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Restaurants Rise launches two-week webinar series in partnership with Restaurant Hospitality and Nation's Restaurant News.

Restaurants Rise goes live on August 11 with two weeks of leadership sessions and business solutions for the coronavirus pandemic

Join thousands of foodservice professionals already registered for discussions across operations, workforce, marketing, supply chain, tech, off-premise and more

Restaurants Rise, the digital community for the restaurant and foodservice industry, will officially kick off its two-week live content series August 11. The event, hosted by Nation’s Restaurant News and Restaurant Hospitality, will feature leading CEOs, executives and operators in live sessions covering a host of topics from diversity and inclusion to making curbside appealing to lessons in leadership and a return to innovation.

Here are some highlights from the upcoming event:

  • Keynote: Elizabeth Blau, James Beard nominee and founder of Blau + Associates on the importance of innovation during times of crisis
  • Keynote: Kelli Valade, CEO and president of Black Box Intelligence, connecting the dots between financial, consumer, guest and workforce data and insights including: Restaurant segment trends, regional performance trends, workforce best practices in a changing economic environment and social media learnings surrounding guest sentiment and satisfaction.
  • New keynote added: A session with AlixPartners’ Adam Werner, Managing Director of the Restaurants, Hospitality & Leisure practice at the renowned consulting and research firm, on the future of dining in America
  • Keynote: Dr. James H. Pogue II, President and CEO of JP Enterprises LLC, will lead a no-nonsense discussion on how the restaurant industry can achieve greater success through understanding and embracing its role in cultivating a diverse and inclusive workforce and supporting social justice within the communities served.


Left to right: Elizabeth Blau, Kelli Valade, Adam Werner, James Pogue.

  • Keynote: Alice Elliot, founder and CEO of The Elliot Group, leads a panel of restaurant leaders including Claudia San Pedro, President of Sonic; Kim Malak, President and CEO of Salt & Straw; and Barry McGowan CEO of Fogo de Chao, discussing lessons learned and insights into strategic planning for the months ahead.


Left to right: Alice Elliot, Claudia San Pedro, Kim Malek, Barry McGowan.

Other speakers from leading brands including Chipotle, Modern Market, Lemonade, Fazoli’s, Brinker, bartaco, First Watch, The Habit Burger, Sonic, Salt & Straw, Fogo de Chao, Portillo’s and more.

There is no better time than now to come together to find solutions, lead with purpose and build relationships across foodservice,” said Sarah Lockyer, Group Publisher, Nation’s Restaurant News and Restaurant Hospitality. “We all continue to face unprecedented disruptions to our businesses and our lives, and Restaurants Rise is here to serve the great foodservice industry with leadership and solution-oriented discussions and insights across six days with more than 20 sessions – all available on-demand following the live sessions for access 24/7.”

Meet all the Restaurants Rise speakers here.

Register now for each session. Full schedule:

August 11

1:00 p.m. EST – Leadership discussion: A return to innovation with Elizabeth Blau, James Beard nominee and founder of Blau + Associates

2:15 p.m. EST – Overcoming the labor challenges of today

In challenging times, Campbell’s Executive Chef Gerald Drummond will help you figure out labor solutions for a stretched team. Find out how to get more productivity, learn about inventory solutions that help you reduce prep, limit ingredients and better manage your margins.

3:00 p.m. EST ­– The new menu equation for restaurants with Nate Weir of Modern Market, Lemonade and Rick Petralia of Fazoli’s

With smaller menus, limited dine in and a shift to new service styles, how can restaurants build and price menus that create crave-ability and provide value to boost guest traffic? Learn from leading R&D executives and chefs on today’s best strategies surrounding LTOs, pricing and menu innovation.

3:45 p.m. EST – How to extend your inventory

You’re always trying to get the most out of inventory and Campbell’s Senior Chef, Greg Boggs, is here to help. We know space is at a premium and margins are tighter than ever, so he will explain how to extend the use of products to minimize waste while keeping quality top of mind.

4:30 p.m. EST – On-premise vs. off-premise menu strategies

Understanding the greater need for limited menus, Campbell’s Executive Chef Gerald Drummond will walk you through strategies for balancing on-premise vs off-premise menus. Learn how to optimize your menu, get tips for creating signature items to bring guests on-premise and find ways to recreate the restaurant experience at home.

August 12

1:00 p.m. EST– Behind the data: Restaurant data & industry trends from Black Box Intelligence with CEO and president Kelli Valade

2:15 p.m. EST – Exploring growth now: Hear from an owner who made it happen featuring Billy Brick’s Wood Fired Pizza and Grubhub

Over the past six months, the restaurant industry has been turned upside down. Some businesses were forced to close completely, while others have shifted to take-out and delivery only. Many restaurateurs are still left with more questions than answers. Will demand remain strong? How will customers prefer to order their food in the future? Is it still possible to grow a restaurant business in this landscape? But customers are as hungry as ever, so how can restaurants turn this challenging uncertainty into an opportunity for growth and an enhanced customer experience?

3:15 p.m. EST – The future of restaurant technology with a leader from Chipotle

In a world with less human contact, how does automation and other technology impact a new restaurant industry? What exactly is contactless? How do you maintain hospitality in a COVID world of face masks and social distancing guidelines? Do kiosks ever return? In this session hear from food and restaurant tech experts on where it may be best to invest now, how to use your current tech stack to satisfy new needs, and what consumers will be demanding from restaurants tomorrow.

4:00 p.m. EST – A conversation with hospitality leader Stone Brewing: leveraging contactless technology to transform the guest experience & maximize success

A discussion focused on the intersection of technology and the guest experience, hosted by Tim McLaughlin, CEO of GoTab, Inc. and Gregg Frazer, VP of Hospitality for Stone Brewing, who oversees the largest restaurant in San Diego, as well as unique hospitality venues in California and Virginia, revered for their exceptional food & beverage offerings.

August 13

1:00 p.m. EST – Dining in America: Where we are today, and what might be ahead with Adam Werner, managing director at AlixPartners

2:15 p.m. EST – Innovative value – A fusion of business rationale with culinary inspiration

In the face of the current rollercoaster of industry challenges, it’s tough to focus on all of the issues coming at you at once. We will take you into the kitchen to explore several opportunities that will help you successfully address menu simplification, portability, profitability, and innovation. You will take away ideas that are practical for your business and help you make the right decisions, based on your individual operations.

3:15 p.m. EST – The virtual kitchen’s time is now with leaders from Datassential and Brinker International

Ghost kitchens were popping up before the pandemic hit, and now many operators are turning to this strategy as a revenue-driving solution that also helps minimize hard costs. Hear from restaurateurs who have turned to ghost kitchens to bring in revenue and attract new consumers during the pandemic. This session will look at the strategy and execution behind virtual restaurant brands and ghost kitchens, which every restaurant can take advantage of to drive business.

August 18

1:00 p.m. EST – A restaurant’s role in diversity, inclusion & social justice featuring keynote speaker James Pogue II, PhD, President and CEO of JP Enterprises LLC

2:15 p.m. EST – Re-establishing your business’ vitality: Rethinking your business model

The novel coronavirus pandemic has accelerated a number of restaurant trends, like the growth of delivery and tech-driven ordering platforms. However, COVID-19 has also highlighted several operational problems that have been plaguing restaurants for years, leaving them eager to make some major operational changes immediately.

4:00 p.m. EST – The turnkey solution to restaurant operations of the future

As the landscape of restaurant service changes, owners and operators need to adapt quickly to constantly changing safety protocols, compliance requirements, and government guidelines. In this webinar presented by Jolt Software, journey with us as we take a look at the restaurant of the future. We’ll explore:

• Implementing new operational models with reduced staff

• Driving revenue through off-premise, carry-out, and delivery

• Leveraging digital channels to ensure sanitization, food safety, and team accountability

• Maintaining food safety and quality standards

August 19

2:15 p.m. EST – Never have I ever: A Q+A on transforming guest experience post COVID-19 featuring leaders at bartaco and First Watch

The brand leaders from bartaco and First Watch walk into a bar (read: webinar). What follows is a rapid-fire Q&A, led by Mike Vichich, CEO and Cofounder of Wisely. Expect the unexpected as these industry giants reveal the tough calls they’ve had to make in recent months and how they’re returning growth through means they never thought possible.

3:15 p.m. EST – How to make curbside appealing with leaders from Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises and The Habit Burger Grill.

This style of service has become the go-to method of service during the lockdown, and it will remain a revenue steam to draw customers who still aren’t ready to dine in at your restaurants just yet. But drawing buzz and keeping customers happy with your curbside program isn’t as simple as putting food in to-go containers. In this session, hear from those who have mastered their curbside programs to make them as appetizing and service oriented as dine in…while being as convenient as safe as consumers demand today.

August 20

1:00 p.m. EST – Resetting the table: Lessons in leadership with Claudia San Pedro, President of Sonic; Kim Malak, President and CEO of Salt & Straw; and Barry McGowan CEO of Fogo de Chao.

3:15 p.m. EST – How to win in the new restaurant workforce with leaders from Taco Bell and Portillo’s

From sanitation captains to food and employee security, restaurants are hiring for new positions to fulfill new needs brought about by coronavirus. At the same time, companies are building up their workforces as they reopen, so how does a restaurant operator hire, train and re-engage a staff after the starts and stops of COVID closures? This session will explore winning formulas for workforce creation, retention and engagement from leading operators.

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