2016 Program Agenda



The 20th Annual UCLA Extension Restaurant Industry Conference will be held on Tuesday, April 26, 2016 at UCLA Covel Commons in Los Angeles. Highly regarded as a premiere annual industry event, the conference includes among its attendees restaurant operators, lenders, private equity investors, investment bankers, suppliers, and professional advisers.

The schedule below is being revised regularly so be sure to check back periodically.

7:30 – 8:30
Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 8:50
Welcome and Program Overview

Roger Torneden, Director, Department of Business, Management, and Legal Programs, UCLA Extension.

Anna M. Graves, Partner and Co-Leader of the Restaurant, Food & Beverage Industry Group, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

BARS– Bruin Association of Rapping Students

8:50 – 9:35

You Are What You Make: How to Inspire Guests to Build Your Business With You

Every industry is facing a new and fast changing marketplace that is being redefined by shifts in culture, technology and demographics. Your company is under more pressure to reach more guests in more ways than ever. But what if these forces could work to your advantage? What if you could inspire employees, guests and partners to become your most passionate advocates? What if your brand community created and shared your marketing with you? Simon Mainwaring, CEO of We First and New York Times bestselling author, will reveal how to do this based on best practices and real world case studies from the smartest brands in the world. Join us to find out how to define, frame and share your story in ways that will build your brand and business. 

Keynote Speaker:
Simon Mainwaring, Founder and CEO, We First, Inc.

9:35 – 10:30
State of the Industry

The Food Industry is undergoing unprecedented changes, driven by changing tastes, new technologies and heightened risks driven by climate change and globalization.  Never have the business challenges—and opportunities—been as great.  William Rosenzweig, Dean of The Food Business School of The Culinary Institute of America will look at the trends and technologies that are transforming the food system.  We will examine how human health and planetary sustainability are coming into sharp focus in the food system. His presentation will showcase the exciting tools and technologies that are creating new production processes, distribution systems, and consumer market niches. He will share examples of opportunities for widespread innovation and risk mitigation on topics that include transparency,  personalized nutrition, the digitization of food, and robotics. 

Featured Speaker:
William B. Rosenzweig, Dean and Executive Director, The Food Business School

10:30 – 11:00
Networking Break

11:00 – 12:00
Sustainable Food Procurement and Operational Practices

Sustainable Food Procurement – How do we make local and other more sustainable food sources the norm rather than the exception while also increasing food production to feed the growing population across the world economically?  What role do restaurants play in this?  Issues that will be examined include facilitating direct purchasing with small farmers, sustainable farming, food hubs and collectives, sustainable seafood, fair trade products, grass fed beef, humane production practices, reducing antibiotics. 

Sustainable Food Operation Practices – Consumers understand that sustainability does not end with procurement.  This session will provide an overview of best practices in sustainable food service operations, and perspectives from leading restauranteurs.  Topics to include: achieving zero waste, your company’s carbon footprint, LEED construction, utility consumption and incentives, water use, packaging, urban agriculture, the ROI of sustainability.

Nurit Katz, Chief Sustainability Officer, UCLA

Erik Oberholtzer, Co-FounderTender Greens
Mario Del Pero, Co-Founder and CEOMendocino Farms
Adam Schlegel, Co-Founder, Snooze, An AM Eatery

12:00 – 1:40
Luncheon & Innovation Award Presentation

Award Recipient:
Janet Napolitano, President, University of California

Armchair Conversation with Kevin Reddy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Noodles and Company

1:40 – 1:55

1:55 – 2:55
Food Security/Availability and Equity
Do restauranteurs need to be concerned with food policy issues that impact equity and food security, or other social welfare issues?  More and more, yes!  Take for example the Quick Service segment being blamed for growing obesity, or the steady decline of soda consumption and sales.  How will these issues impact your business? Today’s consumers are looking to you to be socially responsible!   This session will examine relevant and impactful issues of the day that may impact your business and how your business can be pro-active and get involved.  Topics discussed will include: Fair wage and labor practices in restaurant operations and agriculture, public health trends related to food issues, food security and access, and the value of non-profit partnerships.

Kim Kessler, Director, Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy, UCLA 

Chuck  Scofield, Executive Vice President, Share our Strength
Zach Koff, Sr. Vice President, Operations, Shake Shack

2:55 – 3:55
The Three Faces of Finance: Family Offices, Private Equity and Strategic Investors

All money is not equal.  Learn about the perspectives and value added benefits of accepting capital from various investor types.  Our panel will include leading investors from 3 different categories:  high net worth family offices, private equity funds and strategic investors.

Damon Chandik, Managing Director, Head of Restaurant Investment Banking, Piper Jaffray & Co.

Sabrina Merage Naim, PrincipalEcho Capital Group and Vice President, Consolidated Capital Group
Rahul Aggarwal, Partner, Brentwood Associates
Mark Leavitt, Chief Investment Officer, Union Square Hospitality Group

3:55 – 4:10
Networking Break


4:25 – 5:30
Emerging Concepts

How do emerging concepts differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive landscape from menu, branding, operational and other perspectives?  How are they managing rapid growth in both number of units and new markets?  In this session, we will hear from several up and coming fast casual concepts on how they are “taking their shot” at becoming segment leaders and what they are specifically doing to give themselves their best chance at long-term success.

Mark Saltzgaber

Brett Schulman, CEO, Cava Grill
Jim Mizes, President & COO, Blaze Pizza LLC
Hayden Slater, Co-Founder and CEO, Pressed Juicery
Saad Nadhir, Co-Founder and CEO, Urban Plates

5:30 – 5:40
Closing Remarks

5:40 – 7:00
Closing Reception
Note: Program and presenters are subject to change without notice.

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