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2015 Archive

October 27-28, 2015 | Westin Gaslamp

Thanks so much for joining us during our 3rd Restaurant Innovation Summit! Featuring an agenda of compelling solo presentations from innovative leaders in the industry, the Restaurant Innovation Summit brought together curious restaurant professionals and decision-makers from finance, marketing, IT, operations and related disciplines.

This keynote industry event was held in conjunction with the National Restaurant Association's bi-annual meeting of the Marketing Executives Group (MEG) and Information Technology Executive Study Group.

Be sure to check out the recap video, photos, and social media coverage from the event!





2015 Restaurant Innovation Summit





Tuesday, October 27

11:00 a.m. - 5 p.m. Registration
  Location: California Foyer
11:15 a.m. - Noon Networking Lunch
  Location: California Foyer
Noon Welcome
12:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Tech Trends for Restaurants
  Speaker: Amy Webb, Founder and CEO - Webbmedia Group
  Come hear Amy Webb's presentation on the near-future of what tech trends will have the biggest impact on restaurants this year. Webb will deftly explain what the trends are, why they matter to you and your business and, most importantly, how you can prepare for the disruption ahead.
   Presented by American Express
1:30 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. Screens, Sensors, Displays: A Personalized Experience
  In the age of extreme personalization, retailers and restaurateurs are able to tailor the individual experience to a guest’s preferences. How do they do this? By taking advantage of the smartphone in everyone’s pocket and reach a captive, local audience with deals, incentives, and other strategies that drive business. Hear lessons of success around beacons, predictive marketing, mobile applications, and more.
Chris Demery, Group VP Customer Experience Technology - Bloomin' Brands
Dawn Aubrey, PhD, Associate Director of University Housing for Dining Services - University of Illinois
   Presented by Constant Contact
2:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. Roundtable Discussions

Join colleagues and new friends at your table for a lively roundtable discussion while sharing key take- aways from the opening sessions.

2:45 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. Networking Break
3:15 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Tableside Tech
  A few years ago, “tablets at the table” at neighborhood restaurants was a big-deal headline. Now, revisit this technology that helped make ordering faster, easier, and more convenient for guests. What have these restaurants learned from the process? What would they do differently? And what’s next?
  Moderator: Lisa Landsman, Head of Industry, Restaurants - Google
Chris DeFrain, Chief Financial Officer - Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews, Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group
Raymond Howard, Co-Founder, Ziosk
  Presented by Ziosk
4:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Raising the Bar - How Anheuser-Busch is Innovating to a Better Guest Experience
  Anheuser-Busch is rapidly innovating both from a hardware and promotional perspective to help drive higher guest satisfaction, while making restaurant operations, and promotions more effective. Josh Halpern, Anheuser-Busch's Vice President of On-Premise will take you through the way they see the channel's evolution, and how to help drive higher total check sales.
Speaker: Josh Halpern, VP, National Retail Sales, On-Premise and Military, US - Anheuser-Busch
4:30 p.m. - 5:15 p.m. IBM Chef Watson
  IBM's famous cognitive computer gives us a demonstration on how creative computing power can be applied to cuisine.
Speaker: Florian Pinel, Senior Technical Staff Member Chef Watson, Watson Life — IBM
6 p.m. - 9 p.m. Evening Reception
  The Westgate Hotel Rooftop
1055 2nd Ave
San Diego, CA
Foodable will be kicking off its premier Foodable Five Star Awards at the evening reception! Who are the champions of the foodservice industry that elevate food, service, brand, digital, and leadership to the highest level, analyzed by social media consumers and peers? Winners of each category will be announced at the event! 

Celebrate the winners of the night with music by Nashville-based indie band The Lonely Biscuits.

 Presented by American Express

Wednesday, October 28

7 a.m. - 11 a.m. Registration
  Location: California Foyer
7 a.m. - 8 a.m. Networking Breakfast
  Location: California Foyer
8 a.m. - 8:15 a.m. Welcome
8:15 a.m. - 9 a.m. The New Delivery On-Demand
  There’s no better example of the new on-demand economy than the proliferation of delivery apps that allow consumers to order great restaurant food delivered straight to their door. What’s going on behind the scenes?  During this panel, representatives from some of the top online delivery services will talk through the current state of the industry.
  Moderator: Brita Rosenheim, Rosenheim Advisors
Mike Davis, VP of Sales and Business Development -
Prahar Shah, Head of Business Development - DoorDash
Stan Chia, SVP of Operations - GrubHub
Holger Luedorf, SVP of Business Development - Postmates

Puneet Tandon, VP of Operations - Zomato
9 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. Truth in Data
  The guest insights you learn from analytics can be somewhat surprising – your primary guest segment may not actually be your most loyal customer, for example. As a consequence, analytics can be game changing for restaurant marketers.
  Speaker: Helen Baptist, VP of CRM - Fishbowl
  Presented by Fishbowl
9:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. Cybersecurity Update
  Restaurants could be prime targets for hacking due to high volumes of credit card transactions but also because of a lack of technical resources in this area. We will briefly review cyber threats the restaurant industry faces and provide information on what the Association is doing to help provide tools for restaurant operators to protect their businesses.
  Speaker: Susan Carroll, Director of IS - White Castle
9:45 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. Networking Break
10:15 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. The New(est) Way to Pay
  What’s more convenient than pulling out a credit card to pay? Not having to pull out your wallet in the first place. The next wave of payment technology is mobile, frictionless, and catching on fast. Learn what to expect from this new technology as more diners get comfortable with paying for dinner (and lunch… and breakfast… and coffee) differently. 
  Speaker: Kate Linington, Operations Manager - Sotto
yan Cole, Owner - Stone's Throw and Trestle & Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. The Future of Food
  Speaker: Edie Weiner, President and CEO - The Future Hunters
  Edie's keynote address will focus on the far-future of food and agriculture. The future sources of food and changes to the supply chain will be a startling and exciting topic of conversation.

Note: Agenda and speakers subject to change without notice.







Amy Webb
Founder and CEO
Webbmedia Group

Amy Webb is a digital media futurist and Founder of Webbmedia Group, a leading digital strategy consulting firm for emerging technology advising in media, entertainment, financial services and technology companies, advertising and marketing firms, and for higher education, nonprofits and government. Webbmedia Group researches near-future trends in digital media and technology, and develops business strategies to help clients engage bigger audiences and capture more market share.

Webb is a Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and a Lecturer on emerging technology and media in the Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program at Columbia University. In addition, Webb is the co-founder of Knowledgewebb Training, a hands-on corporate training firm that was incubated at Webbmedia Group. She is also the co-founder of Spark Camp, a next-generation convener that facilitates important conversations on the future of a better society. Recently, Forbes named her one of the "Women Changing The World," while the Columbia Journalism Review included Webb on its "20 Women to Watch in Media" list.

Edie Weiner
President and CEO
The Future Hunters

Edie Weiner is President and CEO of The Future Hunters, one of the world’s leading futurist consulting firms. She has served over 400 clients identifying opportunities in the areas of marketing, product development, strategic planning, human resources and public affairs. Her clients have ranged from national governments to the Fortune 500. Edie has keynoted over 300 conferences (including The World Economic Forum in Davos, and TEDx). She has guest lectured at various prestigious institutions, including Harvard, Wharton, U.S. Army War College, U.S. Naval War College, among others.

Edie is a member of the Women’s Forum, a co-founder of the Belizean Grove, the first recipient of the Fashion Group International’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award (1998), NOW New York’s 2011 Woman of Power and Influence Award, and The World Future Society’s 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award. She has won numerous awards, including NOW New York’s 2011 Woman of Power and Influence and the World Future Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Edie's keynote address will focus on the far-future of food and agriculture. The future sources of food and changes to the supply chain will be a startling and exciting topic of conversation.

Watch Edie discuss our economic transformation in this video from TEDxMidwest.

Dawn Aubrey
Associate Director of Housing for Dining
University of Illinois
National Association of College & University Food Service (NACUFS)

Dawn is responsible for all aspects of University Dining (Residential Dining, Retail Dining, Catering, Online and Food Truck) at University of Illinois, a Big Ten Institution. University Dining is an award winning dining service for sustainability, health, wellness & nutrition, menus, events and dining app. Dining has 9,000+ meal plans serving 40,000 meals daily. Dining serves the highest international student population in the US. Dawn works with campus academic partners to incorporate the dining experience into the academic experience, quantifying the experiential learning that dining offers.

Using continual process improvement, trends analysis, generational study and strategic planning University Dining has a culture of innovation. Dawn presents, writes and contributes to articles that demonstrate the importance of the college age generation as the birthplace of trends.

As the President of NACUFS, Dawn works to support excellence in University Dining and elevate dining services.

Helen Baptist
Vice President of CRM

Helen leads Fishbowl’s Guest Analytics solution development and strategy. She brings extensive cross-industry background in loyalty and CRM to the company. Prior to coming to Fishbowl, she spent more than ten years with Carlson Marketing/Peppers and Rogers where she led client engagements for loyalty and CRM, developing and honing best practices. A leader on the AARP Member Relationship Management team, she created the product roadmap and customer touch map for the more than 40 million AARP members. Her work there drove double digit improvements in acquisition and retention rates. As a consultant, Helen also designed and launched Orbitz Rewards and redesigned Giant Eagle’s Food Perks Program. Helen holds a Bachelor of Arts from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada.

Susan Carroll
Director of Information Services
White Castle

Susan Ann Carroll-Boser, director of information services, started her career with White Castle 20 years ago. In her current position, Susan works with her team to create and support software while also working with White Castle telecommunications. She serves on the Restaurant Leadership and Loss Prevention teams and is always willing to help grow White Castle’s technology base in any way that she can.

Susan has made many contributions to White Castle’s technology and systems integration. Her contributions include the creation of cross platform People systems, early innovations in OCB software and the constant drive to discover problems and find a solution.

A resident of Worthington, Susan lives with her husband, Ken, and three stepsons. In her free time Susan enjoys volunteering for the American Heart Association and Autism charities. She is also a member of Women in Technology, a tech organization that offers a broad range of support, programs and resources to advance women in technology from the classroom to the boardroom. Susan is involved with the National Restaurant Association’s Information Technology Executive Study Group. This group is devoted to keeping members current with the latest developments in the restaurant industry and IT field.

Susan earned a MBA in information systems development from the Keller Graduates School of Management and a Bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University.

Ryan Cole
Stone's ThrowTrestle and
Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group

The “serious guy” in the group, Ryan Cole’s history in the hospitality and restaurant industry is nothing to laugh at. Beginning his career in the kitchen as a cook at the age of 15, Ryan has grown up in the industry working his way through all positions a restaurant has to offer, giving him a personal understanding the business inside and out.

A Boston University graduate with a BS in Finance and Hospitality Administration, Ryan was sidetracked by his love of wine at one point, and traveled the world as a Kopf Scholar learning the intricacies of wine making in the most prestigious wine regions of the world.

An ‘escape’ from hospitality and restaurants found Ryan working as a Results Investment Analyst for The Capital Group. Short-lived and craving being able to sample wine in the middle of the day, Ryan found himself moving cross country to take the Wine Director and Manager position for the four-star Boston restaurant, Clio.

Needing additional frequent flier miles, Ryan headed back to Los Angeles to lead the Bastide Restaurant team to 3.5 stars from the LA Times. From there, Ryan joined Michael Mina and Mina Group, opening three restaurants for the renowned chef, including his eponymous restaurant in San Francisco, which earned a Michelin Star, Esquire Magazine’s Restaurant of the Year and 3.5 stars from the San Francisco Chronicle. His final two years with Mina Group offered the chance to work as the Director of Operations for the West Coast, where Ryan oversaw five Mina restaurants in three markets.

Ryan is focused on bringing back the dining basics with Stones Throw, Fat Angel, and his newest endeavor, Trestle – hospitality, great value, integrity and fun. He firmly believes these are the driving forces behind a restaurant that everyone will love visiting time and time again. And Ryan will be there to personally welcome you each time!

Stan Chia
SVP of Operations

Stan Chia serves as Senior Vice President of Operations at GrubHub.  Stan’s responsibilities include operations infrastructure and general management of the delivery business units.  With a passion for creating disruptive customer experiences, Stan is focused on delivering an unparalleled experience for GrubHub diners while bringing superior value to GrubHub’s restaurant partners. Prior to joining GrubHub, Stan held multiple senior leadership roles at Amazon, Cisco, and General Electric, running multibillion dollar P&Ls, as well as strategic supply chain organizations.  While at Amazon, one of his accomplishments included the launch of the company’s first toy “pop-up store.”  His experience spans many industries; retail e-commerce, high-tech, and energy.  Stan holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA from Emory University.


Mike Davis
VP Sales and Business Development

Mike Davis is the Vice President of Sales & Business Development at, where he has forged strategic partnerships with some of the largest local content aggregators on the web. He also leads all efforts focused on the continued success of’s merchant partners, including the development of new products and features like Storefront, MenuConnect and DeliveryConnect. No stranger to the world of on-demand delivery, Mike previously served as Director of Sales for Dotmenu, the parent company to Campusfood and Allmenus. Before Dotmenu’s sale to GrubHub in 2011, Mike had helped build it into a nationally recognized brand, and Campusfood into the #1 online ordering destination for college students. Mike earned his BA at North Carolina State University and now lives on the Upper West Side with his wife and two kids.

Chris DeFrain
Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews

Chris DeFrain is the Chief Financial Officer for Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group, a Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews franchisee. Chris joined LVRG in 2009 and the company has grown from 16 Red Robin restaurants to 21 Red Robin restaurants. Chris’s responsibilities include working with LVRG’s technology team. LVRG began using table top technology in August, 2012.

Prior, Chris earned his Certified Public Accounting (CPA) license and worked in Public Accounting for twelve years. He was a Partner at a Regional CPA firm. Chris specialized in restaurants and worked with numerous McDonald's restaurant franchisees.

Chris received his Bachelor’s degree from Muhlenberg College. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA). He resides in Emmaus with his wife Suzanne and his children, Melissa and Paul.

Chris Demery
Group Vice President, Customer Experience Technology
Bloomin’ Brands Inc.
Senior IT Business Partner
Outback Steakhouse

Chris is responsible for all technology initiatives that support or serve internal users throughout the Bloomin’ Brands (Outback, Bonefish, Carrabbas, & Fleming’s) enterprise – a network that comprises nearly 1400 international and domestic stores and over ninety-six thousand corporate and franchise end-users. He’s responsible for integrating internal technologies with customer-facing applications, as well as implementing all Restaurant and Business Intelligence systems that support the Enterprise.

In addition to Restaurant applications, Chris has strong cross-industry business expertise in software engineering using Agile & Extreme Programming methodologies, process improvement, project management, & six-sigma. Along with his current IT applications responsibilities at Bloomin’ Brands, Chris has led teams to effectively use enterprise collaboration and technology to drive business initiatives.

Josh Halpern
VP, National Retail Sales, On-Premise and Military

As VP, National Retail Sales, On-Premise and Military, US, Josh is responsible for managing the On-Premise and Military National Retail Sales teams, with direct emphasis on the casual dining, gaming, concessions, lodging, and Military channels. Josh also plays a significant role in developing and executing the overall On-Premise sales strategy, and ensuring that ABI gets a positive return on our marketing investment.

Josh joined Anheuser-Busch Inbev in June 2012 as Global Director, Trade Marketing (Off-Trade), where he was responsible for driving key in-store marketing initiatives in the off-premise channels and working with the global key accounts team to enhance the category management initiatives. Among the projects he led include the global shopper mission activation initiative, development of the global World Cup trade toolkit, and global category leadership.

Prior to joining Anheuser-Busch Inbev, Josh worked at Reckitt Benckiser where he was National Sales Director for the Food Division in the US and has also held various sales positions at Clorox and Procter & Gamble. He obtained a B.Sc. in Policy Analysis and Management from Cornell University, and an MBA from Babson College.

Josh also serves on the boards of the VFW (Veterans of Foreign War) Foundation, IFMA (International Foodservice Manufacturers Association) and the National Restaurant Association Military Foundation.

Lisa Landsman
Head of Industry, Restaurants

As Head of Industry, Restaurants at Google, Lisa is responsible for partnering with national Restaurant chains to drive innovation, growth and collaboration leveraging Google products and platforms. Lisa has been with Google for 10 years and most recently led Google's efforts around mobile innovation for the Americas. Prior to this role, she was Head of Commerce Sales focused on CPG, QSR and retail partners helping them leverage Google’s latest platforms and technologies in the mobile commerce space.

Kate Linington
Operations Manager
Sotto Restaurant

Kate Linington’s passion for food, wine, spirits and hospitality runs deep. Returning to the industry only five years ago (after a career in retail cosmetics), Kate’s combination of people skills, business savvy—and an understanding of front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house operations that is both intuitive and well-trained—has allowed her to rapidly ascend through the management ranks of the Los Angeles restaurant world. At Bowery Street Enterprises in Hollywood she found gifted mentors, achieved proficiency in “real” restaurant accounting, and was promoted to floor manager. At the high-volume Pink Taco she honed her skills working with guests and staff. As a manager at Mozza’s chi SPACCA she developed a deep understanding of how the story behind thoughtful food relates to fine dining and an elevated guest experience. Most recently, as GM of Sotto, she had the opportunity to bring these experiences together, creating a unified team and a kinder, gentler service culture that highlighted Chef Steve Samson’s cooking while making true hospitality the top priority. Never content to stand-pat, Kate is always looking for the next big idea that can make a restaurant more efficient, a staff more cohesive, or a meal more enjoyable.

Holger Luedorf
SVP of Business Development

Holger Luedorf has worked in internet and mobile since 1998. Currently, he leads all business development and partnership initiatives at Postmates. Prior, Holger managed mobile distribution and international growth initiatives for Foursquare. Holger also worked at Yahoo Mobile as a Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships where he oversaw the company's Mobile OEM partnerships. Prior to Yahoo Holger held positions at T-Mobile and Red Message. He holds a degree in Business and Japanese from Hochschule Bremen and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Holger lives in San Francisco with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter: @Holger

Florian Pinel
Senior Technical Staff Member, Chef Watson Group

Florian Pinel is a Senior Technical Staff Member in the IBM Watson Group. He received a M.S. in Computer Science and Engineering from Ecole Centrale de Paris in France, and a Culinary Arts diploma from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York.

Before joining the Watson Group, Florian worked at the IBM Watson Research Center for fifteen years, focusing on Business Process Management, IT Services Management, and Software as a Service. He's currently the lead engineer for IBM Chef Watson, an application that uses machine learning and natural language processing to demonstrate computational creativity and suggest original recipe ideas. He also writes a blog about Eastern European cuisine, Food Perestroika.

Brita Rosenheim
Rosenheim Advisors

Brita Rosenheim is the Principal of the strategic and financial consulting firm Rosenheim Advisors. She works with startups and enterprises in the food-related tech and media sectors to position them for growth. Brita is an industry advisor to the investment banking firm León, Mayer & Co., and author of the Food Tech & Media Monthly Industry Report, and corresponding Industry Map ( Previously, Brita was an investment banker focused on consumer industries at ThinkEquity Partners, SG Cowen and Robertson Stephens, and has managed PR/marketing for food brands and chefs. She earned a M.A. in Food Communication from the University of Gastronomic Science and received a B.A. in Mathematics from Pitzer College.

Puneet Tandon
VP & GM, Northwest Region

Puneet serves as Vice President for Zomato, one of the world's fastest growing food technology companies with operations in 22 countries. In this role he serves as the General Manager for the Northwest region of the U.S. and Canada where he leads Operations, Data & Content, Marketing, Sales, and Recruiting. Based in Seattle, Puneet has 17-year track record of scaling companies and growing revenues ($300M+) for high growth, disruptive innovators including Redfin, Jawbone, and T-Mobile. He began his career as a technical recruiter and previously was a social entrepreneur.

Prahar Shah
Head of Business Development, DoorDash

Prahar Shah is Head of Business Development at DoorDash.  Shah led DoorDash's strategic partnerships with YUM! Brands, 7-Eleven, and other national brands.

In the past, Shah was Founder and CEO of Mobee - the leader in mobile crowdsourcing and provider of retail intelligence for CPG, Retail, and QSR companies.  He also served as an Entrepreneur In Residence at General Catalyst Venture Partners, as a Venture Capitalist at Bessemer Venture Partners, and Google's New Business Development group.

Shah began his career as a management consultant focused on the telecom, media, and technology space. Shah has consulted clients in more than 10 countries and managed client engagements across the US, Canada, Russia, UAE (Dubai), Africa (Ghana, Tanzania, South Africa), and Latin America (Bolivia). He has counseled senior management on developing innovative technologies throughout his career, including launching a WiMAX operator in Russia, a Mobile Payments solution in Bolivia, and a Mobile Carrier in Ghana.

Shah graduated with a MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT Sloan) and completed his HBA at the Richard Ivey School of Business from the University of Western Ontario, Canada. He is a fiercely competitive Monopoly player, a brunch connoisseur, and advisor to numerous early stage startups in Boston, San Francisco, and Toronto.

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