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General Session / Monday / March 25, 2024 / 9:00 AM

Executive Perspectives: Inspiration for Today’s Restaurant Leaders

In this session, you will hear four short, thought-provoking talks that will leave you invigorated and inspired.

  • Blurred Lines: The Evolution of the Limited-Service Concept | Tom Gordon
  • Risk It or Ruin It: Your AI-Powered Reputation Management Strategy | Cynthia Sener
  • The Great Fall: How Order Channel Conflict Undermines the Cornerstone of Dining Out | Beto Guajardo
  • The False Summit: Your Path to Unexpected Heights | Ryan Maybee


Tom Gordon | Co-Founder & CEO | Slim Chickens
Co-founder and CEO of Slim Chickens, Tom Gordon is the driving leader behind the brand. Apart from other brands that release large growth numbers, Slim Chickens stands out because of its foundation of systems and processes. By developing successful, multi-unit franchisees within the system who are just as passionate about Slim Chickens, Tom Gordon specializes in partnering with them by hosting the best franchise support team in the industry. His expertise lies in hiring the most passionate, highly qualified executive and corporate teams existing in their field of expertise. Furthermore, a proud horned frog from the South, he has built a leadership style and foundation that is second to none.
Beto Guajardo | CEO | Blaze Pizza
Beto Guajardo currently holds the position of President and CEO at Blaze Pizza. His career includes significant roles across various companies such as Focus Brands, Starbucks, Levi Strauss & Co., and McKinsey. He is recognized for his contributions to the growth and development of global foodservice brands, with a particular emphasis on incorporating technology and innovation. In his current role, he focuses on enhancing the fast-casual dining experience, driving growth, and prioritizing personalized customer service. Guajardo's professional journey reflects a combination of strategic foresight and operational proficiency, contributing notably to the foodservice and franchising sectors.
Ryan Maybee | Co-Founder & Managing Director | J. Rieger & Co.
As a lifelong bartender, restaurateur, certified sommelier and Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) from the society of Wine Educators, Ryan Maybee, co-founder of J. Rieger & Co., is a veteran when it comes to wine, spirits and mixology. It was at Manifesto—located in the basement of the Rieger Hotel—where Maybee became fascinated by the history of the building and he discovered its connection to the historic J. Rieger & Co. distillery, originally founded in 1887. From that point on, he was set on ensuring it was resurrected. After meeting Andy Rieger at the opening of The Rieger in 2010, Maybee and Rieger started putting together a plan to bring back the old distillery. In 2014, the plan fully came to fruition and Maybee and Rieger successfully relaunched the brand with the release of Rieger’s Kansas City Whiskey. As co-founder of J. Rieger & Co., Maybee has played a crucial role in reviving the brand and gaining national prestige.
Cynthia Sener | President, Go-To-Market | Chatmeter
Cynthia Sener brings nearly 25 years of experience to Chatmeter with a background in local SEO, product development, strategic marketing, revenue generation, and sales. Cynthia’s customer-centric approach to driving business value, growth, and revenue will support Chatmeter’s expansion into new verticals. She joined Chatmeter from a previous role as VP of operations and product at Rio SEO and has held leadership roles at data-centric organizations such as Acxiom, Hanley Wood, and Constellation Software. Cynthia is an active Forbes Council contributing author.
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