Michelle Kear, R&D chef at Nextbite, competed against three other chefs in the 10th annual Texas Pete Kitchen Hero Cook-Off.
Jessica Tomlinson, director of culinary at Ford’s Garage USA, won the Texas Pete Kitchen Hero Cook-Off.
Attendees immersed themselves in Denver’s thriving restaurant scene, including at Troy Guard’s Bubu, during the Cool Things Tour.
At Raising the Bar, sponsored by Wisconsin Cheese, attendees tasted their way through the latest bar menu and beverage trends with Datassential.
Attendees listen in on the Ask the Experts session “Fast Casual Innovation” featuring Robin Robison, chief operating officer at Modern Restaurant Concepts.
Datassential associate director of research and insight Mark Brandau and NRN editorial director Sam Oches talk during the Ask the Experts session “Why Menu Innovation Must Be a Priority — Even in a Recession.”
The lightning keynote “Loyalty ≠ Discounts: How elite restaurant brands use non-discount reward models to drive customer lifetime value and protect margins” with Thanx CEO and founder Zach Goldstein.
Attendees sample Baja fish tacos during the flavor immersion session “Overcoming today’s pressing challenges with smart product application.”
The panel “Culture: Your Single Point of Difference,” sponsored by Coca-Cola, featured Smokey Bones chief operating officer Hal Lawlor; Shake Shack director of diversity, equity, inclusion and culture Idris Stover; Noodles & Company CEO Dave Boennighausen; and Coca-Cola VP of foodservice strategy and execution Meredith Cagigal.
Pop-Up Festivals featuring new products and menu innovations continuously changed throughout CREATE.
The festivals also gave attendees an opportunity to network.
The Ask the Experts session “Starting a Growing Brand” featured Mike Rypka, CEO of Torchy’s Tacos.
The fireside chat “Staying on Offense When Everyone Else is Playing Defense” featured Erin Hicks, chief operating officer of Teriyaki Madness, and Leslie Leaf, chief customer officer of Revel Systems.
P.F. Chang’s CEO Damola Adamolekun spoke in the Ask the Experts session “Omnichannel Experiences: Future of Full Service.”
A panel featured CREATORS winners Frank Bonanno, founder of Bonanno Concepts; Jeffrey Frederick, co-founder and partner at Ascend Prime Steak & Sushi; Lindsay Radkoski, vice president of national marketing at Wendy’s; Kieran Donahue, chief marketing officer at IHOP; Ashley Morris, CEO of Capriotti’s and Wing Zone; James O’Reilly, CEO of Smokey Bones; and John Peyton, CEO of Dine Brands.
The CREATORS panel was sponsored by Keurig Dr. Pepper.
Attendees gathered for the keynote address.
Marketing guru, investor and author Bonin Bough gave the keynote, “Hackonomy 2.0,” focused on how to maintain business growth in a post-pandemic world.