UCLA Extension's Restaurant Industry Conference on April 17

Mixes Top CEOs, Forecasts, Tips from Hospitality Industry & More

Will robust restaurant revenue and job growth predictions for 2012 hold up? Can restaurant owners learn a trick or two from hospitality industry leaders? What are the next big concepts and how can culinary craftsmen build and sustain them? Will mobile marketing enhance a restaurant’s future?

These and other topics will be covered in one of the biggest single-day gatherings of top restaurant owners, managers, investors, lenders and advisors during UCLA Extension’s 16th Annual Restaurant Industry Conference on Tuesday, April 17.  The event will be held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza.

This year’s conference features panels involving 10 CEOs or presidents of well known restaurant companies as well as keynote speeches by hospitality innovators and highly sought-after speakers Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, and Chip Conley, founder of Joie de Vivre, the second largest boutique hotel company in the United States. Conley will discuss how to be “an emotionally intelligent leader,” and Meyer will examine the power of hospitality in restaurants, business and life.

“In one day, the Restaurant Industry Conference will deliver an incredible amount of intelligence and motivation,” said Anna Graves, conference chair and co-leader of the restaurant, food and beverage industry group for Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP. “This is an information-rich environment that will help company executives and innovators understand emerging concepts, learn how to build and sustain communities for restaurants, listen to revealing ‘insider’s’ perspectives, and network with key leaders and peers.”

One highlight of the conference will be the presentation of the 2012 Innovation Award to Jerry Deitchle, chairman and CEO of BJ’s Restaurants, a publicly-held operator of 115 high-volume casual dining restaurants in 13 states with total sales of $620 million in 2011. Recent Innovation Award recipients include José Andrés, chef and owner of the ThinkFoodGroup and Kerry Kramp, President and CEO of Sizzler USA, Inc. 

Among the sessions at this year’s conference is an updated economic forecast for the restaurant industry to be provided by Andy Barish, managing director for restaurant equity research at Jefferies & Company, Inc. and Ron Paul, president & CEO of Technomic, Inc.

 “To Franchise or Not” will be a panel featuring Stephen Carley, CEO, Red Robin and Greg Creed, CEO, Taco Bell Corp., and moderated by Kevin Burke, managing partner and founder, Trinity Capital, LLC

Want to build an emerging concept and make it last? This session will feature Keith Cox, co-founder and CEO, Pacific Catch; Jim Mizes, president, Freebirds World Burrito; Erik Oberholtzer, chef/owner, Tender Greens; and Phil Ratner, whose firm operates Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Moderating the session will be Wallace Doolin: chairman/founder, Black Box Intelligence & principal of People Report.

In a highly interactive look at success stories, Paul Bolles-Beaven, president of Union Square Hospitality Group; Philip Cummins, partner with Innovative Dining Group; and GJ Hart, executive chairman, CEO, and president, California Pizza Kitchen, Inc. will share their secrets and winning strategies. 

Recent developments in food regulation and law that affect restaurants, including areas of food safety, labeling, nutrition, obesity, and animal welfare will be covered by Michael Roberts, director of Law & Food Policy, UCLA Law School.

Another panel will feature how to further engage customers through social media, moderated by Beverly Macy: UCLA Extension distinguished instructor, CEO of Gravity Summit, co-author of The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing. Panelists include Gar Benedick, director of mobile strategy, BizM3, Inc.; Avery Block, social engagement and brand champion, Taco Bell; Afshin Kateb, principal, SBE Restaurant Group; Catherine D. Meyer, counsel, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP; and Todd Shasserre, founder, ShoutGeo.

Conference details and online registration are available at www.uclaextension.edu/restaurant. Follow conference updates on Twitter at #UCLARC.

About UCLA Extension
UCLA Extension is the continuing education division of the University of California at Los Angeles. UCLA Extension offers evening, weekend, and online courses and certificates for professionals in business, management, engineering, information systems, entertainment studies, public policy, public health, the humanities and many other fields. Find out more at uclaextension.edu.

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