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General Session / Tuesday / March 21, 2023 / 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 challenged and inspired.

  • How Restaurant Brands Can Help Meet Food Insecurity Needs | Bryce Fluellen
  • Workplace Shortage? There’s an Untapped Labor Pool | Blaine Hurst
  • Why NFTs, Why Now? | Steve Lieber
  • The Digital Dance: Sustaining Digital Innovation | John Laporte


Bryce Fluellen | Executive Director of Social Equity Franchise Program | Everytable
Prior to joining Everytable in September 2020, Bryce Fluellen was a regional director for Starbucks and working with Magic Johnson Enterprises’ restaurant operations (Starbucks and TGI Fridays). He also co-founded a catering business and worked with the American Heart Association on community education.
Blaine Hurst | Advisor | Delish Sisters / Blaine Hurst Enterprises, LLC
Blaine Hurst, retired CEO of Panera Bread, member of the Fast Casual Hall of Fame, four-time Fast Casual Mover and Shaker, author of 8 patents, is one of the highest impact restaurant leaders of recent times, leading two of the largest restaurants in the U.S. Blaine and team Panera were responsible for developing Panera 2.0, the hyper-growth of catering, national delivery, and MyPanera, the largest loyalty program in the US. As President of Papa John’s in the 90’s, he oversaw its growth from 450 stores to nearly 3,000, developing the first nationally available online ordering platform in 1998. Today, Blaine's passion is the employment and care for people with intellectual disabilities. He investor/advisor for the Delish Sisters restaurant and Shepherd Hotel in Clemson, SC that has partnered with ClemsonLIFE in the employment of people with special abilities. He is an active Executive Board Member of Hero Bread, an ultra-low net carb bread products company, now an Amazon top-seller.
John Laporte | President | TASK North America
A hospitality industry veteran of 25+ years, John Laporte has worked with many familiar brands through his IT career. From Quick Service (CKE – Carl’s Jr., Del Taco, and El Pollo Loco) to Full Service (Logan’s Roadhouse, Old Chicago Pizza, The Grill, and Denny’s), his experience is broad and has had to deliver solutions to transform the business while meeting restaurant operation’s expectations. He is an advocate of best-in-class solutions and hybrid nimble IT teams that leverage key internal resources and strong vendor/partner relationships. This allows his teams to “turn on a dime” when course corrections are needed or to “scale up dramatically” when large projects hit his desk. “The combination of these create world class solutions for the business and allow IT to still stay on top of day-to-day service to our restaurants.” One of his favorite sayings is that most vendors have a solution looking for a problem. Our job is to define the problem first and then determine if there is a fit.
Steve Lieber | VP Franchise Business Development | BurgerFi
Steve Lieber is an expert in designing restaurant concepts, the art of pizza making and is a certified pizzaiolo from Italy. As Vice President of Franchise Development, Steve leads the team who sold over 150 franchises to over 50 franchise groups. His team has sold franchises in 20+ states and international deals in Kuwait and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Our teams built systemwide restaurant sales of $100+ million USD in under 5 years. Steve was on opening restaurant teams for 10+ states in the United States. He taught franchisees recruiting techniques, training and operating systems, professionalism, food ordering and preparation, inventory controls, labor controls, local store marketing to increase sales and profitability of all locations.
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