Sunday, July 22

12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Conference Registration / Member Services

 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Welcome Networking Reception
Sponsored by:

Monday, July 23

7:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Conference Registration / Member Services

7:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.
Facilitated Networking Breakfast
Discussion groups include Technology, Recruiting, Branding, and Culture.

8:00 a.m. - 8:15 a.m.
Welcome Remarks
Brian Lynch, Vice President, Industry Relations, IFDA
Julien LeBlanc, President and Partner, Blueprint North America

8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Get SMart: View from the Top Executive Panel

In order to succeed in an ever-changing marketplace, we must all become game-changers to operate more effectively and efficiently. Prominent sales and marketing professionals from different corners of the foodservice industry will come together to share their thoughts and insights into the challenges and opportunities facing the industry. Panelists will share valuable insight on a variety of topics including:

  • Recruiting and retaining a talented workforce in a tight labor market.
  • Leveraging technology to develop stronger relationships with customers.
  • Looking ahead – reinventing your strategy to ensure growth.

9:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Networking/Refreshment Break

10:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

Eliminating Mediocrity. Squashing Negativity.

One of the biggest challenges facing leaders today is a lack of motivation and the negativity many people feel toward their work and lives. Our speaker J.C. Thompson believes you have the unique opportunity to create a safe haven. If you don’t, the C.A.V.E. people (Constantly Against Virtually Everything) can destroy your organization’s results and even worse, its potential.

He believes you can inspire employees to turn on their motivational switch, coach them to improve their skills, and improve processes to move beyond the ocean of mediocrity. Knowing how to improve their performance is a critical growth strategy and will be key to your competitive strength and brand’s relevance. People are inspired by how they contribute and what their work stands for. It’s never been more important to strengthen the heart and soul of your organization!

During his session, J.C. will deliver insights, statistics, and recommendations on how to inspire people in new ways and energize everyone in your organization to play “all in.” He also will lead a breakout session that takes a deeper dive on The 6 Pillars of Leadership.

J.C. Thompson
Senior Vice President, Aspire
Head of Aspire's LIVE Coaching Division

11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Taste the Trend

Although change within the foodservice industry is occurring at incredible speed, one factor remains constant: An appealing menu that addresses evolving consumer needs and expectations and tastebuds is an absolute prerequisite to success. This in-depth food trends review will explore what today’s consumers really want — foods, flavors, preparation, and presentation techniques that will differentiate an operation, drive diners through the door, and then bring them back for more. Look beyond the hype and discover future taste trends from the real experts — chefs.

Kevin Ryan, chef and CEO/Executive Director of the International Corporate Chefs Association, will provide the chef’s perspective on the menu trends of tomorrow so you can stay ahead of the curve and provide your customers with the tools they need to succeed.

Kevin Ryan
CEO/Executive Director, International Corporate Chefs Association

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Networking Lunch

1:00 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.
Breakout Sessions
(for full session descriptions, use the link above)
  • Preparing Sales for Powerful Conversations (session repeats at 3:30 p.m.)
  • 6 Pillars of Leadership
  • What You Really Need to Know about What Is Going on in Washington

1:45 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Networking / Refreshment Break

2:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

Hiring and Retaining A-Players

In the past couple of years, hiring has skyrocketed to the #1 challenge for business owners. The unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in 15 years, and the next generation of employees view the workplace differently than their parents did. Success in hiring takes a different approach today than it did 10 or 15 years ago. Some businesses have no problem attracting talent, while others are chronically understaffed.

During this session, Gerry O’Brion will reveal simple strategies to find, hire, train and retain top talent. You’ll learn 10 ideas you can implement now to attract new employees, and strategies for motivating and retaining A-players.

After years as an executive with billion dollar brands, Gerry now uses big company strategies to grow businesses of all sizes. His strategies work in any business regardless of their budget. He began his career in marketing at Procter & Gamble, working with brands such as Crisco, Tide, Mr. Clean, and Spic & Span. Next, he managed Coors Light, became VP of Marketing for Quiznos, and then VP of Marketing for Red Robin Gourmet Burgers.

Gerry O’Brion
Founder, What Big Brands Know

3:30 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.
Breakout Sessions
(for full session descriptions, use the link above)

  • Preparing Sales for Powerful Conversations
  • Motivating and Marketing Across Generations
  • How Well Do You Know the Foodservice Industry?

3:20 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Networking Refreshment Break

4:15 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Adaptive Leadership: Incorporating Your Real World Experience to Make the Connection

Lieutenant General (Retired) John Van Alstyne was commissioned from Texas A&M University as an Infantry officer in 1966 and retired in 2002 after 36 years of service in the United States Army. Following retirement, he served as commandant of the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M until January 2010. He is currently an executive professor on the faculty of the Mays Business School at Texas A&M and focuses his teaching on leadership and leadership development.

General Van Alstyne is lauded for his leadership of the Pentagon Family Assistance Center following the attack at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. During this session, he will share insights about the leadership styles he developed during decades of service. Whatever the challenge — improving customer service, coping with change, inspiring transformation, improving corporate culture, recruiting and retaining great talent, building teamwork, fostering innovation — it all comes down to this: someone has to lead.

Attendees will walk away with an understanding of how to apply various leadership styles, depending on the situation.

Lt General (Retired) John Van Alstyne
Executive Professor, Mays Business School
Texas A&M

5:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Tying It All Together - Day 1

with Julien LeBlanc

5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Networking Reception

Tuesday, July 24

7:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Conference Registration / Member Services

8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
Chairman’s Breakfast / Facilitated Discussion
(by invitation)

8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
Attendee Breakfast

9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.

Morning Gameplan

Recap, Takeaways, and Gameplan for the Day
with Brian Lynch and Julien LeBlanc

9:15 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Marketing and Customer Experience for People Not Like You

Kelly McDonald is a marketing and communications expert who specializes in multicultural and diversity marketing. She believes that a “one-size fits all” approach to marketing and customer service is no longer viable. Businesses competing on service need to understand and cater to customers’ differences in order to meet or exceed customers’ service expectations.

During this session, she will show how companies, brands and products struggling to differentiate themselves in a sea of sameness can foster long-term loyalty and brand preference with exceptional and customized customer service. While you cannot control the economy or the costs of goods and labor, you can control your organization’s customer experience.  It’s an empowering thought. Customer service is 100% in your control at all times and it’s more important than ever in today’s competitive business environment.

Kelly is the author of three highly rated books, including How to Market to People Not Like You. Her marketing company, McDonald Marketing, has twice been named one of the top advertising agencies in the U.S. by Advertising Age magazine.

Kelly McDonald
Author and Speaker
Founder, McDonald Marketing

10:00 a.m. - 10:20 a.m.
Networking / Refreshment Break

10:20 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

In the House with Oliver Kremer of Dos Toros Taqueria

Brothers Oliver (on left) and Leo Kremer founded Dos Toros Taqueria in 2009 to bring the Mission-style burritos they ate growing up in Berkeley, Calif., to New York City. Oliver Kremer joins us at SMart 2018 to share what the fast casual chain is all about — its food philosophy, its culture, and more.

Without any background in restaurants or hospitality, the Kremers were able to view the dining experience from a guest’s point of view. In addition to amazing burritos, the Kremers have successfully leveraged creativity and social media to reach new audiences, establish a brand, and build customer loyalty. They also invest in their employees with higher than average wages and a great culture resulting in far less turnover than other restaurants.

The Kremers think outside the box — from employee music videos like “Guac it Out” and “99 Tacos” to creating a fine-dining atmosphere and offering a prix fixe menu to guests during restaurant week. The results speak for themselves with 14 locations in New York and a new location in Chicago coming soon.

Oliver Kremer
Co-Founder, Dos Toros Taqueria

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Be Unstoppable: The 8 Essential Actions to Succeed at Anything

Odds are that you or someone you work with uses Alden Mills’ inventions. He is a former Navy SEAL who has been awarded more than 40 patents, and has sold over 10 million products (and counting) worldwide. He’s created five #1 ranked infomercials, and is the author of Be Unstoppable: The 8 Essential Actions to Succeed at Anything. His next book, Build Unstoppable Teams, is due out in 2018.

The company he co-founded and led, Perfect Fitness (Perfect Pushup, Perfect Ab-Carver, etc.), gained national acclaim through Inc. Magazine as the fastest growing consumer products business from 2007 to 2009, going from $500K to over $63M in just three years.

Alden’s mantra is “Success is a team sport.” He learned this early in life as an asthmatic who persevered to be a one-time Olympic rowing hopeful before going on to be a Navy SEAL platoon commander. He applied lessons he learned in leading SEAL platoons to building and leading a high-growth company. He has over 25 years of military and business leadership experience in building, leading, and innovating with teams.

During this session, Alden will drive home his simple and effective frameworks that help organizations build high functioning team players and leaders who can innovate.

Alden Mills
Former Navy SEAL Platoon Commander,
Co-founder/CEO, Perfect Fitness, and Author of Be Unstoppable: The 8 Essential Actions to Succeed at Anything

12:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Interactive Recap

with Julien LeBlanc

1:30 p.m.
Conference is A Wrap!