Innovation Forums
8:15am – 9:00am

Innovation Forums

Option 1: Does B2B Matter? (Hint: Business Dining=$100B)
Location: Sonoran A

Having a B2B strategy is more important than most restaurants realize, and here’s why: consumer dining aside, when you add up $15 billion in catering, $9 billion in private dining, and $77 billion in travel meals, business dining accounts for a huge percentage of annual restaurant sales in the United States.

 Because the people picking up the tab for business meals are motivated by a different set of needs than consumer diners, having a strategy that speaks specifically to those needs can bring you high-dollar traffic on weekdays and at off-peak times.

 Join our panel of experts to hear more about different types of business diners, which ones are your most valuable target audiences, and how you can reach them.

 From our panel, you will learn:

  • how business diners differ from consumer diners,
  • key business dining market trends, and
  • how B2B strategies can drive more catering and private dining sales.

Vice President, Restaurant Partnerships
Dinova, Inc.

Director of Marketing
Grimaldi’s Pizzeria

Operating Partner, Off-Premises Sales
Act III Holdings

Presented By:
Dinova, Inc.
Option 2: Beating the Retail Apocalypse with a Modern Customer Loyalty Platform 
Location: Sonoran B

From our session you will learn:


• what is a modern loyalty program?


• how can a loyalty program become secret sauce for your brand


• best practices to drive program success


• how to select a loyalty vendor


• how to select the right agency to get a strategic edge 


VP, Digital and Marketing Technology
Tropical Smoothie Cafe LLC

Co-Founder and CEO

Mongolian Concepts

Presented By:
Option 3: Why Meat Messaging Matters
Location: Sonoran C

Your menu's meat offerings are under the microscope today. So how do you manage your meat messaging to an evolving foodservice patron? A patron group which now includes traditional carnivores, conscious carnivores, flexitarians and vegetarians. This new meat reality presents a great financial opportunity for your operation. In this session you will discover what today's patrons are looking for and tactics you can implement to maximize your meat messaging and ultimate success.


National Sales Manager
Applegate Foodservice

Presented By:
Hormel Foods Corporation
Option 4: Driving Increased Margin Dollars Across All Consumer Segments
Location: Sonoran D

With the highest pressure on margins in years, understanding the difference between consumers segments is key to driving increased profit dollars.   Decoding the role that loyalists, value seekers and coupon savvy users play in your business is more important than ever. From a soon to be released Technomic study we will continue the discussion on activating all consumer segments, and how to give them permission to spend more.  We will also explore how each consumer segment is influenced through loyalty apps, price, promotion and quality of food.   If you’re looking for new marketing ideas this is a session you won’t want to miss. 


Executive Director, Client Marketing Restaurant Category
Valassis Inc

Vice President of Research & Insights, Technomic

Presented By:
Option 5: It’s All About Traffic
Location: Sonoran E

Restaurants are being bombarded daily with new, shiny objects promising to increase traffic.  Join this lively discussion as this panel of industry experts cut through the noise to discuss what is actually working to drive traffic in today’s turbulent environment.


Founder & President
Growth Partners LLC

President & COO
Farmer Boys Food, Inc.

Corner Bakery Café

President & CEO

Presented By:
Option 6: Creating a Consistent Brand Experience with Mobile Technology 
Location: Sonoran F

Today, there are more ways than ever to interact with a restaurant. Each touch point collectively drives an experience and a perception of your brand. The more touch points there are to monitor, the more difficult it becomes to ensure brand consistency. Gold Star Chili is leveraging mobile technology to achieve consistent employee and customer experience, energize and engage their employees across generations and modernize business operations. 


President & CEO
Gold Star Chili, Inc.

CEO & Co-founder

Presented By:
Option 7: Preparing for the Workplace of the Future
Location: Sonoran H

Artificial intelligence and machine learning is no doubt improving labor efficiency and cost. But with such a heightened focus on automation, your talent pool is getting compromised.

•How do you adapt your organization to attract talent that will facilitate your growth and innovation?

•What technology is most important for connected teams?

•How do you establish trust and purpose in order to attract a favorable pool of candidates? We’ll dig into the latest engagement strategies and how they can help you overcome your biggest workplace challenges.



Presented By:
Option 8: Food Delivery - Increase Revenue & Decrease Costs through Direct Integration
Location: Sonoran G

From the “wall of tablets” to the manual entry of orders to increasing labor costs- finding the right solution to the ever-growing demand of restaurant delivery can present a real challenge. Checkmate will introduce a panel of partner operators to discuss how they have streamlined their operations, increased revenues while having better control of their labor costs and are successfully navigating the growth in food delivery. Real life tips, tricks & solutions!


Founder & CEO
ItsaCheckmate Inc.

Buddy's Pizza

Growth Manager
ItsaCheckmate Inc.

Chief Relationship Officer
Cheba Hut

Presented By: