Message from the Chair


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



The only constant is change.  Life is flux.  Never have these old adages been truer than as applied to the restaurant industry in 2017!  The industry is experiencing pressure from every direction:  changing consumer tastes; changing workforce demographics; wage pressures; thinner margins; major shifts in public sentiment; changing laws and regulatory schemes; significant shifts in service models; growing affinities for ethnic cuisines; and deeply personal consumer touchpoints such as healthfulness, social justice, labor practices, sustainability, and local sourcing.  Everything is mutable.

Our Conference will help restauranteurs make sense of the chaos. We look at the evolving state of the industry and track the developing trends. Our keynote, my good friend Greg Dollarhyde, is a “restaurant lifer” who will share how he has successfully dealt with everything the industry, and the erratic economy, have thrown at him. Other speakers will teach us how to face major challenges and find relevance, and how to develop the attributes which will define your concept and differentiate you from your competitors.  We’ll look at how delivery options are changing the industry, with convenience being achieved at the possible expense of food quality, and how licensing can add channels and significantly increase revenues. We’ll also review the shift to a “sharing economy” and its effect on everything from how food is prepared, to how it is served to the environment in which it is consumed.

This is our 21st Conference and I am extremely proud of its longevity. I am also thrilled that this year our Innovation Award is presented to Jimmy Liautaud, Founder and Chairman of Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches – one of our industries’ most successful companies.

We have put together an amazing group of people, both on the stage and behind the scenes.  I am extremely honored to serve as Chair of the conference, and very grateful to the members of our Advisory Board and UCLA Extension for designing our tremendous program.  I am also deeply grateful to our sponsors.  Finally, many thanks to each of you for attending. I invite you and your company to become more involved with the Conference by contacting me at

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

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