renaissance schaumburg

The 2023
Digital Transformation In Fast Casual and QSR Summit

June 13 -14 2023
Chicago, IL

2023 Agenda

Join us June 12th for the our DEI Panel and the pre-event cocktail reception from 5:00 to 7:00pm

Pre Event June 12, 2023

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Diversity & Inclusion Panel

Mike McGloin

Felicia White
Director of Franchise Training
Scooter’s Coffee

Sue Petersen
EVP, Inclusion, Diversity and People
Noodles & Company 
Christina Jackson
Chief People Officer
Donatos Pizza
Addressing the Issue of Diversity and Inclusion within one of the Fastest Growing Legacy Industries
  • What are the first steps to take in addressing the diversity gap within your organization?
  • Best practices in creating an inclusive culture within your existing team?
  • What are the tools you can use to better ensure diversity in your hiring practices?
  • How do you gauge the success or your diversity and inclusion initiatives?
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Pre-event cocktail reception

June 13, 2023

7:00 am - 7:50 AM

Registration and Networking Breakfast

7:50 am - 8:00 AM

Opening remarks

David “Rev” Ciancio
Co-Founder CMO
Handcraft Burgers and Brews
Sam Stanovich
SVP Franchise Leadership
Big Chicken
8:00 AM - 8:35 AM

Opening Keynote

Andy Hooper
Hart House

Building the Restaurant of the Future
  • How to harness technology to build better customer experiences and a more efficient, sustainable operating model
  • Taking a multi channel approach to order taking while empowering your kitchen team to always be one step ahead
  • Why it’s critical to understand and lay out your business goals before embarking on a digital transformation journey
  • Choose technology partnerships that will support you in your digital transformation over the  long term rather than relying on reactive short term fixes to problems as they emerge


8:35 am - 9:10 Am


Zack Oates
Founder & CEO

Levering Customer Feedback as a Source of Competitive Advantage
  • Understanding how your on- and off-premises customers are feeling and using those insights to fix problems as they come up
  • Uncover hidden trends to drive customer satisfaction and improve retention
  • Creating a tailored feedback experience designed to get you the information you need when you need it


9:15 am - 9:50 am


Digital Transformation

Ross Franklin
Founder & CEO
Pure Green

Using Technology to Fuel Massive Franchise Growth
  • Understanding where the industry is heading and leveraging the right tools and technology to drive your expansion
  • Preparing your brand to scale up and add new franchises in a way that is both cost effective and sustainable
  • Exploring how Pure Green has successfully leveraged it’s tech stack to bypass brokers and connect directly with potential franchisees



Customer experience

Sergio Pérez
Sr. Director of Omnichannel

Leveraging Technology to Create a Truly Differentiated Guest Experience
  • Best practices in selecting the right technology providers for each facet of your digitization journey
  • How to create an online presence that mirrors your unique in-store experience
  • Backing up that unique experience by delivering operationally so as to meet and exceed your customers’ expectations
  • Tying everything together with a bespoke loyalty program that resonates with customers on a highly personal level



9:50 am -10:50 am

Open Networking

Innovation Lounge sponsored by

10:55 am - 11:30 Am


Dig Insights

Saving your Front-Line Manager: How to Prevent Burnout, Retain Talent, and Optimize Output
  • Recognizing the pain-points and stressors that your front-line managers face on a daily basis
  • How legacy communication, feedback, training, and execution systems are contributing to front-line manager burnout
  • Understanding the training and technology that can be used to empower front-line managers with the resources they need to avoid burnout and maximize productivity


11:30 am - 12:05 am


JJ Mills
Global Director, Customer Success
Sarah Rigsbee
Chief Financial Officer
Farmer’s Fridge


Harold Walters
CEO & Co-Founder
Shootz Hawaiian 

Gregg Majewski
Craveworthy Brands


Consolidating and Focusing on the Right Data to Optimize Demand Planning and Labor, and Manage Food Waste
  • QSRs will need to show direct and consistent value in order to remain competitive as consumers’ wallets continue to tighten 
  • Learn from QSRs on how to deliver value and consistency 
  • Empower restaurant managers by giving them access to the data they need to make informed, in-the-moment decisions
  • Using data to automate the flow of inventory, track waste, identify inefficient station scheduling, and adjust production pacing
12:10 pm - 12:45 pm


Digital Transformation


Leveraging Kitchen Display Systems to Streamline Digital Ordering
  • Why the rapid transition to digital ordering necessitates a similar digitization in the back of house `
  • How kitchen display systems can be leveraged to harmonize front and back of house operations, reduce ticket times, and create a better, more streamlined, customer experience
  • Creating additional efficiencies by leveraging kitchen display systems to help cooks monitor stock and let them know what items to prepare first


Customer experience

Roman Tsarovsky

Using Artificial Intelligence to Create a Curated Customer Experience
  • Using AI to make restaurant visits more consistent and predictable, with improvements to speed of service and order accuracy
  • Creating a more bespoke purchasing experience by using AI to analyze customer purchasing habits to make educated recommendations regarding drinks and side-orders
  • How to effectively leverage AI and automation without losing the human connection


12:45 pm - 1:45 pm


Kelly Grogan
VP, Sales
Virtual Dining Concepts

Leveraging your Existing Kitchens to Increase Revenue and Attract New Customers‎‎‎


Abhinav Kapur

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



Leveraging Efficient Multi-Channel Ordering for America’s Fastest Growing Chain Restaurants


Creative Realities

Elevating your Brand through Visual Displays


1:50 PM - 2:25 PM


Digital Transformation

Bryan Hooper
VP, Digital & Consumer Technology

How to Ensure your Digital Investments set you up for Long Term, Sustainable Growth
  • Understanding your long term growth plans and developing the right digital capabilities to help you achieve these goals
  • Recognizing that every new technology you deploy sets you up for the next one
  • How to pick the right technology to fit the size and scale of your restaurant brand
  • Why it’s essential to avoid things that set you up for now, but ultimately don’t scale with your business


Customer experience

Solomon Choi
16 Handles

Starting, Scaling, and Selling your Company on a Foundation of Exceptional Customer Experience
  • Why it’s critical to understand the market, what works, what doesn’t, and to build a brand that speaks to what customers are looking for
  • How to evaluate and select the right technologies and technology providers to help scale up your restaurant in a way that resonates with new and existing customers
  • Understanding the different ways that technology can help grow your brand, from helping you expand quickly and seamlessly into to new markets to growing sales at existing locations
  • Creating an exit strategy that preserves the differentiated nature of your brand and allows it to continue to deliver an exceptional customer experience after your departure



2:30 PM - 3:05 PM


Digital Transformation

Jonathan Greenlee
Vice President, Sales & Marketing

Customer Engagement Technology: Best-In-Class Versus All-In-One
  • Learn why restaurants are opting to partner with specialized technology partners versus all-in-one solutions
  • Why has this shift in martech strategy made all the difference?
  • Building flexibility into your digital ecosystem to provide an unmatched experience for every customer


Customer experience


Recognizing that Technology is no Longer a Source of Competitive Advantage
  • In QSRs and Fast Casuals, convenience enabled by technology is now a requirement rather than a differentiator
  • To win, restaurants need to leverage technologies and systems beyond merely creating efficiency to create ‘moments of truth’ and deliver a unique brand experience
  • Key techniques for developing a system that feels fast, while at the same time emphasizes the different elements of the brand experience


3:05 PM - 4:05 PM

Open Networking & Happy Hour

Innovation Lounge sponsored by

4:05 PM - 4:40 PM




Julie Wade
Sr. Director of Marketing


Deric Rosenbaum
Groucho’s Deli


Alana Suchov
Sr. Director, PMM & CRM


How to Develop a Differentiated Loyalty Program
  • How have loyalty programs evolved since the end of the pandemic?
  • How can you create a differentiated and highly personalized loyalty program in a highly crowded space?
  • What common pitfalls should you be aware of when designing your loyalty program?
  • How can brands effectively leverage their loyalty program as part of their overall expansion plans?
4:40 pm - 5:15 pm


Kitchen Blueprint

Leveraging Automation and Data Analytics to Streamline Restaurant Operations
  • How to advance kitchen operations from siloed, manual and reactive processes, to transparent, automated ones
  • Using your data to lower labor costs and free up bandwidth so employees can be free to focus on customer facing activities
  • Minimize food waste by using demand forecasting to cut down on loss, excess, and misuse


5:15 pm - 5:50 pm


Josh Halpern
Big Chicken

Getting to the Heart of Customer Loyalty
  • Understanding why customers no longer feel connected with your brand and why that chasm can’t be bridged though technology
  • Recognizing that with changing demographics and increasing transparency has shifted what consumers are looking for out of brands
  • Exploring what Big Chicken is doing to help close the gap for both staff and consumers


5:50 PM - 6:00 PM

Chairs remarks

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

Sam Stanovich
SVP Franchise Leadership
Big Chicken
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Networking and Cocktail Conversations

Fried Chicken Sandwich contest

Josh Halpern
Big Chicken

Andy Hooper
Hart House

Misha Levin
Culinary Director

Data Management



Workforce MGMT



Guest Experience



Demand Planning



June 14, 2023

7:20 am - 8:20 AM

Networking Breakfast

8:30 am - 8:40 AM

Opening remarks

David “Rev” Ciancio
Co-Founder CMO
Handcraft Burgers and Brews
Sam Stanovich
SVP Franchise Leadership
Big Chicken
8:40 AM - 9:15 AM

Opening Keynote

Manish Dhankher
Chief Customer Officer
Pizza Hut Canada

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


9:15 AM - 9:50 AM


Luis Velasco
SVP, Marketing

Leveraging your Marketing Toolkit to Make your Grand Opening a Success
    • Understanding your customer demographics and leveraging the right social media platforms to create buzz around the event
    • How to effectively use sidebars, pop ups, and banners on your website to draw attention to the event
    • Tying it all together with press releases and an effective email marketing campaign
    • Recognizing that an effective marketing campaign can not only lead to a successful grand opening, but can help you ramp up quickly and shorten your time to profitability


9:50 AM - 10:25 AM

Sustainability Panel

Hannah Lopez
Director, Marketplace Development
Plant Based Foods Association

Lizzie King
Director of Sales
Impossible Foods

Ilana Braverman
Greener By Default

Jason Crain
The Slutty Vegan 

Ben Kaplan
Co-Founder & CEO
PLNT Burger


Incorporating Plant-Based Foods into your Menu and Brand
10:25 AM - 11:25 AM

Open Networking & Mimosa Bar

Innovation Lounge sponsored by

11:30 AM - 12:05 AM


Digital Transformation

Jim Bitticks
President & COO
Dave’s Hot Chicken

Protecting Profitability and Ensuring Business Resilience During Challenging Economic Times
  • Understanding the current economic climate and how to leverage technology to mitigate the impact of rising food and labor costs
  • Leveraging brand loyalty to retain customers even as prices start to climb.
  • Effectively deploying Buy Now Pay Later services as part of your resilience strategy
  • How to protect top line revenue and market share during economic downturn



Customer experience

Brooke Perry
VP, Marketing
Original ChopShop

Enhancing 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


12:10 PM - 12:45 PM


Digital Transformation


Lessening the Impact of Inflation and Economic Downturn through Better Customer Experience
  • With discretionary spending dwindling due to rising inflation, it’s more critical than ever for restaurants to adopt new methods to boost customer engagement
  • To counter this, restaurants need to get creative by producing digital experiences that add value to their services, while also maintaining the physical elements of in-person dining
  • This session looks at how QSRs and Fast Casuals can strike the right balance between physical and digital experience to remain competitive in this uncertain landscape


Customer experience

Rob Meng
Founder & CEO

Digital Transformation of Speed Of Service Data Collection
      • Speed is the first ingredient of customer satisfaction
      • The history and transformation of multi-site collection methods
      • Compare and contrast ways of getting visibility to this critical data    
      • Transformative ways of tracking this critical customer satisfaction metric for cars AND PEOPLE


12:45 PM - 1:35 PM

Networking Lunch

1:35 PM - 2:10 PM


Digital Transformation

Desi Saran
Founder & CEO

How to Leverage Digital Marketing, Third Party Delivery Channels, and Digital Product
  • Take an in depth analysis into everything from performance marketing, email campaigns, CRM, lifecycle programming and push notifications in order to master the third party marketing conundrum
  • Looking at how to best leverage relationships with third party providers such as Ubereats, doordash, grubhub, etc. and analyzing what delivery marketing strategies look like now, and what is working best
  • Focusing on development of app and web, new features on kiosks and new tools for inhouse teams


Customer experience

Chris Smith

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


2:15 PM - 2:50 PM


Digital Transformation


Understanding the Importance of Sustainable Packaging on Customer Loyalty 
  • Looking at how sustainable practices influence customer loyalty as consumer behavior becomes more and more impacted by issue-driven practices
  • Understanding how to create a more sustainable supply chain by using a circular economy model 
  • Moving beyond just “recycling” to create true efficiency through product recovery and recycling


Customer experience

Kristin Lynch
Director of Strategy & Analytics

Creating a Personalized Experience through Online Ordering
  • How the shift to mobile and online ordering has allowed QSRs and Fast Casuals to create a more curated customer experience
  • Using targeted discounts and online profiles to create a bespoke experience
  • Leveraging purchasing habits to expedite the ordering process


2:50 PM - 3:25 PM


Casey Hilder
Director of Marketing
Starbird Chicken
Jeff Lin
Director, Media & Growth
Forrest Nettles
Head of Brand & Marketing
Groucho’s Deli


Leveraging Social Media to Create New Opportunities to Engage with Gen Z
  • How are Fast Casuals and QSRs leveraging social media platforms to better connect with Gen Z?
  • How do newer players in the social media space differ from legacy platforms, how has your strategy evolved over the last few years?
  • What type of content typically gets the most attention and garners the most engagement?
  • How do you envision social media changing over the next year and how do you plan to adapt to that change?
  • What are the best practices to employ when advertising on the different social media platforms, ie: Facebook / TikTok / Snapchat / Instagram / Google Ads?
3:25 PM - 4:00 PM


Geoff Alexander
Wow Bao

Developing an Omni-Channel Business – A Look into the Wow Bao Journey 
  • How a focus on customer experience has led QSRs to adopt an omni-channel approach to servicing customers
  • Understanding what your customers want from their shopping experience and investing in the right technology to meet those needs
  • How Wow Bao has taken omni-channel to a whole new level by leveraging tech to create a consistent, contactless ordering experience
  • Understanding how Web3 and NFTs can be incorporated into your brand to redefine how customers engage and make purchases


4:00 PM - 4:10 PM

Closing remarks

David “Rev” Ciancio
Co-Founder CMO
Handcraft Burgers and Brews
Sam Stanovich
SVP Franchise Leadership
Big Chicken