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Pre Show Prep

Pre-approved professional development CEU/CE’s credits are usually available. Check back here on our website in February for details. Also, stop by the CEU table on the second floor across from the session rooms for more details and appropriate forms.

Here’s a sneak peek…


Getting Above the Noise

How Restaurants Can Stand Out and Be More Memorable in Today’s Overly-Marketed Marketplace

Presented by: Shawna Suckow, CMP
Monday, 8:00 – 9:00 am
Cost: $69

There’s never been a time where our culture has been more saturated with marketing messages from every angle, every minute of the day. Translation: there’s never been a more challenging time for restaurant owners trying to get  the attention of potential customers.

As consumers, we’ve all grown savvier about blocking and ignoring what we deem to be irrelevant messaging, and grown intolerant with interruption marketing. We don’t make ANY purchasing decision until we’re darn good and  ready. The key, then, is to be the one they remember most when they’re ready to spend.

How can you break through this cluttered marketing landscape to get the attention of your desired audience and become the most memorable? Join Shawna in this eye-opening session that will leave you will fresh ideas to  address your marketing challenges, and ultimately get more feet through the door.

Participant Outcomes:

  • Emotion is one of the most powerful drivers of human action. Food is an emotional experience. Learn new techniques to capture emotion and harness it to impact your bottom line.
  • Experience several real case studies from restaurants that created successful marketing campaigns on all types of budgets
  • Discover the latest consumer trends that you can adopt for greater success
  • Learn what’s NOT working, so you can re-purpose valuable resources more effectively

Register For This Session

How a Menu Makeover Will Increase Your Profitability

Presented by: Mark Laux, Hot Operator
Monday, 11:30 am
(Entry level)

People judge a restaurant by the menu - first impressions do matter. Learn how to create menus that produce a high return on investment and increase revenue through building powerful brands. We’ll walk through the entire process of doing secondary research, making a scatter graph and what it means. See systematically how positions, highlighting, mental anchoring and strategic pricing all come together for obtaining higher profits.

Learning Objectives:

  • Menu brand development
  • New products and why they are important
  • Paying attention to social media and what it means to your business
  • Facebook - Instagram what you look for and what you look like
  • Scatter graphs and how to read one

Best Restaurant Marketing Ideas for 2020

Presented by: Adam Guild, Founder & CEO of Placepull
Monday, 11:30 am
(Entry Level)

Get a deep understanding of the future of the most important factor affecting your restaurant’s success: marketing. Understand which ideas matter most to focus on this year, learn how you can implement them, discover exactly how they’ve grown restaurants recently and gain clarity on the most important things you can do to grow your business today.

Takeaways include:

  • Setting up custom audience targeting and why it works
  • Importance of search engine optimization 
  • Conversion rate optimization; why it’s the most important restaurant marketing strategy
  • How you can use the latest trends in consumer behavior to your advantage


Presented by: D.P. Knudten, COLLABORATOR creative
Monday, 2:00 pm

Branding’s a big buzz word in marketing, and everyone who practices it has their own take on it. For some, it’s barely more than the consistent use of logo a color palette. For others, it’s coming up with whatever story the consumer will buy. For me, it’s about knowing who you are. So you can be it. This provocative and entertaining presentation makes the case for a new approach to branding and marketing based on factual foundation carefully formed, not ‘shiny object’ fluff. A truthful balance between what you are today and where you want to go, NonFiction Branding™ is based on actual physical documentation that’s scalable, sustainable and ‘everybody on the same page’-able.

You’ll gain from this session:

  • A real understanding about how "branding" is more than a logo and how it can enhance every aspect of your business
  • Identify the difference between ‘lowest price-oriented’ commodities and ‘purchased for a premium’ brand opportunities
  • How personal brands can elevate and enhance company brands


Social Media Hacks to Increase Sales & Improve Loyalty

Presented by: Adam Guild, Founder & CEO of Placepull
Tuesday, 9:30 am

Learn the latest social media strategies that are proven successful, which platforms matter to focus on, and exactly how you can leverage them to grow your restaurant business. Get a step-by-step breakdown on exactly which strategies matter, why they make a difference, the simplest way to implement them and the incredible results they’ve achieved for other restaurants in the past. Gain clarity on how to best use this mysterious powerhouse—social media—to your advantage.

Takeaways include:

  • How to create strategic partnerships with local influencers
  • Achieve new customers through manual engagement and automation
  • Get regulars who forgot about you back into your restaurant
  • Implement automation to have your social media presence growing on autopilot 

The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success for the Foodservice Industry Professional

Presented by: Wayne Breitbarth, CEO of Power Formula, LLC
Tuesday, 12:00 pm
(Entry Level)

This session has something for everyone. Whether you’re a social media novice or savvy user, you’ll come away with LinkedIn action steps that can produce immediate results. Everyone is marketing something—whether it’s yourself or your business. Don’t let another day pass without acquiring the knowledge you need to open doors and get dramatic results. 

You’ll learn how to: 

  • Use your experience and relationships to meet your business and career goals 
  • Create a compelling profile that will help the right people find you 
  • Successfully search for potential customers, employers, suppliers, employees, etc. 
  • Effectively engage with LinkedIn members who can help you 
  • Use hidden LinkedIn features to generate significant business opportunities within your organization



Presented by: Brian Bennett, President of STIR Advertising & Integrated Marketing
Tuesday, 2:45 pm
(Entry Level)

Today’s digital world provides endless opportunities for restaurants to tell their story and connect with customers in a more efficient and cost effective way than traditional media.  Understanding how to make it happen is another story.  Brian Bennett, President of STIR Advertising & Integrated Messaging, will share insights on how to set up a digital marketing structure that generates strong leads and revenue. He’ll review generational dining trends (Gen Z, for example, likes to dine in larger groups) and provide tips on how to use digital marketing to attract foodies of all ages to your restaurant.

Some key-takeaways will include:

  • Why thinking differently about restaurant marketing and using the right digital strategy is essential to survival
  • Who are your dining audiences and how should you use digital marketing to customize your offers and promotions
  • How branding, selling and sharing need to be key components of your restaurant marketing machine strategy


The State of Local Digital Marketing

Presented by: Steve Frusolone, Founder of MarketSparx, LLC
Wednesday, 10:30 am

In this session, Steve will focus on the “Pillars of your business virtual doorway,” addressing topics encompassing your entire online presence. Learn about critical elements driving today's consumers to businesses and the missing components that can lead them to your competition. After this session, you’ll be well versed on what every small business needs to understand and execute in today's digital environment.

Learning Objectives:

  • Hear about the importance of business directory listings, reputation management (reviews) and social media targeting  and how all of these lead to your business being found, trusted and respected
  • Understand the critical conversion elements of your website and how to turn visitors into customers
  • The various types of online searches, search results and search engine optimization (SEO) and how critical that is to winning local markets

Why You Need to Focus on Video Marketing in 2020

Presented by: Katherine Ramirez, Founder and CEO of adBidtise
Wednesday, 11:45 am
(Entry Level)

According to a report from HubSpot research, more than 50% of consumers want to see videos more than any other type of content. Social Media is one of the most powerful vehicles available to any business or brand. Video Marketing has dominated all Social Media Platforms. If you aren't creating video, you're likely going to be lagging way behind the fastest current trend. Most people hesitate from creating video because they don't know where to begin. Hear from Kat step by step how to create videos that increase engagement. Video production does not need to break the bank. The more simple and raw it is, the more authentic the content will be and that's what really matters to your audience.

Some key-takeaways will include:

  • The different types of videos you can produce
  • How to navigate a blueprint for your video format
  • How to add subtitles and basic equipment needed 
  • Got my videos…now what?

The Emotionally Smart Leader

Presented by: Mary Pat Knight, Founder of Leaders Inspired
Monday, 11:30 am

Inspired leaders serve in a way that helps others be THEIR best - not the leader's version of what is best. All the planning and accountability measures will be for naught if the team, itself, is not healthy. Hospitality calls for transparency, open communication, great feedback and accountable leadership. This interactive session uses principles of Emotional Intelligence to minimize drama and triggered behavior that block potential and then identify awareness and capability to build team engagement.

Key learning from the presentation:

  • Key emotional intelligence skills to manage workplace emotions
  • Strategies to minimize drama and emotion from triggered behavior
  • A key leadership formula that breaks the pattern of villain, victim and hero with your team
  • 5 qualities of leadership communication you can employ with your team to create engagement and connection


Inspired Engagement: Leading with Inspiration to Maximize Employee Engagement

Presented by: Mary Pat Knight, Founder of Leaders Inspired
Monday, 2:00 pm

With a tight labor market and increased evidence of the cost of disengaged employees, it has never been more important to use the leadership gift of inspiration to maximize your employee's engagement. The pace of the leader is the pace of the pack and this interactive session will explore your own levels of engagement, your individual relationship with team inspiration and the personal leadership skills needed to customize communication and expectation settings to your unique audience of employees. Highly interactive, this session blends leadership mindset and skill set while directly targeting what it will take to create an engaged and motivated team.

Key learning from the presentation:

  • Why inspiration is a necessary part of engaging employees
  • Setting expectations and inspecting the results from a place of motivation and support
  • Customizing communication style to the styles of others to cast a wider net of engagement
  • Why listening and coaching skills are key to your company's future results
  • A toolkit of inspired leadership skills with a plan to perfect guidance

Complaint free Business

Presented by: Wendy Babcock, Communication Strategist, Speaker & Author
Monday, 3:15 pm

78% of employees report wasting 4.5 hours every week listening to coworkers complain. Not only that, 1 out of every 10 employees quit their job due to complaining coworkers. When businesses talk about employee retention, complaining plays a huge role. Everyone will leave inspired, mindful of their own complaints, and motivated to approach complaining customers and co-workers with new, simple and effective strategies.

Takeaways include: 

  • Hear just “What’s wrong with complaining?”
  • The five reasons people G.R.I.P.E.
  • Business benefits of positive leadership in a negative world

Transformational Leadership: Proven Approach and Tools for Success

Presented by: Joseph Weitzer, PhD, Managing Partner and Senior Strategist, Soulful Leadership Consulting Network
Tuesday, 9:30 am

One of the best investments you can make for your organization is in the development of your leadership infrastructure. The ever-changing business environment requires leaders to perform at their very best. When not prepared, this can come at a cost to personal satisfaction and fulfillment.  

Learning Objectives:

  • Discover the value of a “strengths-based” approach to leadership
  • Recognize the “essentials” for leading organizational success
  • Learn the elements necessary for fostering innovation within your business

Winning the War for Talent: Turning Foodservice Operators from Farmers of Talent to Hunters of Talent

Presented by: Chris Czarnik, CEO/Founder of Career [RE]Search Group
Tuesday, 12:00 pm

For the first time since WWII, the current lack of available workforce in the US is the single greatest threat to growth and expansion for American businesses. It is a mathematical certainty that there will not be enough available talent to fill all of the needs of employers over the next decade. There will be winners and losers in this "War for Talent." This talk will focus on proven systematic strategies that restaurants can use to make sure they are well staffed with amazing people that will allow their organization to grow and thrive, even more critical during this time of labor shortage within the foodservice industry.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the causes of the current shortage of talent and how long it will last
  • Understand the three phases of the employment life cycle: Recruitment, Engagement and Development
  • Be able to understand whether potential employees are UNWILLING or UNABLE to come to work for you
  • Measure the state of any organization's culture by looking at referral hiring tendencies


Our Culture. Your Family. – How to cultivate a company where your employees feel they belong

Presented by: Alan Lundeen, Senior Director of Operations and Talent of Cousins Subs
Tuesday, 1:30pm

We all know how important it is to attract and retain good talent, but how do you do it? You can have top-notch recruitment tools and bottomless budgets, but the employees you hire are lost quickly if they feel no connection to their work. This is where company culture plays a key role – and at Cousins Subs, we believe in doing it the BETTER way: by treating our employees like family. In this session, we’ll share some tried and true strategies to getting good people in your doors and creating the type of environment that makes them want to stay. 

Key Takeaways include:

  • The importance of the candidate experience and a solid onboarding program.
  • Leadership transparency, visibility and open door policy – we encourage our employees to talk to us about what’s going wrong and how we can fix it.
  • Why employee recognition goes a long way – we like to “catch people doing the RIGHT thing”.
  • Culture building toolkit – walk out the door today, equipped with the means and the materials to carry out your mission – to build a culture worth taking pride in!

Restaurant Industry 2020 and Beyond

Presented by: Hudson Riehle, Senior Vice President, Research & Knowledge Group of the National Restaurant Association
Monday, 12:45 pm

The U.S. restaurant market has evolved into an $863 billion mega-industry, spanning dozens of distinct segments.  A convergence of rapidly moving trends in technology, consumer demographics, labor-force composition and food and economics is reshaping the historical restaurant model and altering future foodservice and supplier markets. Data from the National Restaurant Association and its new Restaurant Industry 2030 Report will offer strategic insights into the restaurant industry’s unique opportunities and challenges in meeting a growing demand for food prepared away from home.

Takeaways include:

  • Industry Sales Trends 
  • The Evolving Roles of Labor and Technology
  • Menu Price Inflation and Commodity Costs
  • Restaurant Performance Index Insights 
  • 2020 What’s Hot Chef Survey:  Critical Food & Beverage Trends
  • Restaurant Industry 2030 Report highlights, including  economic, workforce and consumer projections as well as the industry’s most likely developments and top disruptors over the upcoming decade
  • Regional/State Economic Variances
  • Restaurant Operator Top Challenges 

Way Off-Premise: Technology’s Role in Food Delivery

Presented by: Shari McCauley, Product Specialist of QSR Automations Inc.
Monday, 2:00 pm

For the last several years, the idea of off-premise has grown to match technology. Companies like Amazon have flirted with the concept of drone delivery, which in some ways has become an increasing reality. While you may not have a tiny flying robot bringing you your food yet- that’s not for lack of trying. Delivery bots are premiering on college campus, pushing the boundaries of how tech can currently and literally- deliver on their promise of off-premise dining. Lower-tech solutions are just as plentiful with businesses developing off-premise strategies that include mid-traffic delivery and companies like Uber Eats or DoorDash, working with business to provide fresh options. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Where off-premise started and how it’s grown
  • Solutions to satisfying a burgeoning market; Delivery, Ghost Kitchens, and how POS/FOH technology can integrate
  • An idea of where technology is going tomorrow

CBD in Foodservice: Updates on Wisconsin Policies

Presented by:
Dr. Steve Ingham, Division Administrator for the Division of Food and Recreational Safety at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
Trevor Polinsky, Co-Founder of Inlightended Alchemy
Susan Quam, IOM Executive Vice President of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association
Tuesday, 9:30 am

Together we’ll discuss the latest information about adding CBD - infused products to your menu. The panel will cover the specifics on recently approved Wisconsin policy, allowing you to participate in this controversial customer demand and understand potential repercussions.

Learning Objectives:

  • Where to find a Wisconsin CBD producer that meets required guidelines
  • Business-building CBD-Infused trends in foodservice 
  • How to be in compliance with CBD policies in Wisconsin

Cash Flow 101: The Basics to Understanding Your Cash Flow

Presented by: Ed Hastreiter, Owner & President of ewh Small Business Accounting & Joe Hastreiter, Account & Marketing Director at ewh Small Business Accounting
Tuesday, 12:00 pm

Having a full understanding of your cash flow – what’s coming in and going out is the only real way to make the most profitable business decisions. When you know how to proficiently read you profit and loss (P&L) statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement you’ll be well on your way to avoiding the traps of the 5 most critical accounting mistakes business owners make.

Takeaways include:

  • The 5 critical accounting mistakes to avoid
  • How to read your financial statements – P&L, Cash Flow Statement and Balance Sheet
  • Understanding the difference between profits and cash flow
  • The basics of key performance indicators (KPI’s)

Produce Sourcing Safely & Effectively

Presented by: Annake Ramsey, Produce Program Manager, CROPP Cooperative/Organic Valley 
Panel includes: 
Hsing-Yi Hsieh, M.S., R.S. Director of Food Protection and Regulatory Affairs at Skogen’s Festival Foods, Aric Sonnenschein, REHS/RS Food Scientist-Advanced Produce Section in Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and Jay L. E. Ellingson, Ph.D., Senior Director of Food Protection and Science Operations of Kwik Trip
Tuesday, 1:30 pm

Peel away the doubt and take a look inside the rules and regulations of produce sourcing. Hear from a diverse panel that will focus on the Produce Safety Rule and an in-depth discussion on the “labeling program” and what that means to those in foodservice. Enjoy this informative session, providing helpful guidance and ample time for your questions.

Learning Objectives:

  • Overall produce safety awareness and how it affects your role in sourcing
  • Gain the necessary confidence that the product you receive is safe
  • Understanding of the regulations in place

Cash Flow 201: The Fundamentals of Creating Consistent Cash Flow

Presented by: Ed Hastreiter, Owner & President of ewh Small Business Accounting & Joe Hastreiter, Account & Marketing Director at ewh Small Business Accounting
Tuesday, 1:30 pm

Take the “next step” in this more advanced session – a deeper dive into how to ensure financial business growth. Learn about setting your sales goals to budget for profitability, and the levers to increase profits and cash flow. With understanding these tools you will be empowered with how to get from A to Z, and be well on your way to achieving the 5 secrets to financial success in your business.

Takeaways include: 

  • 5 secrets to financial success in your business 
  • How to determine your break-even point and build profit into it
  • Understand how to set your sales goal to budget for profits and cash flow
  • How to use key performance indicators (KPI) to increase profits and cash flow

ASK WRA: Common Employment Law and Food Safety Violations to Avoid

Presented by: Susan Quam, CAE, IOM Executive Vice President and Debbie Taber, Human Resources & Office Administrator of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association
Wednesday, 10:30 am

As compliance becomes more complex, it’s imperative for employers to know about the most common labor law violations and how to take action to avoid fines and damage to your restaurant's reputation. Also, hear more about how WRA’s ASK WRA service saves time and money for quick, confidential answers.

Takeaways include:

  • Common labor law regulations you should be aware of
  • Updates on state administrative rules/codes
  • Food safety missteps you don’t want to make