March 24-26, 2024 | Kansas City, MO — Early Bird registration ends Nov. 17. Register Now
General Session / Wednesday / March 22, 2023 / 2:00 PM
Franchising Think Tank
This panel, packed with CEOs and franchisors, will talk about the latest issues of the day and what it takes to succeed in franchising. This session will definitely be worth staying until the end of the Summit.
Ramon Bourgeois | CEO (Acting) | Tony Roma's
Ramon Bourgeois has over 25 years in the restaurant and hospitality industry. He has worked for various restaurant chains as well as airport concessionaires, where he has been responsible of opening restaurants, developing multi-unit operational leaders, training, and domestic/ international business development. During his time in the restaurant industry, he has opened over 100 new restaurants in multiple countries around the world. Starting in 2021, Mr. Bourgeois was named as Chief Executive Officer upon completion of the acquisition by Equity Investors of New England, having previously served as the Senior Vice President, Global Franchise of Roma Franchise Corporation, Romacorp, Inc. and Roma Systems, Inc. as of November 2019, and was appointed a Director of Roma Systems, Inc., and Roma Franchise Corporation in January 2020. Previously, Mr. Bourgeois was Vice President, Global Franchise and was the Regional Vice President of Roma Systems, Inc.
Betsy Hamm | CEO | Duck Donuts
Betsy Hamm, MBA, oversees the overall direction of the organization and leads the development of the company’s long- and short-term goals and strategic initiatives. She is committed to building and protecting the 100+ unit growing franchise brand by generating awareness and driving revenue. She works alongside her team to identify and provide the necessary tools and resources to ensure franchisees achieve ultimate profitability and success. In her previous role as chief operating officer, she oversaw operations, marketing and business development, focusing on product development and daily operations. Prior to being named chief operation officer, she served as the marketing director. Betsy joined Duck Donuts with 15 years’ experience as the marketing director for Hershey Entertainment & Resorts, a world-class entertainment and hospitality company that owns and operates many of the sweet attractions, resorts, and entertainment venues across Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Ingo Stork | Co-Founder & CEO | PreciTaste
Ingo Stork is the Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer at PreciTaste, smart software automation to drive productivity & profit in food chains. As the company continues to expand through growth funding, Stork’s mission is to revolutionize the way restaurants operate through a proprietary AI kitchen management solution powered by demand-based predictions and deep learning. He’s responsible for the vision behind the technology setting the new standard for food AI management across the industry. With a Doctor of Science in Machine Learning (TUM), Stork ventured into AI after conducting research for his masters at MIT. In bringing his vision to develop AI to automate the foodservice industry, Stork has invented 40+ patents. He formerly founded and led his own research group at TUM, and has dedicated the past decade to building PreciTaste’s platform that scales existing and new food concepts while driving labor efficiency and reducing food waste.
Ray Titus | CEO | United Franchise Group
Twice, Ray Titus has received the prestigious “E” Award, the U.S. President’s highest recognition for significant contributions in expanding U.S. exports. That export was the enterprise of franchising. In 1986 Ray founded Signarama®, growing it into the leading sign franchise in the world, laying the foundation for what has become United Franchise Group (UFG). Today UFG is affiliated with many of the most recognized brands within multiple industries, from promotional products to coworking. Ray’s commitment to franchising led to the establishment of the Titus Center for Franchising, at Palm Beach Atlantic University, the first university center of its kind. His philosophies on growth, positive attitude, and family, influence the core values that have driven success within the brands he has developed from conception to international expansion.
Charles Watson | CEO | Tropical Smoothie Cafe
Charles Watson was named CEO in December 2018. In this role, he is responsible for the brand’s strategic vision and overall franchise performance. He was previously Tropical Smoothie Cafe's Chief Development Officer since 2016 after serving as VP of Franchise Development since 2010. In these roles, Charles was responsible for all development of the Tropical Smoothie Cafe brand. A veteran hospitality professional, Charles has worked for several hospitality-related companies, including Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Intercontinental Hotels Group, US Franchise Systems, Inc. and Hospitality Real Estate Counselors. Charles is a graduate of The Hotel School at Cornell University and also holds a Masters of Business Administration from The Terry College of Business at The University of Georgia.
Cherryh Cansler | VP of Events | Networld Media Group
Before joining Networld Media Group as Vice President of Events, Cherryh Cansler spent several years as VP of Editorial managing the Networld’s nine B2B publications. Throughout her 20-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.
Many of the fastest growing and most successful chains in the restaurant industry are embracing innovation throughout their operations. These forward-thinking brands are constantly looking for the next innovation — new technologies, new menu items, new marketing tactics, new training programs, etc. — that will propel them to even greater heights.
At the Restaurant Franchising & Innovation Summit, executives from leading brands will share their success stories of the numerous ways they have innovated to grow their franchises. Attendees will gain insight and inspiration to help them be more progressive in every facet of their businesses.