By Land, Air or Sea? Reducing Last-Mile Delivery Costs
Last-mile delivery is one of the most expensive and challenging parts of providing a solid delivery service, but speakers in this session reveal how they’ve not only cut costs but also found ways to overcome the usual headaches, such as lack of brand control and visibility, being forced to work with multiple fleets and losing customer data. They’ll also discuss the pros and cons of deploying AI-powered platforms and implementing delivery drones.
Sean Kennedy | President & CEO | Cowboy Chicken
As president and CEO, Sean Kennedy has been instrumental in establishing Cowboy Chicken as the premium fast casual restaurant brand that pioneered wood-fired rotisserie chicken. Sean has worked to refine the menu, build operational systems, grow system-wide sales and strengthen store financial performance. He launched Cowboy Chicken’s franchise program that helped to pave the way for today’s national expansion and has built a strong corporate team to support franchise development, real estate, construction, training, marketing and franchise support efforts. During his leadership, the brand has been included in Fast Casual’s Top 100 Movers & Shakers list every year since 2011 and in 2017 won the Emerging Chain of the Year award from Restaurant Business.
Olga Sagan | Owner | Piroshky Piroshky
Olga Sagan is the sole owner of the nationally renowned Piroshky Piroshky. Founded in Seattle's historic Pike Place Market, Piroshky Piroshky has offered hand-crafted pies to loyal fans since 1992. An immigrant from Russia, Olga arrived in America when she was sixteen. Since then, she has faced challenges overcoming language barriers and learning to navigate what it means to be a woman in a leadership role, which was not encouraged in her home country. In 2006, she became part of Piroshky Piroshky leadership and took complete ownership in 2017. Under Olga's leadership, the bakery has grown to four locations and a food truck, teamed up with iconic Northwest businesses such as Field Roast, Uli's Famous Sausages, Mondo & Sons, and Tillamook Creamery, and introduced a vegan-friendly line of pies as well. Passionate about leadership, Olga received her SHRM certification in 2018 and was picked by Puget Sound Business Journal as a small business hero in 2019.
Heidi Stirkkinen | CEO | Kotipizza Group Oy
Heidi Stirkkinen joined Kotipizza – with more than 300 restaurants, the largest pizza chain in the Nordic countries – in 2017 as COO and was appointed CEO in October 2021. Having previously served in C-level positions in leading Finnish consumer goods companies, she has put her expertise in marketing and strategic leadership into good use, guiding the chain through a period of rapid growth and helping it thrive even during the Covid-19 pandemic. Under Heidi’s leadership, Kotipizza has continued its award-winning work in sustainability and building a strong customer experience, while also introducing a new emphasis in online services and delivery. Most recently, Kotipizza has garnered international attention with its groundbreaking dynamic pricing model which has boosted deliveries and franchisees’ profits. In addition to her position at Kotipizza, Heidi has also chaired the Finnish Franchising Association since January 2022.
Annie Tselikis | Director of Marketing & Franchise Sales | Cousins Maine Lobster
Annie Tselakis joined Cousins Maine Lobster in 2021 as the Director of Marketing and Franchise Sales with fifteen years of experience in the Maine lobster industry. She fell in love with the water as a deckhand on a ferryboat in Portland Harbor and her career has evolved to cover the entire coast of Maine as she supported commercial fishing organizations and lobster wholesale businesses. In 2014, she became the first executive director of the Maine Lobster Dealers’ Association where she advocated for wholesalers and processors at the local, state and federal level. She previously worked in seafood marketing overseeing digital marketing strategies, international trade shows and trade missions promoting Maine lobster to customers worldwide. Annie graduated from Connecticut College in 2004 with a degree in anthropology and photography. She currently serves on the boards of the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative and the Lobster Research, Education, and Development Fund.
Prakash Karamchandani is a self-proclaimed foodie and technology junkie who co-founded Balance Pan-Asian Grille, a nationally-acclaimed fast-casual Asian fusion multi-unit concept based in Ohio. Since starting the venture in 2010, Prakash has been recognized as a Top 24 Fast Casual Executive and a 20 Under 40 recipient. He is a graduate of the University of Toledo where he received his bachelor’s degree in business administration and met his company’s co-founder. Prakash is a proud husband and father of two.
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.