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MUFSO 2018 attendees Jason Kindig

MUFSO 2019 kicks off in Denver

60th annual conference features marquee speakers and immersive educational experiences

This is part of Nation’s Restaurant News' special coverage of the 2019 MUFSO conference, taking place Oct. 14-16 at the Sheraton Denver Downtown. Follow coverage of the event on and tweet with us using #MUFSO. Stay connected on the go by downloading the MUFSO app.

Nearly 900 foodservice professionals are expected to gather Monday in Denver to learn, connect and celebrate industry leaders at the annual MUFSO conference.

Presented by Nation’s Restaurant News, MUFSO — now in its 60th year — has a new home in Denver, where the local restaurant scene provides a rich backdrop for several events, including tours of area businesses and a taste of the region.

Other highlights include thought-provoking keynote speakers and educational opportunities on such topics as minimum wage, CBD regulations, employee engagement and emerging food and drink trends.

Attendees will also be able to connect with more than 100 exhibitors showcasing their products and services.

“MUFSO and Nation’s Restaurant News are committed to helping the foodservice industry grow by offering unmatched industry insights and creating opportunities to build relationships,” said Sarah Lockyer, publisher of the Informa Restaurant and Food Group. “This year’s MUFSO delivers on that promise with world-class speakers like entrepreneur and author Gary Vaynerchuk, new research from Google and many chances to connect with industry leaders.”

Here’s a look at what to expect at this year’s event.

Attendees will get a Taste of Denver at an opening night reception featuring dishes from such local chefs as Jennifer Jasinski of Ultreia and Chase Devitt of BriDer. Select attendees will also get the opportunity to participate in MUFSO Meet Ups, small group dinners with fellow restaurant operators at five restaurants around town.

Restaurant professionals navigating the complex world of CBD regulations will find multiple opportunities at MUFSO to better understand this fast-growing market. First, attendees can get a behind-the-scenes look at all things CBD on the “From Plant to Table” tour Monday morning, which will visit four local businesses making or selling CBD products. In a panel session the following day, legal experts will address what restaurants need to know to protect themselves if they incorporate CBD into their operations.

Gary Vaynerchuk —  bestselling author, venture capitalist and digital media vanguard — will deliver a keynote address Tuesday morning on how executives should approach customers in the modern business environment that he has dubbed “The Thank You Economy.” 

This year’s Golden Chain and Norman Award winners will be celebrated at an awards ceremony on the last night of the show. They’ll also share their insights during a panel session Tuesday morning. This year’s Golden Chain winners are Sam Fox, founder of Fox Restaurant Concepts; Julie Masino, Taco Bell U.S. president; Tim McEnery, CEO and founder of Cooper’s Hawk; Scott Svenson, co-founder of MOD Pizza; and Liz Smith, executive chairman of Bloomin’ Brands. The 2019 Norman Award winner is Alice Elliot of The Elliot Group.

The 2019 class of Hot Concepts award winners  —  &Pizza, The Crack Shack, Garden Bar, Mulberry & Vine and Maple Street Biscuit Company will be celebrated at a reception Tuesday night, where attendees will get to taste signature dishes from these growing concepts. They’ll also appear on a panel session Tuesday titled “The DNA of an emerging brand.”

On Wednesday morning, Google executives Cedric Dupont and Igor Liskovets will address how restaurants can leverage the search engine to own their digital footprint and drive guest traffic. They will also share new Google research on the subject, unveiled for the first time at MUFSO.

Contact Christi Ravneberg at [email protected]

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