March 20-22, 2023 | Coral Gables, FL — Early Bird registration ends Feb.10. Register Now


MONDAY // MARCH 20, 2023

| Registration Opens

| Welcome & Opening Remarks
  • Cherryh Cansler | VP of Events | Networld Media Group

| Opening Keynote

Catch the Wave! How Strategic Alliances Can Impact a Brand’s Growth Strategy

Buena Onda, celebrity Chef Jose Garces’ Baja inspired taqueria is more then a fast casual franchise, it’s a mindset.

In this keynote presentation, industry trailblazers share the brand’s innovative approach to building strategic partnerships and alliances that created the ultimate franchise opportunity in the fast casual marketplace.

Keynote Speakers:
  • Scott Campanella | Chief Operating Officer | Ideation Hospitality
  • Jose Garces | Founder & Chief Culinary Officer | Garces Group
  • David Mesa | EVP & Chief Development Officer | Ballard Brands

Sponsored by Schoox
Keynote Speaker
Scott Campanella
Chief Operating Officer
Ideation Hospitality

Keynote Speaker
Jose Garces
Founder & Chief Culinary Officer
Garces Group

Keynote Speaker
David Mesa
EVP & Chief Development Officer
Ballard Brands

| Networking

Give-Back Party & Opening Reception

Join us for a Community Give-Back Party, where for one hour we will create care packs (such as hand wipes, toothbrushes, hand sanitizers, water, snacks, tissues and feminine products) for the Lotus House, the largest women’s shelter in the nation that has the capacity to shelter over 500 women and children nightly. They not only provide meals and beds to those in need, but also therapy services, parenting classes, medical and mental healthcare, job readiness training, homework help and so much more.

We’ll then celebrate the opening of the Summit with cocktails, appetizers and live music.

TUESDAY // MARCH 21, 2023

| Registration & Breakfast

| Breakfast Briefing

Session Topic – Coming Soon!

| General Session

Executive Perspectives: Inspiration for Today’s Restaurant Leaders

In this session, you will hear four short, thought-provoking talks that will leave you challenged and inspired.

  • How Restaurant Brands Can Help Meet Food Insecurity Needs | Bryce Fluellen
  • Workplace Shortage? There’s an Untapped Labor Pool | Blaine Hurst
  • The Digital Dance: Sustaining Digital Innovation | John Laporte
  • Why NFTs, Why Now? | Steve Lieber
  • Bryce Fluellen | Executive Director of Social Equity Franchise Program | Everytable
  • Blaine Hurst | Advisor | Delish Sisters / Blaine Hurst Enterprises, LLC
  • John Laporte | President | TASK North America
  • Steve Lieber | VP Franchise Business Development | BurgerFi

Sponsored by TASK

| Refreshment Break

| Breakout Session

Design Disruption: Streamlining Your FoH and BoH to Cut Costs

As restaurants battle labor and supply shortages, they are leaning on technology to increase efficiency and cut costs, which often leads to remodeling plans.

Speakers in this session talk about their recent redesigns.

  • Alonso Castañeda | VP of Brand Development & Strategy | Savory Restaurant Fund
  • Yianni Kosmides | CEO | Apola Greek Grill
  • Mark Mele | Chief Development Officer | Paris Baguette America
  • Johnny Tellez | VP of Operations & Training | Focus Brands International

  • Robert Taylor | EVP & Managing Director | QikServe

Sponsored by QikServe
| Breakout Session

Workshop: What Is Your Guest Experience Missing?

For hundreds of years, the restaurant guest experience has been the same, But Everything has changed in the last five years. Have you leveled up to meet the changing consumer?

Ovation CEO Zack Oates, Big Chicken's Sam Stanovich and Dog Haus' CJ Ramirez will walk you through the three fundamentals of guest experience to help you understand how you’re doing, and leave you with dozens of ideas to improve.

  • Zack Oates | Founder & CEO | Ovation
  • CJ Ramirez | EVP & Marketing Director | Dog Haus
  • Sam Stanovich | SVP of Development & Alliances | Big Chicken

Sponsored by Ovation

| Refreshment Break

| Breakout Session

Automation: What Is It Good For?

When it comes to restaurant automation, the options are endless and can range from something as simple as using point-of-sale technology and analytics to make smarter decisions to deploying higher-tech platforms like burger- or salad-making robots.

This session explores customer-facing automation, such as QR codes, cloud-based POS systems, and delivery and takeout options as well as technologies to enhance the back-of-house, such as kitchen displays automated inventory management and robotic kitchens.

  • Phil Crawford | Chief Technology Officer | CKE Restaurants
  • Clifton Rutledge | CEO | Shipley Do-Nuts
  • Desi Saran | Founder & CEO | Sweetberry

  • Jason Valentine | Chief Strategy Officer | Botrista Technology

Sponsored by Botrista Beverages
| Breakout Session

Should International Growth be in Your Future?

While many brands put international expansion on hold over the past couple of years, those same companies are once again beginning to explore global opportunities.

Experts in this session will discuss how to know when the time is right to go global and share what they’ve learned as they’ve pushed outside their home turfs.

  • Blas Escarcega | Director of Franchise Development | Pollo Campero
  • Rafik Farouk | Sr. Director of Global Business Development | PF Changs

| Lunch & Learn

Session Topic – Coming Soon!

| Breakout Session

By Land, Air or Sea? Reducing Last-Mile Delivery Costs

Last-mile delivery is one of the most expensive and challenging parts of providing a solid delivery service, but speakers in this session reveal how they’ve not only cut costs but also found ways to overcome the usual headaches, such as lack of brand control and visibility, being forced to work with multiple fleets and losing customer data.

They’ll also discuss the pros and cons of deploying AI-powered platforms and implementing delivery drones.

  • Sean Kennedy | President & CEO | Cowboy Chicken
  • Olga Sagan | Owner | Piroshky Piroshky
  • Annie Tselikis | Director of Marketing & Franchise Sales | Cousins Maine Lobster

| Breakout Session

My Loyalty Don’t Cost a Thing

As food costs rise, most restaurants can’t afford to give discounts to lure customers, but after relying so long on coupons, dollar-offs and freebies, what’s a brand to do?

It’s actually simple, according to the experts on this session, who reveal how they’ve created loyalty platforms that incentivize without crushing their bottom lines.

  • Blake Johnson | VP of Marketing | Craveworthy Brands
  • Donna Josephson | CMO | Shipley Do-Nuts
  • Mark Kreiner | VP of Marketing | WOWorks
  • Stacy Moss | Director of Brand Marketing | Noodles & Company

  • Derek Canton | CEO & Founder | Paerpay

Sponsored by Paerpay

| Refreshment Break

| Breakout Session

Is Your Franchise Model Still Working?

Regardless of the type of franchise model you use and whether you have one franchise partner or 100, it may be time to reevaluate how you are doing business. This panel discusses the pros and cons of each franchising model -- direct franchising, joint venture and master franchising  -- as well as how to choose and use tech platforms to help you button up operations.

  • Jourdan Daleo | SVP of Franchising & Field Operations | Popeyes Americas
  • Cory Hibbard | President | Graze Craze
  • Dawn Petite | President | Friendly’s Restaurants
  • Andrew Sternburg | Chief Development Officer, Americas | Gong cha
  • André Vener | Partner | Dog Haus

| Breakout Session

Let's Go! Maximizing Profitability and Reducing Costs

It may seem impossible to cut costs and grow, especially when back office development teams are getting leaner, desirable retail locations are harder to find, supply chains are stalling and food costs are soaring, but this panel of cost-conscious experts will share how they've adapted to a volatile market with a little real estate and operations creativity, through the use of technology and a lot of trial and error.

  • Eric Easton | Chief Financial Officer | Ampex Brands
  • Hanson Li | Co-Founder & CEO | Lazy Susan
  • Jeff Melnick | President | Boston’s Pizza Restaurant & Sports Bar
  • Marie Tullidge | Senior Development Manager | White Castle

  • Taj Adhav | CEO | Leasecake

Sponsored by Leasecake

| Refreshment Break

| General Session

Prove Your Case!

Operators hear pitches all the time about products and services that will grow their business, but where’s the proof? We’ve got it right here.

This session includes four 15-minute presentations, each featuring one vendor and one operator sharing the how, when and ROI behind recent rollouts.

  1. Eggs Up Grill & Bikky
  2. Jason's Deli & Upside
  • Laura Boles | Marketing Director | Eggs Up Grill
  • Brandy Butler | VP of Marketing & Communications | Jason's Deli
  • Abhinav Kapur | Co-Founder & CEO | Bikky

Sponsored by Bikky, Chatmeter, Paradox, Upside

| Offsite Event

Dinner Party at Ball & Chain

Join us at Ball & Chain in Little Havana, one of Miami’s premiere bar and lounges.

Ball & Chain is a historic Miami live music venue and restaurant dating back to 1935. The restaurant boasts fabulous Cuban fare, and the bar features themed cocktails from renowned mixologists.

We’ll enjoy cocktails, delicious food, a live band and salsa dancing.

This private dinner party is included with your Summit registration at no additional cost. Transportation will be provided. First buses leave at 5:30 for the 15-minute bus ride.

Sponsored by Schoox


| Breakfast and General Session

Brain Exchange

Grab your breakfast and join us for small group discussions about 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.

Brain Exchange topics:

  • Dynamic Pricing
  • Employee Retention & Recruitment | Sponsored by Payactiv
  • Innovation in Leadership
  • Menu Trends
  • Successful LTO Marketing Strategies | Sponsored by Vya
  • Tech Talk

| Refreshment Break

| Breakout Session

Marketing 2.0: How to Reach the TikTok Generation

Millennials taught us that customers wanted personalized experiences, but Gen Z is taking that to a whole new level. In fact,58% will pay morefor products targeted to their personalities, but only if you can get them to order, which might be a problem, considering that they are the generation least interested in dining and ordering out.

According to NPD Group, people between the ages of 18 and 24 ordered from restaurants 218 times on average between February 2021 and February 2022. When Gen Xers were that age, in 2002, they patronized restaurants 284 times apiece in a year. And when Millennials were that age they went to or ordered from restaurants 244 times in the course of a year.

This session will dive into what your brand can do to entice this younger cohort, such as leaning into more personalized messaging and delivering real-time, convenient experiences.

  • Andrew Glantz | Founder & CEO | GiftAMeal
  • Bill Phelps | CEO | Dave's Hot Chicken
  • Chris Smith | Co-Founder & CEO | Zunzi’s and Zunzibar

  • Alicia DiStefano | VP, Practice Lead | InMarket

Sponsored by InMarket
| Breakout Session

Reimagining the Supply Chain

Supply chain delays can obviously be detrimental to a restaurant’s menu offerings, but restaurants are also facing issues when it comes to non-food related items like replacement parts and new equipment. Also, the higher demand for carry out and delivery has led to shortages on packaging as well.

This session will focus on how everyone in the industry from shippers and growers to operators and manufacturers can work together to resolve these disruptions, which lead to higher costs and longer wait times.

  • Patrick Conlin | President | Wayback Burgers
  • Anissa Mandell-Chance | SVP, Supply Chain | Focus Brands
  • Julianna Voyles | Director of Operations | Jeremiah's Italian Ice
  • Samir Wattar | COO | Layne’s Chicken Fingers

  • Cristal Ghitman | Senior Account Executive | SynergySuite

Sponsored by SynergySuite

| Refreshment Break

| Breakout Session

What’s the Deal with Dynamic Pricing?

Dynamic pricing, the process of regularly adjusting the pricing of menu items to match the current level of demand, may sound like a headache, but just like your restaurant has peak times, so do food items and your pricing should reflect this.

This session features restaurant execs discussing why they’ve adopted dynamic pricing and its pros and cons.

  • Heidi Stirkkinen | CEO | Kotipizza Group Oy

| Breakout Session

Why Frontline Technology Is the Key to Labor Optimization

In the labor-pressed restaurant industry, it's imperative to get the most out of every worker, which is where training and technology come in handy.

This session features best practices in developing a training strategy, new modes of training that restaurant owners are leveraging and up-and-coming technology trends that are already proving how employers can do more with less.

  • Joe Buonavolanto III | VP of Franchising | The Buona Companies
  • Mike Johnson | President | Ford's Garage
  • Deric Rosenbaum | President | Groucho's Deli
  • Neil Thompson | VP, Digital | HMS Host

  • Rachael Nemeth | CEO & Founder | Opus Training

Sponsored by Opus

| Lunch & Learn

Session Topic – Coming Soon!

| Breakout Session

Creating the Ultimate Marketing Plan

A solid marketing plan includes more than catchy social media photos, witty slogans, word-of-mouth clout and a well-working loyalty program. Although each is important on its own, they must also work together to connect customers via in-store as well as digital messaging.

This session offers tangible ways to not only entice customers to give your brand a try but to also keep them coming back for more.

  • Claudia Lezcano | CEO | Fuku
  • Laura Sporrer | Senior Marketing Manager | Teriyaki Madness
  • Julie Wade | Senior Director of Marketing | Taziki's Mediterranean Café

  • Jason Pierret | Vice President, Business Development | UMI

Sponsored by UMI
| Breakout Session

Uncovering the Secrets to Hiring and Retaining Workers RIGHT Now

With labor shortages still hindering the restaurant industry, what if you could increase application flow as well as your retention rates? This session is packed full of experts who will share how they are able to keep their stores staffed even when labor shortages are at an all-time high.

During this session you will learn top reasons employees left in 2022, best practices on how to keep them in 2023 and more insights from exclusive HourWork data from 1,000s of restaurants across the country.

  • Adenah Bayoh | Founder, Franchisee | Cornbread, IHOP
  • Mike Speck | CEO & Partner | FUSIAN

  • Rahkeem Morris | CEO & Co-Founder | HourWork

Sponsored by HourWork

| Refreshment Break

| General Session

Franchising Think Tank

This panel, packed with CEOs and franchisors, will talk about the latest issues of the day and what it takes to succeed in franchising.

This session will definitely be worth staying until the end of the Summit.

  • Ramon Bourgeois | CEO (Acting) & COO | Tony Roma's
  • Betsy Hamm | CEO | Duck Donuts
  • Ingo Stork | Co-Founder & CEO | PreciTaste
  • Ray Titus | CEO | United Franchise Group
  • Charles Watson | CEO | Tropical Smoothie Cafe

  • Cherryh Cansler | VP of Events | Networld Media Group

Sponsored by PreciTaste

| Summit adjourns

View 2022 Agenda


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.


Loews Coral Gables Hotel

To reserve your room, call 1-800-235-6397 and use the code NMG319 to receive the group rate of $299/night.


Connect with Restaurant Execs

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

Download the Sponsor Prospectus to learn more.