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

Doug Hogrefe is a partner in 4-Top Hospitality Group that owns and operates 13 restaurants in Mississippi and Tennessee, with three additional properties soon to open. Its concepts include Amerigo, Anjou, Saltine, Sombra, Etch, etc. and Char Steakhouse. Doug is a graduate of Millsaps College and began his hospitality career as a server at Amerigo in Jackson, Mississippi. He advanced to become the restaurant’s general manager and eventually bought the restaurant with partners he had met through the restaurant. Twenty-seven years later, Doug and his partners continue to expand 4-Top’s restaurant footprint. The group has experienced a growth of 300%.

Spencer Rubin | Founder | Melt Shop

As the Founder of Melt Shop and head of its brand development and daily operations, Spencer Rubin calls himself “a lifer” in the restaurant business, and can hardly remember a time when he wasn’t all in. By age six, he was cooking the basics in the family kitchen. Before he was ten, he knew this was his calling, fascinated by the idea of creating a business where people could eat delicious food every single day. Equally passionate and talented, Spencer graduated from The Hotel School at Cornell University. With Aurify Brands, Spencer launched the first Melt Shop in New York City. The brand has grown throughout New York, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota.

Carin Stutz | EVP & COO | Red Robin

Carin Stutz is responsible for leading regional restaurant management teams overseeing the operational performance of more than 500 Red Robin restaurants across the United States and Canada, including Burger Works and franchise locations. Carin has more than three decades of experience in the restaurant industry and has served in operations leadership roles for major casual dining and fast casual brands. Before joining Red Robin, Carin served as president of McAlister’s Deli. She has also served in operations leadership roles for some of the nation’s leading brands including Chili’s, Applebee’s, Cosi and Wendy’s. She’s a past board chair and member of the board of directors for the Woman’s Foodservice Forum.


Paula Carren | VP of Marketing | Gusto

Paula Carren has more than 25 years of marketing experience within the restaurant, technology, and luxury-brand industries. She is passionate about leveraging data to precisely understand consumer behavior and drive desired outcomes. As Vice President of Marketing at Gusto POS, she is an advocate of applying the latest POS system technology to connect restaurateurs with the tools they need to compete in today’s technology rich environment. Prior to joining Gusto, Paula served as Vice President of Client Success at Fishbowl, where she partnered with clients to develop compelling marketing strategies to drive growth and guest engagement.

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