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Breakout Session / Monday / March 25, 2024 / 1:30 PM

Tips & Tricks: Curtailing Kitchen Chaos

Learning from other people's mistakes and successes must never be underestimated, which is why this panel will feature operators who streamline their kitchen operations and successfully manage uncertainties while cutting costs and service time.


Joey Connaughty | President & CEO | Mitchell Private Holdings LLC/ Culver's
In 2004, Matt and Jeannie Mitchell had a vision of providing a path for themselves and for others to live the life of their dreams. It was that year that they built their first Culver’s restaurant in Lee’s Summit, MO and the rest truly is history. Since then, Mitchell Private Holdings (MPH) has added 11 more Culver’s restaurants in the Kansas City area, 6 within the last 5 years. Joey Connaughty joined Mitchell Private Holdings (MPH) in 2018. In her 30+ years in the restaurant industry, most of her experience has been in full-service independent restaurants. After a career spent with a Madison, WI-based restaurant company, Food Fight Restaurant Group, she was given the opportunity to move to Kansas City with Culver Franchising. From there, she met Matt and Jeannie Mitchell and joined their team. As the CEO, Joey is focused on carrying the legacy of the Mitchell’s, through leadership development, operational excellence, community impact and financial success.
Rafik Farouk | Head of Global Business Development and Retail | PF Changs
Rafik Farouk is the senior director of Global Business Development for P.F. Chang’s. In his role with the international Asian culinary brand, he helps guide international growth strategy and oversees expansion of a company that has more than 300 restaurants in 23 countries and U.S. airport locations. Prior to P.F. Chang’s Rafik served as the Senior Director of Development and Operations at Bloomin’ Brands Inc., where he managed the international franchisees’ development and supported of the global operations as part of the Global Development Team. During his tenure with Bloomin’ Brands, he worked to launch the Aussie Grill by Outback, the first fast-casual concept in company history.
George McLaughlin | Founder | Vicious Biscuit
George McLaughlin, a visionary in the restaurant and franchising industry, is redefining breakfast and brunch dining with his latest venture - Vicious Biscuit, a fast-casual concept that recently started franchising. His first experience in the restaurant industry began at McAlister’s Deli, where his ambition and entrepreneurial spirit led him to become the first employee to transition into a franchisee role, opening his first location in Columbia, SC. Over the years, George expanded his portfolio within McAlister’s Deli to 17 locations, showcasing his knack for growth and development in the restaurant sector. Today, McLaughlin's focus is firmly on the future of Vicious Biscuit, steering the brand towards national recognition with a highly anticipated franchising program in partnership with Pivotal Growth Partners (PGP). With eight franchisee deals totaling nearly 40 units in the works, Vicious Biscuit expects to reach 75 locations over the next five years.
Sam Mendal | Director of Purchasing | Bartaco
Sam Mendal is Director of Purchasing for bartaco Restaurants, a multi-unit restaurant group with 30 locations across 14 states. He has been an employee of the bartaco group for over 10 years, beginning his career in the restaurants themselves. Sam was born and raised in West Hartford, CT and is a graduate of Quinnipiac University. He is currently overseeing all supply chain and procurement duties for the enterprise.

Priya Monga | GM Emerging Business | Instacart Business
Priya Monga is a GM at Instacart Business leading the GTM Strategy for Instacart Business, a service from Instacart built to help restaurants get the ingredients and supplies that they need delivered the same-day. The team at Instacart Business work with restaurants of all sizes to help them streamline their ordering processes and save them time and money by not sending their employees out of their stores to pick up missing ingredients. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and puppy named Gobi and when she's not working with restaurants, she's exploring the restaurant scene in the Bay Area!
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