manager, Professional Services | MomentFeed

  • Sponsored by MomentFeed

12:45 pm | Breakout Session

Is Your Franchise Ready for the Technology Revolution?

The franchise industry is undergoing a Technology Revolution, and resisting is futile. Early adopters are already using a variety of technology platforms to improve the customer experience via kiosks, digital menu boards, apps and alternative payment. They are also discovering how tech can cut labor and supply chain costs and streamline their business operations.

Chris Caldwell | CIO | KFC
Brad Gardone | VP of Information Technology | Long John Silver’s
• Mike Nettles | CIO | Papa John’s

• Lauren Smith Madden | Attorney | Frost Brown Todd
• Jason Williams | Attorney | Frost Brown Todd

  • Sponsored by Frost Brown Todd

1:45 pm | Refreshment Break

2:00 pm | Closing Keynote Session

Freshii: A Global Health Food Movement

At 23 years old, Matthew set out to create a restaurant brand that would help people all over the world live healthier and longer lives with fast food that is convenient and affordable. Enter Freshii: a brand which is now growing at a faster pace than Starbucks. Today, Freshii has over 240 locations in countries around the world, and Matthew is well on his way to building a billion-dollar business.

Matthew offers audiences insight on business success and what it takes to grow a successful global brand. He inspires audiences interested in growth, leadership, company culture, and embracing opportunity. A self-described ‘American-attitude CEO,’ Matthew’s direct speaking style will motivate audiences rethink their approach to business, risk and opportunity.

At the same time, he talks about the need for businesses to have a positive effect on the world. Matthew’s beliefs in the power of the triple bottom line: people, profit and the planet, will inspire audiences to achieve success by strategically tapping into this new consumer mindset.

Matthew Corrin | Founder & CEO | Freshi

Ashley Dalziel | Chief People Officer | Freshii


Matthew Corrin
Founder & CEO

3:00 pm | Summit adjourns

Agenda and speakers are subject to change.


Take Your Team to the Summit!

Restaurant/Foodservice Operators who register two attendees may add a third attendee at no additional cost.

Group discount does not apply to Franchise Brokers/Consultants or Vendors.


The Westin Buckhead Atlanta

Rate: $199/night* | Deadline: 7/19/21
* Subject to availability at time of booking.

Click below to book online or call 1-800-937-8461 and mention Restaurant Franchising & Innovation Summit.


Starting at under $7,000

Sponsoring the Summit will put you in meaningful conversations with executives in your target market.

Download the Sponsor Prospectus to learn more.