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 thing that remains constant is change. Change is inevitable. Embrace change; it is the only constant in life. Change is good. The power of change. So many maxims are based on this concept and there is good reason for this:  the world is continuously evolving.

The restaurant industry is no exception – it is transforming at an incredible rate.  Ghost kitchens; delivery-only brands; responsibly-sourced ingredients; community service and involvement; plant-based foods; deep employee engagement; use of robotics and artificial intelligence; social media marketing; taking back your data; the vilification of delivery platforms; creative loyalty programs; better-for-you meal options; culinary innovation; waste reduction; upselling through automation; deep analytics; big data; etc. Where does it end? Answer:  it does not. Change is the only constant…

Our Conference will help you understand and adapt to the changes sweeping through the industry, and to choose the path that makes sense for your business. David Birzon, the CEO of Snooze, a concept which has seemingly reinvented breakfast, will set the tone for the day. Sam Fox, one of the most innovative people operating in the restaurant space, will discuss what he sees as key trends and opportunities.  Chad Houser will inspire us with his stories of taking kids out of jail and teaching them to play with knives and fire! All of our speakers are leaders in their fields and the day will be filled with learning and insight. You’ll discover how leading restaurant companies are building remarkable brands, highlighting their distinctive values and cultures, appealing to their target audiences, and generating strong loyalty among their customers.

This is our 24th annual Conference.  We’ve assembled an incredible group of people, both on the stage and behind the scenes. I am honored to serve as Chair of the Conference, and very grateful to the members of our Advisory Board and the educators at UCLA Extension for designing our ambitious program and organizing such a powerful – and prestigious – group of speakers. I am also greatly appreciative of our sponsors and their financial commitment.  Finally, many thanks to you for attending.

The Conference can continue to maintain its relevance to the industry only with the support and commitment of dedicated industry participants.  If you would like to become more personally involved with the Conference by exploring sponsorship or other opportunities, I invite you to contact me at

Anna Graves' Signature




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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