President and CEO | Fazoli’s
Carl T. Howard was recruited by Sun Capital Partners to be 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 2016 Fazoli’s will open 12-15 new units and is expected to sign 10-15 new franchisee development agreements.
Vice President of Development | Coyote Ugly Saloon
Justin Livingston has worked for more than a decade in franchising and has a reputation for expanding brands domestically and preparing and executing brands expansion plans to grow internationally. His experience in franchising has been spent in the food and beverage sector of franchising and specialties include sales process creation and implementation, marketing, lead generation, management, and international franchising. His time has been spent expanding franchise programs in the US as well as Canada, Egypt, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Ireland, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and the UK.
Author | The Franchising Handbook and The Startup Coach
Carl Reader has worked with franchisors and franchisees since 2004. He has accumulated an outstanding understanding of how it works and offers inside knowledge of how to succeed within it. Carl is the best-selling author of both The StartUp Coach and The Franchising Handbook (published by Hodder), the resident business advisor at express.co.uk; a regular columnist in both the trade and the national press, and is an accomplished international keynote speaker at both franchising and small business events. He is also a director of d&t Chartered Accountants, the UK’s leading franchise accountancy firm, The Bear Group, Selling a Franchise, and serves as an elected board member of the British Franchise Association.
Founder and CEO | LEON
John Vincent is CEO of LEON, the naturally fast food chain, which he co-founded with Henry Dimbleby in 2004 to make it easier for everyone to eat well. He previously worked as a strategy consultant for Bain & Company, where his business travels made him realise that the only available food on the go was making everyone fall asleep and wake up fat. With the declared aim to create “a McDonalds in heaven”, and working with chef Allegra McEvedy, John and Henry opened the first LEON on Carnaby Street in 2004. Shortly after it was awarded ‘Best Newcomer’ at the Observer Food Monthly Awards. John took over the day to day running of Leon in 2014, leads the menu innovations and has co-authored three of the Leon cook books. LEON now has more than 45 restaurants throughout the UK and one in Amsterdam, and plans to open many more in 2017.
Market Growth Officer | Pizza Hut Europe
John started his professional life with Deloitte and Touche, qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, and working in their Forensic Accounting division. Soon after qualifying John joined PepsiCo Restaurants in Finance. He progressed through various Finance positions before moving into Operations with KFC. From KFC he moved to look after the Central European and Russian markets for KFC and Pizza Hut, returning to KFC a few years later where he moved back into an Operations role, quickly followed by moves into Franchise and Development. From KFC he moved across to Pizza Hut, where he has held Operations, Franchise and Development roles.
Owner | iBurgEr
With a passion for creativity and innovation, Dr. Saleh Alfuraih chose to start a new chain of food restaurants called iBurgEr, one of the youngest and best positioned brands in the Saudi food business industry. Currently, important places like airports and universities are sending invitations for iBurgEr to open branches there. Saleh’s innovation and creativity did not stop with the quality of the food but also spread to the equipment selection, the branding and packaging, and last but not least to the overall restaurant atmosphere. As per the wish of the founder, his aim is to have iBurgEr as one of the best international brands, available in many countries, famous for its food quality and menu variety and hopefully very soon it will go public.
CEO | Vapiano Franchising Centre
Mario C. Bauer is CEO of Vapiano Franchising International and member of the executive board of Vapiano Holding. He and his team are responsible for almost 200 restaurants in over 30 countries around the globe. Mario is a fresh casual, front cooking Pasta – Pizza – Bar lifestyle concept within a Mediterranean ambience. While growing up in his family’s restaurant business in Vienna, Austria, he developed from a young age an entrepreneurial mindset by founding several start-ups such as Bagel Station (bagel & coffee shop) and Papernomad (sustainable iPad sleeves). His latest adventure is Curtice Brothers, an organic boutique ketchup production in Tuscany.
Lead Analyst, Services & Payments | Euromonitor International
Philip Benton is a Lead Analyst covering the retailing and payments industries across Western Europe at Euromonitor International; the world’s leading independent provider of strategic market research. Philip is responsible for analysing retail trends across Europe and producing forecasts which indicate future developments in the industry. He has been quoted, interviewed and been a guest contributor for City AM, BBC World News, CNBC and the Financial Times as well as numerous other business publications. Philip holds a BA (hons) degree in Business Studies from the University of the West of England, Bristol.
Visual Retail Segment Marketing Manager | Intel Corporation
Speaker bio coming soon!
CEO | World Franchise Associates Ltd
Paul Cairnie is the Founder of World Franchise Associates with 20 years experience of international franchising encompassing development, marketing and media in North America, Europe & Middle East markets. Paul is a member of the Advisory Council for the Global Restaurant Leadership Conference. Paul is the publisher of World Franchise Review.
Managing Editor | FastCasual.com
Before joining Networld Media Group as Director of Editorial, where she oversees NetWorld Media Group’s nine B2B publications, Cherryh Cansler served as Content Specialist at Barkley ad agency in Kansas City. Throughout her 17-year career as a journalist, she’s written about a variety of topics, ranging from the restaurant industry and technology to health and fitness news. Her byline has appeared in a plethora of newspapers, magazines and websites, including Forbes, The Kansas City Star and American Fitness magazine. She also serves as the managing editor for FastCasual.com.
President and COO | Dat Dog Enterprises
Originally from New York City, Bill developed a love of food and passion for people at an early age. With 22 years of restaurant experience, Bill oversees Dat Dog’s corporate office, franchising and operations. Under his leadership, Dat Dog has been voted #1 Hot Dog Restaurant by USA Today and featured on the Travel Channel’s “Hot Dog Paradise.” Bill is a CFE through the International Franchise Association, as well as an Industry Representative for the Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation. His wife and children serve as constant reminders to “do good” at home, in the restaurants and in the community.
Chief Sales Officer | LevelUp
Christina Dorobek is the Chief Sales Officer for LevelUp and she is responsible for helping restaurants and retailers increase revenue and loyalty. Christina has helped grow LevelUp into one of the largest loyalty, engagement and mobile payment platforms in the United States. She is also known for her energetic approach, expertise in the restaurant industry, and passion for helping brands create fantastic mobile experiences.
Director of Franchising and Business Development | Casual Dining Group
Richard Downs spearheads the ambitious roll out of CDG brands across the globe, adding franchised operations to the 300 equity sites the company currently trades. Alongside this, he leads CDGs tender process for new concepts within their growing concessions business. With over 20 years of experience, both in running and directing operations, Richard understands our restaurant brands inside out, and guides our partners in preparing for their opening programmes. His work includes contract negotiations, site selection guidance and an active role in supply chain and product approval which takes in projects across 4 continents. His team currently has 60+ sites signed in development agreements both in the UK and overseas.
Senior VP of Events | Networld Media Group
David Drain leads the events team for Networld Media Group and has more than 20 years of experience in association management, event planning, writing and speaking. He has served as executive director of the Digital Signage Association (a group he co-founded), the Self-Service & Kiosk Association and the merged organization, Digital Screenmedia Association. Previously he was EVP for the Foodservice Consultants Society International.
Chairman | The Franchising Centre
Brian Duckett writes regularly for the UK franchising and business media and has presented at several seminars and workshops, including those arranged for The Institute of Directors, The Confederation of British Industry, The British Franchise Association, The International Franchise Association and British Franchise Exhibitions. Internationally, he writes regular features for franchising magazines in the USA, Europe, Australia and India, and has spoken at several franchise conferences on five continents. His book “How to Turn Your Business Into The Next Global Brand – Creating and Managing a Franchised Network” was published in the autumn of 2007.
Founder & CEO | Zoup!
Eric Ersher is Founder and CEO of Zoup! Fresh Soup Company, a Michigan-based fast-casual soup concept he founded in 1998. As the top executive of this growing franchise organization, Eric has overall responsibility for strategic planning, concept evolution, quality and franchise support. He also leads the company’s staff in building and protecting the Zoup! brand and shaping the company’s culture. Before creating Zoup!, Eric was owner of Michigan Foods, which manufactured and distributed custom spice blends, pre-mixes and prepared soups to chain restaurants. Prior to that, he practiced law in Detroit.
VP, Franchise Development and Operations | 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.
CFO and co-founder | Freshii GB
Stuart Fitzgerald is CFO and co-founder of the company that operates the Freshii master franchise in Great Britain. He has worked with a range of franchised concepts in food & beverage and general retail and has intimate knowledge of the elements that are required to build, manage and control a successful supply chain. Freshii GB leverages best in class technology throughout their supply chain process to optimize operational and financial outcomes. Supply chain aside Stuart also specializes in corporate fundraising, financial reporting & control, strategic planning and corporate leadership. He is proud to be part of a team that is helping the citizens of Great Britain to live better by making healthy food convenient & affordable. Eat Energize!!
Consumer Foodservice Strategy Analyst | Euromonitor
Elizabeth Friend is the Consumer Foodservice Strategy Analyst at Euromonitor International. She helps restaurant operators and suppliers better understand the global dining-out landscape, publishing strategy briefings, reports, and other ad-hoc analysis. She also helps to manage the production of Euromonitor’s annual restaurants data, working with analysts on the ground in fifty-four countries to conduct research on industry market sizes, growth forecasts, competitive intelligence, and consumer trends.
Founder & CEO | Slapfish
Andrew Gruel, a graduate of Johnson & Wales University, is currently the CEO and Founder of Slapfish Restaurant Group, the award-winning food truck turned international brick and mortar, based out of Huntington Beach, CA and Co-Owner of Butterleaf Restaurant and Two Birds Chicken. Andrew has appeared on multiple television series including his most recent role as a judge on Food Network’s Chopped Junior. He was recently the Host of FYI Series “Say It To My Face” as well as a judge on Food Network’s “Food Truck Face Off.” He has made appearances on the TODAY show, PBS, Cooking Channel, and has been featured in numerous publications.
Sr. Director of Marketing – Fast Casual | Think Food Group
Stacey Kane has more than 20 years of experience working with multi-unit restaurant chains. In late 2016 Stacey joined Chef Jose Andres’ Think Food Group to lead the marketing team of the emerging fast casual division. Prior to that she served as the Chief Marketing Officer of the 35 unit comfort casual chain, East Coast Wings + Grill for almost 2 years. In 2007, Stacey started at California Tortilla, where she was known for her incredible creativity as the VP of marketing. Stacey also spent 11 years as a top-level media buyer for Subway® restaurants, and has served on several boards, including the National Restaurant Association’s Marketing Executives Group Board. In 2012 and 2013, Stacey was named a Top 20 Movers and Shakers by Fast Casual Magazine.
President of International | Wingstop
Larry D. Kruguer joined the company as President of International on June 11, 2015. Prior to joining Wingstop, Larry was at Wendy’s International, where he served as Vice President, International Joint Ventures and Key Markets from October 2014 to June 2015, Vice President, International Business Development and Finance from January 2010 to October 2014 and Vice President, International Marketing from October 2007 to January 2010. Prior to that, he was the President and Managing Partner of Prontowash USA, a global car wash services company, from January 2002 to October 2007. From October 1998 to August 2001, he served as Vice President, Marketing and Strategic Alliances for SportsLine.com, a CBS Sports affiliate. Larry has also held management positions with Alamo-Autonation and American Express. He received an MBA in Business Management from University of Miami School of Business Administration in 1992.
CEO | QiCode
Gary Meehan, CEO of QiCode (key-kode) is a serial entrepreneur who for the past 25 years has worked in the foodservice industry as a strategic marketing and digital technology consultant for leading manufacturers, service providers and chains. A strong advocate for ‘the end customer we all serve’, Gary views technology as a ‘force for good’ that can be used to increase collaboration and seriously reduce complexity and cost for every stakeholder in the industry.
Founder and CEO | CaliBurger
Speaker bio coming soon!
Founder | Farmstand
Steven grew up in a working class family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin across the street from a farm. Survived cancer in 2006 and set (and has now achieved) three goals: become closer to friends and family; see the world (finish climbing the Seven Summits including Everest); and start a healthy food business. Founded in January 2016, Farmstand is a healthy and sustainable food company. The company offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks and snacks. The business operates 14 multi-format Farmstands and 1 central kitchen hub London. Farmstand sells its food and drink via 4 distribution channels: its fast-casual restaurant, in corporate canteens, supermarkets/gyms and online. Farmstand targets businesses initially rather than individuals. The company set up a central kitchen hub first and opened physical stores next. Farmstand then plans to convert corporates into online catering customers and then individuals into online subscribers. Farmstand outsources distribution. The Telegraph recently described Farmstand as being “at the vanguard” of a unique capital light business model.
Field Marketing, EMEA | Welbilt, Inc.
Speaker bio coming soon!
Vice President, Business Development – Analytics/Supply Chain/Promotions | HAVI
Steven Rodgers is the VP, Business Development – Analytics/Supply Chain/Promotions for HAVI, a leading provider of analytics and supply chain consulting solutions supporting the Food Service, Consumer Packaged Goods, and Retail Industries. With over 25 years of global business development experience and a successful history of leading global operations & supply chain, technology integration and Lean/Six Sigma transformation, Steven has delivered multiple business model innovations and growth. Having worked and lived across multiple geographies for numerous global brands including Philips, Fortune Brands, and Ernst & Young, Steven also brings extensive collaboration and cross-functional expertise from his background in Asia, The Americas, and Europe. Steven earned an MBA in Corporate Finance from Fairleigh Dickinson University and holds certifications in Lean/Six-Sigma and SAP.
Founder & Managing Director | Crepeaffaire
Daniel Spinath is the Founder and Managing Director of Crepeaffaire, the market-leading international crêpes concept, and the Co-Founder/Director of Frizzenti, the leading wine on tap company. He started his career with Regent International Hotels, followed by senior marketing, strategy and general management positions at Citibank, Procter & Gamble, H.J. Heinz and Viacom around the globe. Prior to founding Crepeaffaire and Frizzenti, Daniel was a Management Board Director at Eurotunnel PLC/SA.
Director of Franchise Development | HuHot Mongolian Grill
Laura Sporrer is Director of Franchise Development at HuHot Mongolian Grill. Laura’s career in franchise development started 10 years ago at Quiznos corporate, where she paved the path for their first ever online disclosure of the FDD. Her work includes franchise marketing, campus and airport development, FDD management, as well as market development and planning. In her current role she is responsible for all aspects of franchise recruitment (with a limited budget). Her efforts resulted in HuHot’s largest number of leads in 2015 and several new signings.
CEO | Koti Pizza Group
Tommi Tervanen is the CEO of Kotipizza Group. He is also the chairman of The Finnish Franchising Association. His career started at the leading Finnish retail company Kesko where he worked as product manager. In the early 2000s, he founded the sourcing and logistics operator Helsinki Foodstock which has since grown into an over 50 MEu business. He started as CEO of Kotipizza Group in 2011. The Kotipizza Group consists of Kotipizza, the largest pizza chain in the Northern Europe, Chalupa, a Mexican style fast casual restaurant chain, and Helsinki Foodstock. The Kotipizza chain has significantly revamped its concept in the past few years and changed its marketing strategy completely. In 2015 the Kotipizza Group became the first Finnish franchising company to be listed on the Nasdaq OMX Helsinki stock exchange.
President of Operations & Development | Johnny Rockets
James Walker is President of Operations & Development for Aliso Viejo, CA based Johnny Rockets. He has over 25 years of senior level and management experience in the hospitality and retail industry, and has conducted business in a wide range of global markets, including Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Pakistan and Mongolia. Comfortable from the dish room to the board room, James’ specific skill sets include mergers and acquisitions, development, operations, licensing and R&D. Major positions have included the roles of president and chief development officer, as well as senior operations and R&D positions. He has spent time with such brands as Baja Fresh, Cinnabon and Sweet Factory.