Restaurant Franchising & Innovation Summit | Louisville 2018

MONDAY / APRIL 9, 2018

3:00 pm | Registration opens

4:00 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

5:00 – 7:00 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

• Cherryh Cansler | Director of Editorial | Networld Media Group

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

Topic coming soon!
Joe Christina | CEO | Church’s Chicken

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


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 Morgan | President & CEO | Muscle Maker Grill

  • 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 franchiees 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.

• Steve Weigel | CEO | Cerca Trova Restaurant Concepts

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
• Carin Stutz | EVP & COO | Red Robin

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.

• Rich Mainzer | Chef/Owner | The Boneyard Truck

12:00 pm | Lunch Session

  • Sponsored by Middleby Corporation

Eradicating the inefficiencies that needlessly cost operators $MM’s per year

New technology is exposing the true cost of owning and operating food service equipment. It’s revealing the fact that great inefficiencies, caused by a fragmented industry using disparate systems—among other factors—are needlessly costing the industry tens, maybe even hundreds of millions every year. Fortunately, that same technology is also making it possible for chains to do something about it and put at least that much back to the bottom line where it belongs. In this session attendees will learn how they, with little to no investment, can reverse this trend, and increase the health of their business along with the reliability, longevity and overall ROI they receive from the equipment they rely on each and every day.

  • Sponsored by Welbilt


Gary Meehan

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.

• Chris Cheek | Chief Development Officer | Newk’s Eatery
Chip Hamm | Attorney | Kaplan & Partners LLP
Richard Simtob | President/Partner | Zoup!

1:15 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.

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.

• Donna Josephson | SVP & CMO | Corner Bakery Cafe
• Scott Taylor | President | Walk-Ons

• Trevor Hansen | Vice President | Visualogistix

  • Sponsored by Visualogistix

2:30 pm | Breakout Session

I’ll Take Digital To Go

The to-go experience can make a break or brand, which is why this session looks at what it takes to win customers over whether it’s via carry out, drive-thru or delivery.

From deploying digital menu boards and mobile apps to pleasing customers at the pick-up window or counter, attendees will learn how to successfully implement some of today’s must-haves at the drive-thru.

Jodie Conrad | VP of Marketing | Fazoli’s

  • 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 entail 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

  • Sponsored by PlayerLync

4:00 pm | Breakout Session

Where is Digital Marketing Headed: What Eggs Should I Put in Which Baskets?

The technology boom has led to seemingly countless ways to get a brand’s message in front of people via screens. But what’s the best mix? And what does the digital realm of 3-5 years and beyond look like?

Our experts will discuss the trends and predictions to start preparing now for the digital marketing plan of the 2020s.

• Scott Iversen | VP of Marketing | Toppers Pizza
• Jimmy Orr | Director of Digital Strategy | Taco John’s

6:30 – 9:30 pmDinner Party

After a full day of inspiring keynotes and information-packed sessions, relax and recharge while enjoying great food and great conversation.

  • Sponsored by Welbilt

Wine Tasting at Times Ten Cellars

After a full day of informative and inspiring sessions, get ready for an evening of great food and great conversation in a unique setting. Attendees of the Restaurant Franchising & Innovation Summit will be treated to a private dinner party at Times Ten Cellars. We’ll experience a wine tasting and enjoy an Italian buffet dinner, including pizzas from Urban Crust food truck and desserts from Cheesecake Love. This winemaking facility offers wines from select vineyards in California’s premier wine regions as well as their own wines from their vineyard in Alpine, Texas. The dinner party is included with your Summit registration at no additional cost.

Transportation will be provided. Buses will depart at 6:15 pm.



8:00 am | Breakfast

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
• Shannon Salupo | Corporate Beverage Manager | Quaker Steak & Lube

11:00 am | Breakout Session

There’s More at Risk Than Just Food Safety: Lessons from Restaurant Data Breaches

While food safety is a problem that can kill a restaurant brand, it’s certainly not the only pitfall that brands must avoid. Regaining customer trust after a data breach incident isn’t impossible, but it’s not easy. This session features executives from a few brands that were able to learn from their breaches and win back customers.

12:00 pm | Lunch

12:45 pm | Breakout Session


Session description coming soon!

12:45 am | Breakout Session


Session description coming soon!

1:45 pm | Refreshment Break

2:00 pm | Closing Keynote Session

Freshii: A Global Heath 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

3:00 pm | Summit adjourns

Agenda and speakers are subject to change.

Group Discount

Take Your Team to the Summit

Register two attendees from your company and add a third attendee at no additional cost.


Applies only to qualified attendees.

Hotel Reservations

Omni Louisville Hotel
Rate: $189/night* | Deadline: 3/19/2018

Call (502) 656-7220 and mention that you’re attending the Restaurant Franchising & Innovation Summit.
* Subject to availability at time of booking.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsoring the Summit will put you in meaningful conversations with executives in your target market. Opportunities are available for almost any budget. Download the Sponsor Prospectus to learn more.

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