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Democratizing Dining: How the Changing Restaurant Landscape Opens Doors and Cuts Costs

Industry veterans and food entrepreneurs alike continue to navigate a costly restaurant landscape, often significantly investing in real estate, equipment, delivery operations and more. With a little creative planning, however, many innovative brands are cutting costs and streamlining operations in unexpected ways.

This panel will explore those strategies, which often include shared kitchen space, pop-up locations and centralized delivery hubs.


Alex Canter | Owner | Canter’s Deli

Alex Canter was raised in the kitchen of world famous Canter’s Deli in Los Angeles and is the fourth generation owner/operator of the restaurant. Growing up in the family business, his primary role was to identify and implement new technology to bring the old-school deli into the next generation. Canter’s Deli now has 180 full time employees in its West Hollywood location, and 2 additional commisary kitchens in LA focused on delivery only. In 2017, Alex also created Ordermark to help restaurants maximize the benefits of online ordering.

Kyle Gordon | Owner | Dillas Quesadillas

Kyle Gordon is a dedicated husband, father and restaurateur. Born and raised in Austin, Texas, he later attended The University of Texas. After graduation, he spent 7 years as a Certified Training Managing Partner at Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers. In 2013, Kyle started his own restaurant concept, Dillas Quesadillas. Dillas now has 4 locations and more than 10 in the works, employs over 100 Team Members and has sales over 5 million dollars. When he’s not flippin’ quesadillas, you’ll find Kyle spending time with his wife and business partner, Maggie, and two children, Parker and Grace.

Kyle Noonan | Owner & Founder | Mutts Canine Cantina

Kyle Noonan is an American entrepreneur, speaker, television personality, sommelier, and creative tastemaker. First known as an entrepreneur who grew his hospitality and entertainment company to a $50mm company in five short years and is on pace to eclipse $100mm in revenue by his seventh year. Not only has Kyle quickly emerged as an innovative entrepreneur and respected speaker, but he has been recognized as an engaging media personality appearing in national outlets such as CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, Bravo, ESPN, FoodNetwork, Travel Channel, Food & Wine Magazine, New York Times, WallStreet Journal, and many more. Kyle has been described “as innovative as he is engaging” by the New York Times.

Sebastiaan Van De Rijt | Owner | Bamboo Asia

Sebastiaan Van De Rijt is a Dutch food entrepreneur and CEO and founder of California fast casual eatery chain Bamboo Asia. He started his food journey working as a young restaurant manager in Brussels, and during his global travels became enthralled by the scrumptious food marketplaces in countries like China and Vietnam. Along with 3 diverse co-founders, Sebastiaan launched the first Bamboo Asia locale in 2011, and followed this with 2 additional Bay Area locations. The restaurant won Fast Casual’s “Brands to Watch 2019” and is set to launch additional locations in 2019. Sebastiaan has been featured on Sous Vide magazine, Restaurant Hospitality, San Francisco Business Times, and more.


Mike Mirkil | VP of Consumer Marketing | Kitchen United

Mike Mirkil is a senior restaurant marketing executive with a 25+ year career focused on understanding consumer behavior and leveraging insights to create effective marketing, advertising and branding initiatives that drive profitable growth across the restaurant and retail industries. He has worked for and with global ad agencies including JWT, FCB, DDB and TBWA Chiat/Day as well as corporations including Taco Bell and General Mills. In 2010 he became the first head of marketing for The Habit Burger Grill, helping grow and scale that brand from 30 to 100 locations.

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