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Jon Huntsman to be keynote speaker at MUFSO 2012

‘Super show’ also to include Menu Trends & Directions, FM Ideas and WISE content

Jon M. Huntsman Jr. will kick off this year’s Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference with a keynote speech addressing some of today’s most pressing economic and political topics.

An ambassador to China from 2009 to 2011, the former governor of Utah and more recently a Republican candidate for president, Huntsman will draw on his political experience to discuss global competition, economic development and the challenges facing a polarized America.

“We are thrilled to have Jon Huntsman share his breadth of insight with the MUFSO audience a month before the presidential election,” said Randall Friedman, group publisher for the Penton Restaurant Group, which includes the Nation’s Restaurant News, Restaurant Hospitality and Food Management brands. “While intelligent, reasoned, and pragmatic opinions might not play well in the primaries, we know that Jon’s message will be perfect for the foodservice executive attending MUFSO.”

MUFSO 2012 will be held Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas. This year, MUFSO attendees will experience an expanded “super show,” combining four of PRG’s events, including the annual MUFSO conference; the Menu Trends & Directions culinary confab; FM Ideas, which is directed at the on-site operator community; and WISE, or Winning Ideas from Successful Entrepreneurs. Bearing the tagline, “Where foodservice leaders meet,” the show will offer six educational tracks built around leadership, operations, marketing, culinary, entrepreneurial and on-site specialties.

“Now that NRN has two sister publications, Restaurant Hospitality and Food Management, we have a much stronger ability to pull leading foodservice executives from the independent and onsite segments. MUFSO 2012 will truly be where the leaders of all foodservice meet to exchange ideas and learn together,” Friedman said. “The scope of the agenda and the number of potential connections to be made will make MUFSO 2012 a show like no other.”

Huntsman, who will speak Monday, Oct. 1, began his career in public service as a White House staff assistant to President Ronald Reagan, and has since served as deputy assistant secretary of commerce for Asia, U.S. ambassador to Singapore and deputy U.S. trade representative. As a trade ambassador, he negotiated dozens of trade agreements between the United States and China, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, India, Vietnam, South Africa and other Asian and African nations.

Huntsman was twice elected governor of Utah, which was named by the Pew Center the Best Managed State in America under his leadership.

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Scott Stratten, an expert on viral, social and relationship marketing, will join Huntsman on the MUFSO agenda, delivering the keynote speech Tuesday, Oct. 2. The president of UnMarketing and author of “UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging,” Stratten will discuss the importance of positioning yourself as a leader in front of your target audience. Stratten’s book has been named one of the top business books by 800-CEO-READ and one of the top 10 books by Under

Earlier in his career, Stratten worked as a marketer in the music industry, a national sales training manager and a professor at the Sheridan College School of Business in Ontario, Canada.

“Harnessing the power of social media and using it to a brand’s marketing advantage are among the most intriguing challenges facing foodservice executives,” Friedman said. “As food and restaurants are among the most discussed topics in social media, Scott Stratten’s insights are sure to help MUFSO attendees shape future social media marketing strategies.”

Helping to craft the MUFSO super show is an advisory board of industry leaders representing a variety of segments and disciplines that includes:

Jim Doak, corporate chef, Culver’s
Clay Dover, chief marketing officer, Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers
Don Fox, chief executive, Firehouse of America LLC
Mitesh Gala, chief executive, Altametrics
Jim Goggin, senior vice president, Ventura Foods LLC
Howard Gordon, owner, Gordon Restaurant Group/Itriya Cafe
Mary Kate Harrison; Ph.D., R.D.; general manager, student nutrition services; Hillsborough County Schools
Kerry Kramp, president and chief executive, Sizzler International
Nancy Kruse; NRN contributing editor; president, The Kruse Company
Shawn LaPean; executive director, Cal Dining; University of California, Berkeley
Paul M. Mangiamele, president and chief executive, Bennigan’s Franchising Co.
David Parsley; senior vice president, supply chain management; Brinker International
Jack Quinn; vice president, industry relations; Ecolab
Kevin Reddy, chief executive, Noodles & Company
Scott Taylor, president and chief operating officer, Last In Concepts

The more than 30 educational sessions offered by the super show are designed to meet the needs of the entire management team. Among the topics to be discussed are successful strategies for supply chain management, menu revamps, integrated social media programs, the business of food trucks, commercial concept branding, taking an idea from concept to commercialization, avoiding financial pitfalls, marketing leadership in franchise systems and more.

“As in years past, MUFSO earns a ‘can’t miss’ spot on my personal calendar,” said Fox of Firehouse Subs. “If you are looking for a place to surround yourself with the best talent in the restaurant industry, then you need look no further. I am particularly excited by the more expansive scope of this year’s event, and the opportunity it provides to gather best practices and ideas from foodservice professionals and specialists across a broader spectrum than ever before.”

Dover of Raising Cane’s agreed, adding, “The 2011 MUFSO was more impactful than any other show our team attended last year. We were able to learn how to increase profits and traffic, listen to great keynote speakers, meet and learn from industry leaders. We plan to invite more of our key executives to this year’s MUFSO conference. This conference is a must if you are serious about making an impact to your company in 2012.”

For more information on MUFSO, visit

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