Founder & CEO | Freshii
While working in New York City for fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, Freshii Founder & CEO Matthew Corrin noted the many fresh food ‘mom and pop’ delis and was determined to successfully brand one. At 23 years old, Matthew set out to add magic to the fresh food business. The idea? To create a restaurant brand that helped people all over the world live healthier and longer lives. The mission was clear: to eliminate the excuse that people don’t eat well because there’s nothing convenient or affordable. In 2005, Matthew opened the first Freshii location in Toronto. Currently, Freshii operates over 300 locations across 85+ cities in 20 countries.
Director of Advertising | KFC U.S.
George Felix is Director of Advertising for KFC U.S. In this role George is responsible for all branded communication including national TV and radio advertising, digital/social advertising, paid media strategy, product packaging, in-restaurant point of purchase merchandising, menuboard design, and employee uniform design. Since taking over brand communications for KFC in May, 2015, the brand has grown behind the advertising campaign marking the return of Colonel Sanders, recording 13 consecutive quarters of same store sales growth. George was named to Advertising Age’s 2016 40 under 40 list identifying the bright young minds who are reinventing and reshaping marketing’s future.
President | Ballard Brands
Speaker bio coming soon!
Founder | Chicken Salad Chick
The Chicken Salad Chick brand was born in August 2007, when Stacy Brown, who had always loved chicken salad, decided to sell the southern favorite to local friends and neighbors. With a basket on her arm and four different chicken salad flavors in hand, Stacy embarked on her door-to-door delivery service. With the help of business expert, fellow founder and her future husband Kevin Brown, they launched their first restaurant in 2008. Within two hours, the restaurant had completely sold out. Chicken Salad Chick has continued to grow and today, the franchise brand has more than 70 locations across the Southeast.
Director of Editorial | Networld Media Group
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.
Chris Cheek joined Newk’s Franchise Company in 2014 as the Chief Development Officer. Chris started his franchise career as Vice President of Franchising for Bear Rock Café, where he helped grow the brand from 4 units to over 60 in 4 years. He had similar success at fast casual brands including Bruegger’s Bagels and its parent company brands Timothy’s World Coffee, la Madeleine Country French Café Brioche Doree; Freebirds World Burrito, and Toppers Pizza, Inc., where he was the brand’s first Chief Development Officer. Chris is a graduate of North Carolina State University and currently lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.
For more than 30 years, Joe Christina has dedicated his life’s work to the restaurant industry. “There is no career more exciting, interesting, surprising and especially rewarding than working in the restaurant industry,” says Joe, who has owned his own franchise locations, worked as a corporate team member, as a high-level executive across various restaurant brands, and is now Chief Executive Officer of Church’s Chicken. Joe served as Executive Vice President of U.S. Operations at Church’s Chicken from 2013 until November 2016, when he became Chief Executive Officer of the brand.
Jodie Conrad, Vice President of Marketing – formerly serving as Fazoli’s Senior Brand Director, was promoted to her new position as Vice President of Marketing in September 2017. In Jodie’s new role, she will be responsible for all marketing functions and product development for the brand. Prior to joining Fazoli’s, Jodie previously served as Director of Brand Marketing for The Wendy’s Company, Director of New Product Testing for Donatos Pizza and Customer Marketing Manager for The Coca-Cola Company.
Speaker bio coming soon!
Chip Hamm concentrates his practice in the areas of real estate and corporate law, including property and business sale and acquisitions, development, start-up ventures, finance, and government relations. He has broad experience in business and real estate as a private practice attorney, in-house counsel, business owner, and equity investor in entrepreneurial ventures. Chip was previously the National Real Estate Manager and Franchise Development Director at Yum! Brands Inc. and started his career as an attorney at the Woodward, Hobson & Fulton law firm. His clients benefit from his significant experience as an entrepreneur and ability to efficiently deliver legal and business advice.
As Vice President of Visualogistix, Trevor Hansen, focuses on understanding the retail/restaurant industries and their current realities. He examines the latest trends to understand how they relate to the evolution of technology and how this impacts business practices. Trevor ensures Visualogistix is helping clients by providing tools to strengthen their brands, maintain brand consistency, attract new customers and increase cost efficiencies. With more than two decades of experience in the technology and printing industries, Trevor has been part of the evolution to expand marketing solutions through the use of technology. He has worked extensively with franchise networks, retailers, restaurants and many other industries helping them achieve their brand objectives.
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 Millstaff 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%.
John Hughes is brand ambassador for Jersey Mike’s Subs, the nation’s fastest-growing sandwich chain. He is charged with generating excitement, brand awareness and cultural consistency throughout the company through operational and brand training. Affectionately known as “Coach” Hughes, John formerly served as SVP, director of training, responsible for training franchisees, manager and others joining the Jersey Mike’s team. With more than 30 years of making subs and training franchise owners, managers and team members, John is a leader of putting into practice Jersey Mike’s A Sub Above philosophy.
Scott Iversen has actively been involved with the franchise industry for nearly 20 years. Scott learned how a franchise corporation runs and operates when he first began as a pizza delivery driver in the fall of 1992 at the University of Wisconsin, Platteville. His passion for the pizza industry grew, and not long after, Scott was promoted to General Manager where he began marketing the local franchise within the community, ultimately building brand awareness throughout the area. Prior to joining Toppers Pizza in 2003, Scott also spent time in Chicago as the Director of Marketing for Bravo Restaurants, which included Ed Debevic’s, Gino’s East, and Edwardo’s Natural Pizza.
SVP & CMO | Corner Bakery Cafe
Donna Josephson is the Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Corner Bakery Cafe. She has more than 20 years of restaurant marketing experience in developing and implementing innovative brand strategies and marketing programs to drive results. She most recently served as CMO at Fazoli’s where she launched a new restaurant interior design, catering program, online ordering, and the brand’s loyalty app. Prior to Fazoli’s, Donna served as the VP of Marketing for McAlister’s Deli where she led the executive team in redefining the brand positioning. Donna holds both a Bachelor of Science degree and an MBA in Business Management from Ball State University.
VP of Training & People Development | MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes
Dennie Laney is the Vice President of Training and People Development at MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes. Dennie is also a John Maxwell certified Coach, Public Speaker, and Leadership Professional. Her passion for customer service, leadership development, personal and professional growth, and active engagement in achieving extraordinary results is what led her to the John Maxwell Team. It is these qualities paired with a rich people culture that drew her to the MOOYAH team. Dennie has spent the past 20 years supporting corporate and operations teams in the training, leadership development, and coaching arenas, speaking to audiences of hundreds of leaders and executives about the value of people.
Chef/Owner | The Boneyard Truck
For Rich Mainzer, a native born San Franciscan, none would have predicted that he would become the pit-master at one of the Bay Area’s busiest and most tasty Barbecues. Rich is the Founder and Chef at The Boneyard, LLC – an up and coming catering and food truck service that has transformed the way local residents experience their BBQ. While he has reinvented himself several times along the way, Rich’s love of good food and people has led him to take his passions to the streets of five bay area counties…and counting. Rich’s big flavors and big personality mix the perfect recipe for his own home run in the world of American BBQ street food services.
President & CEO | Muscle Maker Grill
Robert E. Morgan is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Muscle Maker Grill. A 40-year veteran of the restaurant industry, he is responsible for all facets of Muscle Maker Grill’s rapidly-growing fast casual brand – including its aggressive expansion strategy in new and existing markets, operations, real estate, strategic marketing and much more. A founding member of the company, Bob joined Muscle Maker Grill as its Chief Operating Officer in 2007 – its inception as a franchised brand. His extensive experience in the franchise and restaurant industries combined with his strong leadership have been a major contributor to the overall success of the company.
Speaker bio coming soon!
Senior Director of Franchising | Dippin’ Dots
A franchising veteran of 25 years, Steve is the Senior Director of Franchising for Dippin’ Dots and Doc Popcorn. With a proven track record in franchise operations, sales, and development as well as having been a franchisee in his own rite Steve has a unique insight into the relationship between franchisor and franchisee. In his time with Yum Brands, Cold Stone Creamery, and others Steve has become a specialist in franchise relationships and building the bonds of trust and transparency between the franchisor and its franchise system with the ultimate goal of profitable and sustainable growth for everyone involved.
Corporate Beverage Manager | Quaker Steak & Lube
Speaker bio coming soon!
President/Partner | Zoup!
Richard Simtob was educated at the University of Western Ontario in economics and enterprise and has taken his knowledge into the field and played a winning game. Richard has taken on the challenges of myriad roles in the business world including but not limited to: Founder of Talking Book World Corporation, COO/Owner of Wireless Toyz, co-founder of FranchisesforSale.com, President/Partner of Zoup! Fresh Soup Company, and a commercial real estate investor. He has been an active member of Jewish Entrepreneurs Network and the Entrepreneurs Network of Michigan, is Past-President of Yad Ezra, a non-profit food bank, and his companies have been recognized annually in Entrepreneur’s list of top 500 franchises.
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.
President | Walk-Ons
Scott has served as our Chief Operating Officer since our formation on July 23, 2014. Scott has served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Walk-On’s Enterprises Operations, LLC since December 2010, Walk-On’s Enterprises Holdings, LLC since its formation in January 2014, Walk-On’s Enterprises IP, LLC since its formation in January 2014, and Walk-On’s Enterprises Marketing, LLC since its formation in April 2015. During his tenure, Scott has led the organization in systemization of all brands, successful partner buyout and the investment and buy in of Drew Brees in May 2015.
CEO | Cerca Trova Restaurant Concepts
Steve Weigel joined the Cerca Trova Restaurant Concepts team as Chief Executive Officer in April 2016 to lead strategic vision and execute growth strategy. He has over 25 years of casual dining industry experience, which includes previous roles as COO of Friendly’s Ice Cream, COO of Tom’s Urban 24 and SVP of both Smashburger and Darden Restaurants / Red Lobster. Steve is responsible for orchestrating the turnaround of Friendly’s Ice Cream through recruitment of executive team and development and execution of strategic initiatives. He has managed P&L and operations of 345 restaurants generating more than a half a billion in revenue at Friendly’s and 320 restaurants generating more than $1 billion in revenue while at Red Lobster.