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Breakout Session / Tuesday / March 21, 2023 / 1:45 PM

Let's Go! Maximizing Profitability and Reducing Costs

It may seem impossible to cut costs and grow, especially when back office development teams are getting leaner, desirable retail locations are harder to find, supply chains are stalling and food costs are soaring, but this panel of cost-conscious experts will share how they've adapted to a volatile market with a little real estate and operations creativity, through the use of technology and a lot of trial and error.


Eric Easton | Chief Financial Officer | Ampex Brands
Eric is chief financial officer for Ampex Brands, a Top 20 Franchisee and owner of approximately 400 franchise locations across YUM! Brands, Long John Silvers, and 7-Eleven. Ampex is also the franchisor for Au Bon Pain the Bakery Café. Eric’s responsibilities include Ampex corporate planning and execution, along with overseeing accounting, finance, human resources and supply chain. Eric has been in the restaurant industry for more than 20 years. He has held progressive roles in finance and operations across privately held, private equity backed and public companies. In these roles, Eric was a key driver for several recapitalization and liquidity events and M&A transactions. This includes participating in the public offering of Ignite Restaurant Group in 2012. While his expertise is in finance, Eric prides himself with the ability to leverage his operations experience to bring a unique perspective to the strategic planning and analysis function.
Jeff Melnick | President | Boston’s Pizza Restaurant & Sports Bar
Jeff Melnick is the President of Boston’s Pizza Restaurant & Sports Bar in the United States. Known as “Boston’s”, this casual dining restaurant and sports bar has been around for over fifty years. His 40+ years in the industry began in Denver but evolved from coast-to-coast positions as he cut his teeth in hourly positions and grew into corporate, executive roles. His respect for the strength of a brand was established during his 18-year tenure at Chili’s Bar and Grill, where he was responsible for more than 80 restaurants in Southern California. Having a natural draw to operations, Jeff’s next move was to oversee operations for Red Robin, spending 10 years with the brand and overseeing 500+ restaurants, as well as new restaurant development. The opportunity to lead the expansion of Boston’s Pizza Restaurant and Sports Bar came in 2018. He is focused on evolving Boston’s through menu development, brand positioning, prototype enhancements, and franchisee engagement.
Michael “Schatzy” Schatzberg | Co-Founder & Managing Partner | Branded Hosptiality Ventures
Michael “Schatzy” Schatzberg is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Branded Hosptiality Ventures. Schatzy has developed, grown, and managed 6 hospitality concepts and advises over 22 restaurants in NYC. He is a founding member of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, a Member of the New York State Restaurant Association and a Mentor for Techstars Farm to Fork. With over 35 years of marketing, brand development, management, business development and hospitality experience, Schatzy started working at Duke’s in 1995. He went on to turn a single concept restaurant into a multi-unit Hospitality Group -opening a second Duke’s location in Manhattan, and re-branding Big Daddy’s from a 1969 soda shop into a twist on the classic American diner. As a hospitality subject matter expert, Schatzy has been featured in Hospitality Technology Magazine, Food Business News, The Wall Street Journal, NBC and CBS and others. He is also the co-host of the Hospitality Hangout, a Hit Podcast on the Foodable Network.
Marie Tullidge | Senior Development Manager | White Castle
Marie Tullidge is serving as the Senior Development Manager for White Castle, where she oversees project management and development for the built environment including deferred maintenance, remodeling, new construction, property management and lease administration. Her work also includes site selection and contract negotiations. She brings 10 years of experience in commercial real estate and development including multiple asset types and disciplines. She also serves as Co-Chair of the Women’s Leadership Initiative for ULI Columbus. Areas of focus include site analysis, valuation, urban planning, and process management.

Taj Adhav | CEO | Leasecake
After starting as a Big Four CPA, Taj Adhav managed more than $2 billion in commercial real estate and new business launches over a decade at Disney Development Company and as an Imagineer launching Disney Cruise Line, and Disney Vacation Club. Transitioning into technology, Taj became an early hire at Channel Intelligence eventually leading business development to launch Channel Intelligence as a SaaS data platform which later was sold to Google for $125 million. Recognizing the opportunity to transform the market where everyone in business owns or leases real estate, Leasecake was born. Tenants, brokers, and landlords desperately needed a way to collaborate, share data, and keep track of business-critical events.
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