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Clayton Chan


Clayton Chan is COO of San Francisco Soup Company. Clayton’s background includes strategy, consumer package goods marketing and sales management positions with consulting firm MMR Strategy Group, Procter and Gamble, Clorox and Zoom Eyeworks. He has had international assignments in Asia and United States. He is a former U.S. Army Reserve Officer. Clayton graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley and holds an MBA from Harvard University.

Matt Matros


Matt created the go-to destination for individuals seeking quick and delicious menu options they need to live a healthy, active lifestyle. He developed his concept after practicing a high-protein diet himself that resulted in a 60-lb weight loss. After spending three and a half years in brand management for Kraft Foods, Matt decided to venture out on his own, applying his own personal health achievements and food industry expertise to this original business concept. From experience, he knows that a high-protein and active lifestyle can dramatically affect a person’s health and weight, and he hopes to help people achieve their lifestyle goals with Protein Bar.

Greg Vodicka


Greg works collaboratively with Jeff Fromm (Co-Author of "Marketing to Millennials") on Millennial research and thought-leadership at FutureCast, an insights and analytical consultancy focused on youth trends. He was actively involved in the reports, "Millennials as New Parents: The Rise of a New American Pragmatism," "The Secret Sauce for the Modern Brand: Food Marketing Secrets for Millennial Brand Success" and "Making the Hot List: Retail Marketing Tips for Winning with Millennials." Greg is also the lead editor of www.MillennialMarketing.com. As a true Millennial, Greg's insight into the Millennial Consumer goes well beyond his research, bringing a disruptive cultural perspective to all the organizations he works with.

Stephen Farr-Jones


Stephen brings over 25 years of marketing and retail industry experience to ADM Marketing. As president, he is responsible for business development, sales strategy, operations and brand identification. Clients in the restaurant industry include Perkins Restaurants, Marie Callender’s and O’Charleys. Stephen came to ADM from the world’s third-largest games software publisher, Vivendi Universal Games, where he was the vice president of marketing and business development. He also held the position of president for Coogi Australia, where he restructured US sales and distribution operations for the Australian luxury knitwear brand. Stephen was an integral member of Walt Disney Company’s Consumer Products Division, managing international and duty-free merchandising and licensing.

Michael J. Hagan


As COO at LevelUp, Michael is an expert in mobile payments. He is responsible for growing LevelUp’s mobile payment network across the globe. The convergence of advertising, payments, mobile and analytics has opened up opportunities to help restaurants and food retailers increase revenues and decrease costs. Michael frequently shares his insight from the front lines with examples from merchants who are embracing these changes and capitalizing. A sought after speaker in the foodservice industry, Michael has also guest lectured at Wharton, Drexel, Boston College, Harvard and MIT on mobile payments, entrepreneurship and the future of advertising. Michael is a serial entrepreneur hailing from Boston.

Karley Hofer


As director of brand development, Karley oversees all national and local PR and marketing efforts for Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt’s domestic and international franchise locations. This includes strategy and planning in areas such as creative, social, communications, web, mobile, local store marketing and traditional PR. Karley also sits on Orange Leaf’s executive team which provides the strategic vision for the global brand. Orange Leaf is a self-serve, choose-your-own-toppings frozen dessert franchise with more than 320 locations in the U.S. and Australia. In 2013, Orange Leaf was ranked as the Fastest Growing Frozen Yogurt Chain based on network sales by IBISWorld.

ADM Marketing

  • Gold Sponsor
    • Founded in 1949, ADM Marketing is a Direct Marketing Agency with focused capabilities in Direct Mail, Email, Promotions, Mobile Loyalty, Dbase Management and Segmentation. We work with clients’ to build a Central Member Database and long-term 1-1 relationships with consumers to become more efficient and reduce marketing costs over time.

Sara Bittorf


Since joining Boston Market in April 2012, Sara has created a new brand centered on guest experience and has positioned Boston Market as a fast-casual industry leader. Ms. Bittorf is responsible for all aspects of marketing and has orchestrated three successful new product launches; most recently the addition of St. Louis Style ribs, which lead to an increase in sales of more than 16%. As an expert on consumer behavior, Ms. Bittorf has used her knowledge to develop campaigns and products that connect Boston Market to key audiences. After appearing as the company’s “boss” on CBS’ “Undercover Boss,” Bittorf leveraged her experience to improve restaurant quality and employee relations.

Shannon “Peacasso” Seip


Shannon “Peacasso” Seip is co-founder of Bean Sprouts, a nationally-recognized hip and healthy café with kids front and center of its mission. Bean Sprouts plants locations inside major family destinations where there is a significant built-in customer base and high demand. Its Imaginibbles children’s menu consistently receives major press coverage for its playful presentations and wholesome ingredients, including the Best Kids’ Meal of 2014 by the NRA.

Shannon and her business partner, Kelly “Pea Brain” Parthen, have shared their innovative approach at the White House for the Let’s Move! Program and with media outlets such as Good Morning America, Martha Stewart Living Radio, and Nickelodeon. Shannon and Kelly Parthen have been named among Fast Casual’s “Top 100 Movers & Shakers” three times.

David Gilbert


Prior to joining Heartland, David was the chief operating officer of the National Restaurant Association (NRA). In this role from 2009-2012, he focused on guiding the organization in its ongoing efforts to provide and develop valuable products, services and benefits to help the industry and the Association’s members. He was also responsible for all operations, sales, business/product development, strategic relationships and financial analysis of the association and its subsidiaries. Before the NRA, David spent several years as a restaurant and hospitality industry consultant, and held several executive positions with national chains, including chief administrative officer with Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, executive vice president and chief administrative officer with Shoney’s, and executive director of development with Applebee’s.

Richard Ventura


Richard Ventura manages the Product Marketing and Solutions Operations teams. He is responsible for the growth and market penetration of NEC’s award winning portfolio of products, as well as responsible for development of new go-to-market strategies and products for the solutions market. Richard has spent 13 years within the NEC sales organization focusing on display solutions, display technologies and projectors. During that time he has helped numerous client relationships flourish and spearheaded campaigns which have elevated NEC’s brand and products throughout the marketplace. Richard has been honored to receive over one dozen internal awards from NEC for his exceptional efforts and tireless work ethic.

Joe Knauss


Chef Joe Knauss has been highly successful in his career, working with some of the top chefs in the industry including Chef De Cuisine James Baerd and award winner Chris Schlesinger. Chef Knauss has a wide variety of experience, from corporate dining services to owning his own Brazilian Steakhouse (named a top 15 family restaurant by Money Magazine) to working as a private chef.

In his current role with Manitowoc Foodservice, Joe is constantly on the move as the Corporate Chef Global Accounts, assisting one of the leading global QSR brands. Responsibilities include product development in conjunction with food manufacturer partners, and determining new uses for current Manitowoc Foodservice equipment. He is integral in the development of new equipment opportunities to create ongoing partnership opportunities between Manitowoc Foodservice and the restaurants.

Steven Carvell


Steven Carvell has taught finance courses at the School since 1986. Carvell’s research is directed toward new approaches to hotel valuation and investment decisions. Recent projects have focused on adjusted present value analysis and the valuation of sequential real options within a hotel valuation framework; the valuation of exotic reservation options in hotels; and determining optimal brand standards for hotel companies. His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Forbes,Fortune, and Institutional Investor and Financial World. He specializes in new approaches to valuation and risk analysis in feasibility studies, hotel debt capacity models, strategic benchmarking and economic value added analysis.

Mike Kapalko


Mike promotes SCA’s environmental and hygiene initiatives and consults with customers to help them become more sustainable. He has more than 15 years of experience working in the away-from-home sanitary paper market and is a certified ServSafe food safety instructor. Mike is an active member of the GreenBiz Executive Network, U.S. Green Building Council, Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), and is on the steering committee for the Foodservice Packaging Institute’s (FPI) Paper Recovery Alliance. Mike has been featured as a contributor for various podcasts, online and print publications on topics such as greenwashing and green purchasing habits.

Rachel Phillips-Luther


Rachel drives brand strategy and oversees national and regional marketing initiatives for the brand, which has expanded to more than 85 locations in 15 states since its launch in Birmingham, Alabama in 1995. Her extensive background in hospitality marketing combined with the ability to generate innovative, strategic campaigns has directly contributed to the success of Zoës, which was named one of the Top 50 Breakout Brands of 2013 by Nation’s Restaurant News. Rachel found her calling in the restaurant industry, working across several categories, including Sambuca and Champps Entertainment. Most recently Rachel served as the Vice President of Brand and Innovation at Kona Grill before finding her home at Zoës Kitchen.

Scott Crane


Scott is currently serving as the chief executive officer of Smashburger. Since joining Consumer Capital Partners in 2007, he was a principal at Quiznos and held the role of president of Smashburger, overseeing the opening of the first 100 restaurants and developing a franchise pipeline of over 450 restaurants. Scott’s early career included working for Olive Garden, Houlihan’s and a Wichita concept called Amarillo Grill. Following that, at Lone Star Steakhouse, Scott was charged with, and successful at, turning around the most difficult locations in the system. In addition he owned and operated the Black Canyon Grille – the prototype for Lone Star’s own Sullivan’s Steakhouse. Scott continued his restaurant experience as EVP of operations for Fugate Enterprises. There, Scott oversaw 300 franchised restaurants including Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Sonic, Wingstreet and Blockbuster stores spanning over 20 states and managed 215 commercial properties.

Lisken Kastalanych


Lisken serves as vice president of marketing for la Madeleine Country French Café, where she oversees brand development, marketing and public relations strategy for the rapidly expanding restaurant chain. Lisken joined la Madeleine after five years as the vice president of marketing with Pollo Campero. Prior to that, she spent more than 10 years with YUM! Brands, the parent company of Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC in domestic and international capacities. She has received various honors including being named one of the “Top 40 Under 40” Business Executives by the Dallas Business Journal.

Barbara Burrell


Barbara Burrell heeded the call to entrepreneurship in 1992, bidding farewell to a corporate executive career and launching Los Angeles based, Sky’s Gourmet Tacos restaurant. Barbara’s Mexican Fusion genre of cuisine is billed as “Southwest meets Louisiana” and “Mexican food with a splash of Soul”.

During the worst part of the economic recession in 2010, Barbara and her team, decided to launch a Gourmet Food Truck over a new brick‐and‐mortar location. The risky move proved fruitful, drawing immediate national attention, and catching the eye of Food Network in 2011. The result was participation in the network’s prime time TV series, “The Great Food Truck Race”. The Truck has since emerged to the elite ranks of the nation’s Gourmet Food Trucks. Barbara is a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO).

Amit Kleinberger


Amit Kleinberger is the CEO of Menchie's Frozen Yogurt, the world 's largest self-serve frozen yogurt franchise. He has led Menchie's from 1 store to over 400 stores. Menchie's was recognized in Forbes Magazine on "America's Top 100 Most Promising Companies" list, and Amit, on the list of "America's Most Promising CEOs Under 35." In 2013, Amit was featured twice on CBS's Emmy award winning television show "Undercover Boss." Amit 's entrepreneurial experience prior to frozen yogurt was in owning businesses in retail, health care, and real estate investments. Amit is a veteran and served prior to his business career as an active duty commander and sergeant in an infantry combat unit.

Nick DeCarlo


Nick is the director of restaurant solutions and leads that team for The Wendy’s Company. He is currently responsible for all restaurant-level digital signage hardware, including menu boards. He has held multiple roles in the 11 years with the organization, including restaurant-level solutions, reporting, PCI, ERP and POS. His focus since 2009 has been specifically on digital signage, working closely with the marketing and operations departments not only to ensure the highest quality customer-facing solutions, but also to scale the program to accommodate growth throughout the company-wide system. His team’s goal is to ensure that all digital signage content and pricing is accurate, every day, 24/7.

Elizabeth Friend


Elizabeth covers the global consumer foodservice industry for Euromonitor International, a role she has filled since 2011. As an industry analyst, Elizabeth publishes articles, reports and other analysis detailing trends and developments in all categories of global foodservice. She also assists in the yearly generation of Euromonitor’s market research data, drawing data and analysis from in-country researchers in 54 global markets. The scope of this research spans market sizes, brand and company shares, regulatory changes, trends and new product developments in the restaurant industry. Previously, Elizabeth worked in a variety of research and analytics roles in the finance industry.

Dan McAllister


Dan is responsible for all of Scala’s sales, services and support operations in the US, Canada and Latin America. Most recently he was VP of business development at Firestone Financial where he drove new vertical development for the commercial lender. Prior to joining Firestone, Dan spent 15 years launching and building a large digital media company for TouchTunes Interactive Networks. He is also on the board of directors for Michaels Way a charitable organization that helps families with children with cancer. Dan is a graduate from Babson College in Wellesley Massachusetts where he studied marketing and entrepreneurial studies.

Wayne Alexander


Over the past 16 years, Wayne has literally walked the walk behind "let's talk catering" by developing and deploying both on-premise and off-premise sales strategies that have contributed sales growth and incredible flow-through to net cash on the balance sheets of the companies he has served. With a hands on style founded in operations and servant leadership, he has established catering as a sustained accelerated growth platform through sales force talent acquisition and development, organizational alignment in the multi-unit franchised environment, centralized call center management and program development, and leading flawless execution with operational teams. A developed sense of the catering consumers needs and the unique ability to reach catering decision makers at the time of need has contributed to many successes in developing successful marketing and sales programs.

Prior to joining Monkey Media Software’s Catering Institute to lead the development of strategy, education and training services, Wayne served as Director of Catering for Einstein Noah Restaurant Group where he developed and deployed a strategy that doubled catering sales in a three year period. He led development of $121MM in banquet and caterings sales as Director of Private Event Sales at ClubCorp USA and developed Food Service and Catering operations for Central Market, a division of Howard E. Butt Grocery Company, the largest independent grocery chain in the US.

Betsy Craig


Betsy is the CEO and Founder of MenuTrinfo®, LLC, a company dedicated to protecting lives and promoting brands by proactively building nutritionals for restaurant kitchens with confidence. Ms. Craig has been repeatedly named among the top CEO’s in the fast casual industry, ranked in the top 20 among Fast Casual’s 2012, and 2013 Top 100 Movers and Shakers. Additionally, MenuTrinfo, ranked seventh among new technologies in 2012 and eighth in 2013.

Known as the nutrition guru, Ms. Craig works with clients as diverse as Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health in Baltimore and the Pima County Health Department Services in Tucson, Ariz. In 2013, MenuTrinfo added Amtrak to its growing roster of clients and became a national nutritional partner for the National Restaurant Association and FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education).

David Moore


As Smoothie King’s VP of marketing, David oversees brand strategy and positioning, new product development, marketing, public relations, social media and advertising efforts in the United States, Korea, Singapore and the Cayman Islands. Since joining the company in June 2013, David has introduced Smoothie King’s new tag line, “Smoothies with a Purpose,” to re-connect the brand with its 41-year-old heritage. Additionally, he launched the Smoothie King Center, a partnership with NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans, and continues to build Smoothie King’s multi-national brand. With over 25 years of both corporate and agency experience with well-known companies such as McDonald’s, Hardee’s, Sonic, and Pizza Hut, David’s brand experience spans four continents.

Paul Flanigan


Paul is a seasoned veteran of multi-channel digital media and consumer engagement, and is a frequent speaker and writer for several publications covering topics such as digital signage, interactive experiences, and consumer marketing. From 2009 to 2013, Paul served in executive and advisory roles with some of the industry’s leading organizations and consulted Fortune 100 clients on consumer engagement best practices and strategies. From 2005 to 2009, Paul managed Best Buy’s billion-dollar in-store digital network. Before Best Buy, Paul spent seven years developing customer experiences for Major League Baseball, the National Football League, minor league sports, and collegiate sports programs.


  • Gold Sponsor
    • National businesses rely on DIRECTV to deliver a consistent, total entertainment experience across multiple locations. No matter how complex your organization’s TV installation requirements are, DIRECTV is a smart choice. Our expertly trained sales and service teams, a dedicated customer service staff and full-scale marketing support are designed to meet all of your enterprise’s requirements. Plus, with the widest variety of HD programming available, your customers are sure to be entertained – no matter where they’re located. Let us help you create a total entertainment solution that’s custom-designed to meet your large-scale organization’s needs.


  • Gold Sponsor
    • Driving more than 500,000 screens worldwide, Scala is the world leader in location-based media designed to actively and intelligently influence human behavior. We love creating intelligent digital signage solutions that move products, consumers, and sales metrics. Scala solutions increase sales, improve brand loyalty, optimize customer experience, and reinforce business objectives. Scala is headquartered near Philadelphia, Pa., and has subsidiaries in The Netherlands, France, Norway, Germany, Japan and India, as well as more than 500 partners in more than 90 countries. Find out more at scala.com.


  • Gold Sponsor
    • SCA and its Tork brand offers professional hygiene products and services to customers ranging from restaurants and healthcare facilities to offices, schools and industries. Products include dispensers, paper towels, toilet tissue, soap, napkins, and industrial and kitchen wipers. Through expertise in hygiene, functional design and sustainability, Tork has become a market leader. Tork is a global brand of SCA, and a committed partner to customers in over 80 countries. To keep up with the latest Tork news and innovations, please visit: www.torkusa.com or www.tork.ca

Don Fox


Don is CEO of Firehouse of America, LLC, where he leads the strategic growth of Firehouse Subs, one of America’s leading fast casual restaurant brands. Under his leadership, the brand has grown to more than 670 restaurants in 36 states and Puerto Rico, and is recognized as one of the best franchises in the country. Don sits on various boards of influence in the restaurant community, and is a respected speaker, commentator and published author. He was recognized by Nation’s Restaurant News as 2011’s Operator of the Year. In 2013, he received the prestigious Silver Plate Award from the International Food Manufacturers Association (IFMA), and was recognized by FastCasual.com as the No.1 Executive in the fast casual restaurant community.

Erle Dardick


Erle Dardick is a 15-year catering veteran and business turn-around expert, best known for helping multi-unit restaurant executives create successful catering revenue channels. Erle founded MonkeyMedia Software to provide catering solutions to multi-unit restaurant operators. He also is the author of “Get Catering and Grow Sales! One Monkey’s Perspective: Catering Defined for the Multi-Unit Restaurant Executive,” and is founder of the MMS Catering Institute.


  • Gold Sponsor
    • Philips Commercial Signage delivers 24/7 performance along with the only standard advanced exchange warranty in the business. We focus on one thing, display; front of screen optimization as well as control and asset management. See why we are the choice of the biggest retail and Airport deployments in the US.


  • Gold Sponsor
    • Punchh works for both restaurants and customers. For restaurants, Punchh provides an easy way to engage customers – we provide restaurant customers tools to spread the word of mouth, and reward them for repeat visits and referrals. Most important, restaurants can track and measure what’s working and what’s not; and run campaigns to keep customers coming back.For customers, Punchh puts the punch cards of all their favorite restaurants on phones so that they never have to carry stacks of them. And unlike other loyalty programs, Punchh provides customers rewards when they eat at their favorite restaurants and when their friends show up to eat.


  • Gold Sponsor
    • LevelUp offers the most advanced mobile payment, loyalty and consumer engagement tools on the market in a custom branded app for your business. We've distilled our experience from working with 5,000 merchants and 1MM+ users into a custom experience that can be integrated into your existing mobile application or launched as a brand new one.


  • Gold Sponsor
    • MonkeyMedia Software helps restaurant operators grow sales and increase profits by educating them to become experts at feeding their customers where they live, work and play. Using the turnkey Get Catering and Grow Sales!™ System, a toolkit for catering strategy, education and software, MonkeyMedia Software works closely with each brand’s Executive Team to drive strategic alignment, provide education for team members, and deploy an enterprise software platform to service and support the off-premise business channel. This is accomplished through the MMS Catering Institute™ and MonkeyCatering™ Software platform. For more information, please visit www.monkeymediasoftware.com.

Rewards Network

  • Gold Sponsor
    • Rewards Network is a results-driven, measurable marketing program that helps restaurants fill more tables and build a loyal customer base. We provide access to over 3.4 million passionate diners, driving trial and repeat visits by offering rewards such as airline miles, hotel points, charitable contributions and more. We promote restaurants to diners via websites, emails, social media, and mobile apps, and provide valuable customer feedback and performance tracking to help operators improve service and increase profits. Find out how Rewards Network can help give you a competitive edge. Visit www.rewardsnetwork.com

Heartland Payment Systems

  • Gold Sponsor
    • Endorsed by the National Restaurant Association, Heartland brings secure payment processing, payroll, loyalty and mobile solutions to more than 275,000 business and educational locations nationwide—including 55,000 restaurants. Discover how fair and transparent pricing, our commitment to one-call customer service resolution, our leading advocacy on behalf of customers and our trusted customer relationships can define your Heartland experience.

Randy Gier


Randy Gier serves as Chief Executive Officer of Pizza Inn Holdings, the parent company of legacy brand Pizza Inn and the revolutionary Pie Five Pizza Co., the leading concept in the rapidly developing fast casual pizza segment. Since Randy joined Pizza Inn Holdings, Inc., Pie Five has grown to thirteen corporate-owned locations throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and has awarded multi-unit franchise development agreements with rights to open and operate over 100 locations across the United States.

Larry Winget


Larry Winget is a six-time New York Times/Wall Street Journal bestselling author translated into over 20 languages. His newest book, Grow a Pair: How to Stop Being a Victim and Take Back Your Life, Your Business, and Your Sanity was released on September 12, 2013 and instantly hit both the WSJ and NYT bestsellers list. A member of the International Speaker Hall Of Fame, he has starred in his own television series and appeared in national television commercials. Larry is also regular contributor on many news shows on the topics of money, personal success, parenting and business. Some of Larry’s appearances include CNBC, PBS, MSNBC, FOX News, FOX Business, The Today Show, Larry King Live, The Big idea with Donny Deutsch, Dr. Phil and A&E.

Jeff Fromm


Jeff is a marketing strategy consultant, a contributing writer for Forbes and frequently speaks about millennial consumer trends to leading professional organizations as well as public and private company events.

We live in an era where consumers demand more. More authenticity, more transparency and more participation in “their” most loved brands. How can CEOs and brand leaders embrace this new participation economy and use Content Excellence™ and agile data to fuel their employees and brand fans? The marketing book you bought yesterday is already outdated and the strongest brands of today are adapting and embracing the rules and trends of tomorrow. Learn more about best practices in developing and implementing more innovative integrated marketing initiatives with Jeff Fromm, The Millennial Marketing Guy™ and co-author of “Marketing to Millennials.”


  • Gold Sponsor
    • QwikCart® Restaurant is a full featured Digital Commerce provider of To-Go and Pay-at Table solutions for national and international restaurant brands. Streamlined digital commerce sales channels, including eCommerce, Mobile Optimized Web and Native App, all fully synced to your P.O.S., provide your guests a seamless experience across all platforms. QwikCart Restaurant minimizes your administrative headache by tracking inventory, prompting reorder, and updating menus. We help restaurants facilitate consumer engagement, satisfaction and loyalty, while providing unique business intelligence, mobile brand customization, and a competitive edge. QwikCart helps restaurants do more, simply.

Marc Simon


Marc S. Simon has been the President and Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Rubio’s Restaurants since April 2011. Mr. Simon also served as the Chief Operating Officer from September 2009 and Senior Vice President of Operations from November 2007 to September 2009. Before joining Rubio’s, Mr. Simon served as Chief Executive Officer for America’s Incredible Pizza Company in Tulsa, Oklahoma from October 2006 to August 2007. Prior to that, Mr. Simon worked for McDonald’s Corporation as Vice President for Corporate Development from 1994 to 1998. Mr. Simon led the team that brought Chipotle Mexican Grill into McDonald’s and later served as Regional Director for Chipotle from 1998 to 2006. In addition, Mr. Simon spent 17 years with Ernst & Young’s Midwest Consulting Practice where he focused on strategic issues across the restaurant, distribution, manufacturing and service industries. Mr. Simon has a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts and a Master’s Degree in Library and Informational Science from Case Western Reserve University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Ohio University..”

João Barbosa


João Barbosa is CEO of Giraffas USA and the person at the helm of the chain’s international expansion. João is a partner of Giraffas and has been part of the Board of Director since 2002. He most recently embarked on an exciting new challenge in his extensive business career to bring the third largest Brazilian restaurant chain to the US. Before moving to Miami in 2012, João spearheaded the development of a fund created to raise the initial investment capital for the restaurants in the state of Florida. João has a degree in Engineering, having graduated from FAAP (São Paulo, Brazil) in 1994. From 1994 to 1996, he worked for Banco Itaú, the largest private bank in Brazil, departing to start his own business. In 1997, João co-founded Fast&Food, the second largest logistics service provider in the food service industry in Brazil. Until 2011, he was Director of Operations, Finance and Human Resources at Fast&Food. He sold his share of Fast&Food and now devotes all his time, knowledge and experience on Giraffas’ international expansion..”

Suzy Badaracco


Suzy Badaracco is a toxicologist, chef, and registered dietitian. She holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Criminalistics, an Associates degree in Culinary Arts, and a Masters of Science degree in Human Nutrition. Suzy has worked as an analytical chemist, corporate chef, nutrition specialist, trainer, knowledge manager and trends forecaster for food industry clients since 1992. Suzy has been trained in military intelligence, chaos theory, and predictive analysis techniques used by both corporate and government bodies and has been practicing trends intelligence and predictive forecasting for more than 14 years. Using these techniques she has been able to successfully predict and profile food, flavor, consumer, packaging, and health trends in the United States and research, technology, and government trends internationally for all areas of the food industry..”

Will Hernandez


Will Hernandez has 14 years of experience ranging from newspapers to wire services and trade publications. Before becoming Editor of Mobile Payments Today, he spent two years as the content manager for PaymentsJournal.com, a leading payments industry news aggregator and information hub published by Mercator Advisory Group. He spent four years covering the payments industry as an associate editor for multiple publications in SourceMedia’s Payments Group based in Chicago including ATM&Debit News, CardLine, PaymentsSource.com, ISO&Agent Weekly and American Banker. Will helped launched SourceMedia’s bi-weekly newsletter, Mobile Banker, and built and cultivated the Payments Group’s first Twitter presence. Will holds a B.A. in Journalism from St. John’s University (NY).

Lon Southerland

Former Sr. Director Global Food and Beverage |
Marriott International

Lon Southerland, a prominent food and beverage industry executive known for taking Marriott’s The Bistro – Eat.Drink.Connect® concept from inception to the most rapidly growing fast-casual restaurant in the U.S. (overseeing 750 restaurants, opening one a business day and 2500+ coffee venues), holds a career-long record of key contributions that include four Inc. 500 awards as COO, development of Starbucks #1 F&B program, creation of 7-Eleven’s $120M fresh food concept, and recognition from The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and other media as an industry subject matter expert.

Tom Nix

CEO |Scala

As CEO of Scala, Tom Nix focuses on Scala’s evolution and expansion in digital communications and customer engagement. He is passionate about digital signage as part of a company’s omni-channel strategy. He loves highly immersive, intelligent, personalized experiences that drive high returns for Scala’s many customers across the globe. He believes that leveraging Scala’s Advanced Analytics to predict patterns and improve conversions is a major value add for our customers and is always looking forward to Scala’s next big idea to advance the industry forward. Nix attended the Executive Program for Growing Companies (EPGC) at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business in Palo Alto, California.

The Middleby Corporation

  • Platinum Sponsor
    • Of all things a company can supply none is more important than trust. This is evident at the Middleby Corporation by our strong relationship with customers, suppliers, shareholders, and employees. Trust is why we’re the world leader in commercial cooking equipment. We perpetually “disrupt” our industry with advanced cooking innovations that bring speed, energy saving and green benefits to commercial kitchens. Our products are in one of every three restaurants around the world. And our customers have been with us for decades. It’s all because we don’t just sell products- we provide trust. And we will always keep that prime commodity on our front burner.

Kara Walsh


Kara leads the marketing department at Rewards Network, and is responsible for developing comprehensive marketing strategies that help enhance marketing services for our clients. She joined the company in November 2012. Walsh brings more than 15 years of experience in launching and growing new businesses and revenue streams through general management and marketing roles. Prior to joining Rewards Network®, Walsh was the CEO at Metromix LLC, a joint venture between Tribune and Gannett, where she built Metromix.com into a rapidly growing national network of local entertainment websites in over 50 cities, substantially scaling national and local advertising revenue. Earlier in her career, she held key general management, marketing, loyalty, and brand management roles at companies such as Tribune Interactive, Village Voice Media, TV Guide, British Sky Broadcasting, and Coca-Cola. Walsh graduated with a B.S. in Mathematical Sciences from Clemson University and received a Master’s in Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

Beverage Innovations

  • Gold Sponsor
    • At Beverage Innovations we develop fresh ideas and turn them into successful products and solutions to provide value and increased profits to our customers worldwide. Leading through innovation, constant improvement and creation of trends is what defines our company culture and positions us as a leading resource to the beverage industry internationally with quality products and groundbreaking concepts, state of the art manufacturing and excellent ingredients. Superior customer service is our mission in every department; marketing, sales, procurement, manufacturing, logistics and accounting. Our award-winning design team creates unique brands and turns exciting concepts quickly but thoughtfully into reality with flexible and useful sales tools to increase our customer's profitability.

Chad Bailey


Robeks is the premier, industry-leading fresh juice and smoothie chain in the world, with more than 200 locations open or in development worldwide. With a commitment to taste, nutrition, and innovation, “Healthy has never tasted this good.™” Chad as Chief Marketing Officer has helped revolutionize the Robeks brand over the past two years with 28 consecutive months of same store sales growth, a brand-first new menu, a unique approach to social and digital media, aggressive industry-leading product development, and a next generation store design. Chad’s background includes over 10 years of marketing leadership in the food and beverage category, both on the client and agency side.

Peter Cancro


Peter Cancro is the founder and chief executive officer of Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems, operating more than 760 restaurants in 35 states. In 1975, at the age of 17, he gave up a potential college football career to buy Mike’s Subs. In 1987, he changed the name of the original Mike’s to “Jersey Mike’s” and began his national expansion. Today, Peter eyes the goal of 1,300 units within the next few years, expanding nationally and internationally. One of the secrets to Peter’s success is his philosophy of giving to charities, hospitals, school systems and individuals. And he emphasizes that philosophy to every Jersey Mike’s franchise owner.

Andy Wiederhorn


Andy Wiederhorn is the CEO of Fatburger. Prior to his involvement with the burger brand, Wiederhorn served as founder and CEO of a financial services company. From there, he founded Fog Cutter Capital Group which invested in the then struggling burger concept, Fatburger in 2003. Wiederhorn became CEO in 2006 and after battling the difficult economy pulled the company out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2011 and began the company’s drastic turn around. Under Wiederhorn’s leadership, the burger chain is rapidly expanding across the world, with 150 locations open to date and more than 300 under development in 27 countries.


  • Platinum Sponsor
    • SpenDifference is a full-service, customized supply chain management partner that provides the infrastructure, scale and buying power of a co-op. Through us our customers gain access to the leverage of more than $7.8 billion in annual purchasing as well as programs that cover more than 60% of their foodservice budget. Our team of 25+ industry experts delivers supply chain support and services including annual food cost forecasts, negotiation and management of RFP programs, commodity intelligence and risk management and monthly invoice accuracy verification. And unlike some third-party purchasing partners, our programs are based on landed costs, so there are no hidden fees.

Grey Poupon

  • Platinum Sponsor
    • GREY POUPON Dijon Mustard:. For centuries, the versatility of GREY POUPON has inspired chefs and operators to create delicious menu items with exceptional flavor profiles that draw new customers and stimulate sales. GREY POUPON is the mustard and brand that patrons recognize and demand. It’s held a reputation of sophistication for more than 200 years, yet it maintains a very modern appeal. It continues to inspire culinary innovation that adds a touch of elegance to your offerings.


  • Platinum Sponsor
    • From the classroom to the boardroom, from the desktop to the diner, NEC Display Solutions has a full range of desktop and large-screen LCD displays, and multimedia and digital cinema projector solutions for just about any display need imaginable. NEC Display Solutions leverages award-winning display technologies and advanced research and development, while building on a rich history of product innovation. The quality of the NEC brand is also illustrated by the company’s customer-focused programs, industry-leading support and service benefits for a display solution unlike any other.

Robert Baxley


Robert began his career with Zaxby’s in 1992 as a cook at the company’s third location. Today he serves the brand of over 600 locations as the COO. Robert is a living example of the company’s second core value, Develop Talent. He credits those around him for helping him drop the “K”.

Scott Davis


Scott leads Culinary R&D, Supply Chain/QA, Store Design, Category Management and Sustainability for Panera Bread. Scott began his career at Panera in 1987 in Operations and transitioned to Customer Experience and Product Development focus in 1992.

Alissa Blate


Alissa has vast experience engineering strategic marketing programs for major food and restaurant brands. She is a trusted counselor to the C suite looking to deliver business results through smart, effective communications strategies that build trust and relevance with key stakeholders. Blate has led consumer brand reputation campaigns for McDonald’s, Hillshire Brands and Atkins, among others. Her expertise includes developing integrated communications campaigns focusing on health and wellness strategies, community relations, influencer engagement, social media marketing, sponsorships and real time marketing. A pioneer on the use of social media for restaurant marketing, she guides restaurant brands on understanding their customers, creating a fan base and leveraging social local store marketing.