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March 16-18, 2020 | Atlanta — Early Bird registration ends October 25. Sign up today!

CLOSING GENERAL SESSION / WEDNESDAY / MARCH 18, 2020 / 2:00 PM

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.

PANELISTS

Joe Guith | President | McAlister’s Deli

With 20 years of experience in food service, consumer products and retail, Joe Guith has a passion for growing iconic brands that deliver superior experiences and value for guests and franchisees. In April 2018, he became the President of McAlister’s Deli, where he has been instrumental in positioning the brand for success. Under Joes’s leadership, McAlister’s Deli unveiled a complete brand evolution and restaurant redesign, which has propelled its ongoing growth in 27 states, with more than 450 units currently open and operating. Previously, he served as President of Cinnabon, Inc. and worked in general management and strategy with The Coca-Cola Company and Yum! Brands.

Ricky Richardson | CEO | Eggs Up Grill

Ricky Richardson was tapped to lead the breakfast, brunch and lunch concept in July 2018 after private investment firm WJ Partners acquired the brand. Under Ricky’s leadership, the brand has since grown to 35 open locations, seven more set to open before the end of 2019 and 18 locations slated to open in 2020. Ricky has primed Eggs Up Grill for growth with plans underway for the concept to reach the 100-location mark by mid-2022. Ricky has more than 35 years of restaurant industry experience across multi-unit and franchise operations. Prior to joining Eggs Up Grill, Richardson served as U.S. president and chief operating officer of Dallas-based TGI Fridays.

Charles Watson | CEO | Tropical Smoothie Café

Charles Watson is the Chief Executive Officer at Tropical Smoothie Café and focuses on the sustainable growth of the franchise system with current goals of 1500 units, $1M Average Unit Volume and 18% average unit profitability. Prior to ascending to the CEO role, Charles was the Chief Development Officer for Tropical Smoothie Café. Charles was responsible for all aspects of Franchise Development, Real Estate, Design & Construction, Franchise Administration and Legal. Under his leadership, the Tropical Smoothie Cafe system grew from 265 open units to 725 open units. A veteran franchise professional, Charles has worked for several hospitality-related companies including Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) and US Franchise Systems.

MODERATOR

Peter McLaughlin | Head of Customer Success | PlayerLync

Specializing in innovative learning technologies that enable teams to learn faster and operate more successfully, Peter McLaughlin has helped lead high-growth business for more than 20 years. At companies such as Symantec and Clearwell, he managed Education Services teams, which delivered training courses for thousands of customers. In his current role as head of Customer Success for PlayerLync, he collaborates with customers such as Chipotle, Jack in the Box, and Blaze Pizza to improve their training and performance. He has an MBA from the University of Denver, and a BA from UCLA.

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