The 2024
Digital Transformation in Fast Casual and QSR Summit

June 11 - 12, 2024
Chicago, IL

2022 Agenda

June 8, 2022

Join us June 7th for the pre-event cocktail reception from 6:00 to 7:00pm

7:50 am - 8:00 AM

Opening remarks

8:00 AM - 8:35 AM

Opening Keynote

Andy Hooper
CEO & Founding Partner
Hart House

The New Dining Experience: The Rise of Drive Throughs, Curbside Pickup, and Third Party Delivery
  • Building your Off-Premise Strategy by Design, not Default
  • Finding your Arbitrage in Rise of Digital Adoption
  • Transforming your Mindset for an Age of Digital Transformation

8:35 am - 9:10 Am


Shawn Lalehzarian
President & Founder
The Red Chickz

How to Effectively Leverage Social Media as a Marketing Platform
  • Understanding the different platforms, their audiences, and how best to use them
  • Best practices in developing content that attracts meaningful engagement
  • Using social media to heighten brand awareness and improve customer relations
  • Leveraging the immediacy of social media as a source of power for your brand


9:20 am -10:30 am

Open Networking

10:35 am - 11:10 am


Andrew Chau
Co-Founder & CEO
Boba Guys

A Glimpse into the Fast Casual and QSR Experience of the Future
  • Shifting from a reactive to a proactive approach to better position ourselves for the industry rebound
  • Reimagining Covid as an accelerator for innovation through the impressive growth of dark and virtual kitchens
  • Examining some of the QSR and fast casual prototypes that have emerged as a direct result of the pandemic. What’s worked and what hasn’t?
  • What does future fast-casual growth look like and what technologies and solutions will help you get there?


Jodie Conrad

Developing the Right Loyalty Program in the “New Normal”
  • Building an agile and innovative loyalty program that stands out from the rest 
  • Navigating the ecommerce world to create unique perks that coincide with the changing customer buying behavior
  • Understanding how to incorporate mobile ordering solutions, delivery and onsite pickups into your loyalty program


11:15 am - 11:50 am


John Poulos
Talent Development Executive

Restaurant Operations Unlocked: Using Learning & Development Insights to Drive Results
  • As the labor shortage continues and turnover rates seem to increase every month, you need to uncover every operational efficiency available to you while investing in team development and retention

  • We’ll discuss the most demanding challenges you face today and share our plans for helping you to overcome them by combining operational data with learning and development insights

  • From optimizing labor schedules, to correlating team knowledge with financial results, to proactively prescribing training when deficiencies are identified, we’ll explore a host of opportunities that will positively impact performance and retention

  • Join us to learn how to unlock the secrets of optimized operations through advanced analytics that correlate financial performance, inventory management, labor scheduling, and training outcomes


Margo Silverman
Customer Marketing Manager

Investing in the Right Digital Ordering Platforms for your Business Model
  • How third party marketplaces have cornered the market on online ordering
  • Understanding ordering technology to ensure you are able to attract and maintain first party guests
  • Identifying a complete solution that is intuitive and creates a positive user experience for both guests and employees
  • Keeping streamlined operations in mind when choosing and deploying your digital ordering platform to protect profits


11:55 am - 12:30 pm


David “Rev” Ciancio
Co-Founder CMO
Handcraft Burgers and Brews


Julie Wade
Senior Director of Marketing
Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe


Adam Golomb
President & CMO
Primanti Bros. Restaurant and Bar


Andy Hooper
CEO & Founding Partner
Hart House


Avi Goren
CEO & Co-Founder


Using an Omnichannel Approach to Effectively Reach Guests and Improve the Customer Experience
  • How are we effectively reaching guests now that the customer’s buying habits have changed?
  • Best practices for maximizing ROI from your text messaging subscriber base
  • Improving satisfaction and driving growth through the use of digital advertising, loyalty programs, online ordering, apps, cashless payment, and social media
  • Leveraging digital capabilities to drive engagement and customer experience
  • Balancing the omnichannel experience between in-person and online/in-app touchpoints
12:40 pm - 1:40 pm


Seth Hall
AVP, Enterprise Restaurants

More Customers, More Problems? Balancing Acquisition and Retention in a labor-Scarce, High-Cost Market


Aubrey Baron
Director of Sales

Building and Retaining a Strong Team


Derek Domino
GTM Lead

Leveraging Automation to Create Superior Customer Experience


Daniel Estrada
86 Repairs

Alan Moy
Viet Nom Nom

How to Take Repairs from Pain in the A** to Problem Solved


Abhinav Kapur

Actionable Ways to Understand and Optimize the Customer Journey for your Brand


1:45 PM - 2:20 PM


Ryan Harrison

Using Technology to Innovate Guest Experience & Increase Customer Engagement
  • Looking at Zunzi’s dual concept set up as a blueprint for the evolving restaurant model
  • Understanding how to integrate kiosks and QR codes to align with the shifts in a post-pandemic world
  • Identifying the link between the use of technological innovation and improved customer experience
  • Building a sense of community by rewarding loyalty program members while giving back to the community through Zunzi Fest


2:25 PM - 3:00 PM


Aaron Delgadillo
Head of Customer Success

How to Hire Fast and Retain Talent in a Challenging Labor Environment
  • How to Hire Fast and Retain Talent in a Challenging Labor Environment
  • Leveraging the right tools and technologies to screen candidates and cut down hiring and onboarding times
  • Empowering both new and existing employees by giving them easy access to handbooks, training videos, and workplace tours
  • Implementing the right change management strategies to build employee engagement and improve retention


Jim Hardeman

Matthew Smith
Learning And Development Specialist
Sizzling Platter

Sizzling Platter’s Digital Transformation Journey | Learnings and ROI with CMX
  • Sizzling Platter – our brands, and strategy
  • Our journey toward digitizing our operations
  • How we prioritize initiatives, the tools we use, and what we measure
  • The ROI and impact on the business to date
  • Our plans for the future


3:10 PM - 4:10 PM

Open Networking

Carissa De Santis
Friendly’s/BRIX Holdings

Geo-location, 3PV Aggregators and Build Versus Buy Strategies for Mobile App & Online Ordering


Nick Bucciero
Director of Marketing

Leveraging The Metaverse to Bring the In-person Dining Experience Directly to your Customer’s Homes


Julie Wade
Senior Director of Marketing
Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe

Products and Service Innovation – Using Omnichannel Strategies to Drive Growth in a Post-Pandemic World


4:15 PM - 4:50 PM


Marc Hinson
VP People


Nate Weir
VP Culinary
Modern Restaurant Concepts


Michael Rao
Chief Strategy Officer
Romeo’s Pizza


Fuelling Future Growth with the Right Talent, Retention, and Inspiration in a Post-Pandemic World
  • Managing employee motivation and retention to increase customer experience
  • Setting new levels of comfort with enforced health, hygiene, sanitization, and safety standards
  • Redefining the role and expectations of an employee with a raised minimum wage
  • Defining team member performance, encouraging mentorship, and letting go of toxic employees
4:50 PM - 5:00 PM

Closing remarks

5:30 PM

Drinks reception

June 9, 2022

7:50 am - 8:00 AM

Opening remarks

8:00 AM - 8:35 AM

Opening Keynote

Josh Halpern
Big Chicken

The Intel Inside: How to Create Food Experiences from Branding, Menu Development, Strategy to Operational Execution
  • Understanding your pain points and leveraging them as the driving force behind your digital transformation
  • Smart innovation – understanding what drives customer satisfaction and deploying the right technology to achieve your goals with the lowest operational costs
  • Taking a robust look at the emerging restaurant technologies having the most significant impact on the sector
  • Identify market segment – closely looking at the needs and motivations of the various consumers in the marketplace, primarily by considering the array of benefits that they are seeking with a fast food option


8:40 AM - 9:15 AM


Zack Oates
Founder & CEO

Jon Sherman

Case Study: How Sticky’s Built the Best Darn Customer Experience
  • Understanding the role that customer feedback plays in building relationships
  • What works and what doesn’t when it comes to collecting customer feedback
  • How to make sense of your feedback data and convert it into actionable insights to boost resolve concerns, increase satisfaction, and ultimately drive growth


Amber Dodson
Director, Business Development

Make The Most Of It: How To Increase Guest Check
  • Customers are more interested now than ever in treating themselves to innovative beverages while dining out, according to December 2021 research from The National Restaurant Association

  • Updating and/or adding to your beverage menu can increase guest check and drive revenue, but creating such intricate drinks for mass consumption could be quite the challenge given the labor shortage

  • This session will discuss how to quench the consumer’s thirst for new options and customization despite fewer workers


9:20 AM - 10:35 AM

Open Networking and round tables

Jason Profitt
Director, Technology

Leveraging Technology to Create and Seamless Customer Experience


David Jones
CEO and Co-Founder
Blazing Onion Burger Company

Selecting the Right Technology Provider: What Small Businesses should look for in Potential Partners and how to Avoid Costly Mistakes 


Ryan Bowersox
Cultivate Food and Coffee

Laura Gunnels
Vice President, Marketing & Branding
Cultivate Food and Coffee


How to Vertically integrate your Supply Chain to Minimize Disruptions


10:40 AM - 11:15 AM


Tom Selementi
SVP Retail
Bluestone Lane

Successfully Integrating QR Code Technology into Today’s Customer Experience
  • Looking at how Bluestone Lane used QR code technology to pivot to a fully contactless dining experience during Covid followed by migration into the app experience
  • Understanding the role played by QR tech in Bluestone Lane’s concierge ordering experience and how transformational it has been in building brand loyalty through 1 to 1 digital customer relationships
  • Case Study: Looking at how the Bluestone Lane team built out the delivery experience through their app and layered technology into the entire customer journey


11:20 AM - 11:55 AM


Hope Neiman

Personalize It: What Your Guests Want In The New Multi-Channel World
  • How the role of e-commerce and pandemic have accelerated existing trends towards digitization in QSR and fast casual restaurants
  • Understanding why customers expect personalized dining experiences from their preferred restaurant brands
  • How to leverage the right digital tools and operations expertise to building personalized customer experiences
  • Using a multi-channel, customer-centric approach to optimizing customer experiences and generating more profits


Nick Hokanson
Manager, Customer Success

Mike Mann
VP of Franchise Services
Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers

The key to Growth and Gaining Competitive Advantage: Better Team Execution

In the current environment, where operators are fighting for talent, reacting to fast-changing market dynamics, and needing to lean into (or get sidelined by) the accelerating pace of innovation, one operational lever has become both a major constraint on the business and the path to growth: team execution. Specifically, ops leaders are investing in initiatives that will give them an edge in making store, field and HQ employees more efficient and that will raise the bar on the quality of execution across every one of their stores, even as they add more locations.


12:00 PM - 12:35 PM


Solomon Choi
16 Handles


Hannah Lopez
Marketing Director


Natalie Wild
Chief Customer Officer


Ryan Bowersox
Cultivate Food and Coffee


David “Rev” Ciancio
Co-Founder CMO
Handcraft Burgers and Brews


Understanding Guest Acquisition, Activation and Engagement Best Practices for a Post Pandemic Landscape
  • Learn how to use and uncover data to identify, attract and retain new and existing customers
  • Outlining omni-channel media strategies – including email, social media, direct mail, and loyalty programs – to drive activation and engagement within your customer base
  • Identify patterns in guest behavior to optimize marketing spend, drive operational efficiency and increase ROI
12:40 PM -1:40 PM


Jimmy Goldsmith
Sales Engineer

Using Software Automation to Alleviate the Labor Crunch

Ryan Huffman
Vice President of Strategic Partnerships

How to Seamlessly Rollout New Technology and Upgrades Across a Broad Portfolio of Sites Without Going Over Budget or Over Schedule


Scott Gierach
Director, Ecosystem Development
Apex Order Pickup Solutions

Completing the Digital Journey through Automated Order Handoff


Ted Babcock
Vice President of Menu & Pricing Analytics

Menu Price Optimization — Best Practices to Combat Inflation


1:45 PM - 2:20 PM


Jason Edone
Project Manager

Kerry Trudeau
Systems Manager
Buddy’s Pizza

How the Right Workforce Scheduling Software can Help you get a Handle on Your Labor Costs
  • Using artificial intelligence capabilities, to simplify labor budgeting, forecasting, and scheduling processes
  • How modern workforce scheduling software can help you save money by accurately monitoring time entry, labor tracking, and payroll integration
  • Leveraging mobile-enabled self-service applications to allow employees to quickly view their schedules, submit time-off requests, adjust availability, and issue sick-leave notifications


JJ Mills
Global Director, Customer Success

Events Impact QSRs and Fast-Casual Restaurants: Unlock Profits with the Right Smart Data
  • Understanding how events impact demand
  • Understanding why tracking real-world events at the local level is crucial to understanding individual store’s demand patterns
  • How to drive revenue and decrease costs with intelligent event data
  • Practical use case on how fast-casual restaurants are actually using the data


2:25 PM - 3:00 PM


Darien Bates

Enhancing the Customer Experience and Engaging with Guests Through Digitization
  • Working with customers and other stakeholders to understand what their needs are
  • Redesigning your website and apps to create a more intuitive, streamlined ordering experience
  • Standing out among the crowd: how to create apps that drive value for both guests and your brand


John Isbell
VP Learning and Development

How Mobile Ordering Has Redefined the Customer Journey
  • Understanding how the pandemic has changed mobile ordering from a source of steady growth into an essential component of your digital strategy
  • Adapting your marketing, point of sale and customer loyalty operations accordingly to keep pace with increasing on-demand customer expectations.
  • Examining the impact that consumer’s online needs and expectations are having on the offline experience
  • Leveraging your apps to take an all-in-one approach to draw in and maintain new customers 


3:05 PM - 3:40 PM


Carissa De Santis
Friendly’s/BRIX Holdings


Jodie Conrad


Ghost Kitchens: Redefining the Delivery Scene, One Virtual Kitchen at a Time
  • Understanding what is a ghost or virtual kitchen and how their importance has changed since the onset of the pandemic
  • Using ghost kitchens as a vehicle for both launching a new QSR brand or as a means of expanding into new markets
  • How to make the model work and best practices to ensure success
3:40 PM - 3:50 PM

Closing remarks