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Marketing Symposium

Expo Speakers

Restaurant Marketing Symposium

March 11 & 12

Want to attract new customers?

Grow on social media?

Improve marketing ROI?


From storytelling to websites, social media to branding, the 4th annual Restaurant Marketing Symposium provides training and resources to help you find your unique voice and drive more business.


Access 12 in-depth seminars, another 18 quick bite talks, Q&A opportunities with experts and tools to make your business stand out. You'll take home ideas and strategies - from beginner to advanced.


Symposium registration - just $30 before March 10 - includes admission to the Midwest Foodservice Expo.


Register Now

Symposium Sponsor

Reinhart logo

Symposium Sponsor

Graydient Creative logo

Restaurant Marketing Symposium seminars cover a wide-range of topics presented by a diverse group of marketing experts. A packed schedule of sessions will help you navigate social media, online ads, branding and more.

Whether you are just emerging or an iconic establishment, the strategies you'll find in these sessions will help you amplify your brand.

See the Full Schedule

Use Packaging to Grow Takeout Sales

Monday, March 11 at 11:30 am | 202 B

Anh Hang - Food Packaging Specialist, R3 Redistribution

There’s no doubt that food delivery and takeout is becoming a regular topic in foodservice. This segment's sales is projected to grow in the double digits – 12% per year over the next five years. And, third party delivery services continue to see growth.

In this session, you’ll hear how packaging can help ensure food quality - keeping fries crispy, soup not spilled, or maintain temperature control throughout the delivery. You’ll also get ideas to increase the odds of repeat business. Topics include:

  • Why trends in food delivery shouldn’t be ignored
  • Using the right packaging for food quality
  • The importance of branding on packaging

5 Digital Strategies to Drive Guest Engagement

Monday, March 11 at 1:45 pm | 201 A

Chad Horn - Technology and Consultant Partnerships, TableUp

Here’s a useful exercise: Take 25 seconds to make a mental list of the most important things your restaurant does to elevate your guest experience. Now consider how much or how little technology is impacting those activities. 

Restaurants everywhere have woken up to the fact that their competitors are using technology in compelling ways to win. More operators are launching their own digital strategies to engage guests inside and outside of their restaurant. The result: a vital increase in guest frequency and spend. Learn about some of the most impactful digital strategies out there and how to identify your restaurant’s best opportunities. You’ll get:

  • Examples of some of the smartest and most accessible strategies
  • How to avoid some common mistakes
  • How to identify your best next move

Restaurant Website SEO - Search Engine Strategy Done Right

Monday, March 11 at 3:15 pm | 202 B

Chris Remington - Digital Strategy Consultant, Graydient Creative

Search engine optimization (SEO) for restaurant websites is made up of many ingredients. A pound of on-page content, mixed with some well-blended web code and a pinch of social media, can yield appetizing results that can put you at the top of search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. 

In this session, you'll learn:

  • How to whip up a website your customers will devour
  • Why SEO strategy is key to your site's success online
  • Actionable tips for the best results in search engines

Using Video Marketing

Monday, March 11 at 3:15 pm | 201 A

Bruce Irving - Founder, Smart Pizza Marketing

When you go on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube or Twitter, you’ll often notice that video is prevalent in many posts. Even if you’re running a small business, you can also use video to great effect. 

In this session, Bruce Irving of Smart Pizza Marketing will share tips to incorporate video in your advertising in order to grow your business, engage your followers, and build better community engagement on your social media platforms.

Your takeaways from this session include:

  • Why video has to be an important part of your marketing strategy.
  • What types of video are working best and where you should put them.
  • Tools needed to get started on a tight budget.

Are You Prepared for the Self-Service Era?

Tuesday, March 12 at 9:30 am | 202 B

Steve Lipkin - Owner, Khamu Solutions

The self-order revolution has arrived. Today’s younger consumers gravitate toward the convenience lifestyle, digital communications and technology-based service points. By capitalizing on digital advancements, foodservice operations can help customers serve themselves and – ultimately – create an improved guest experience for their tech-savvy diners. We’ll also take a look at how to reduce labor costs and the use of Point of Sale systems to provide better efficiency and improve ROI by using technology related products and services.

In this trend-forward session, you’ll hear:

  • The need for a website presence, online ordering and digital signage
  • Upcoming trends, like self-ordering kiosks
  • Why technology is essential for future business growth

Dining Habits of Generation Z

Tuesday, March 12 at 9:30 am | 203 B

Bret Yonke - Consumer Insights Manager, Technomic

Jessica Cravero - Midwest Regional Vice President, Technomic

Hear competitive research, consumer insights and industry trends on Generation Z from an industry leader: Technomic.

From this session, you'll:

  • Understand how Gen Z are shifting their consumption habits.
  • Uncover which segments Gen Z frequents most often.
  • Discover Gen Z foodservice motivators and purchase drivers.
  • Identify how Gen Z will drive advances in on-demand foodservice offerings.

Marketing Your Business for the Now

Tuesday, March 12 at 10:30 am | 201 A

Bruce Irving - Founder, Smart Pizza Marketing

Marketing strategies change quickly. During this seminar, Bruce Irving of Smart Pizza Marketing will walk through which marketing tactics and platforms are working best in 2019. You’ll learn the "Why" and "How" you should be positioning your restaurant or foodservice brand to make you stand out.

Get valuable takeaways on:

  • Which areas of marketing to focus your time on.
  • The best platforms to position your business and brand.
  • What you can do with your marketing to better stand out.

Non-Paid Media: Boost Sales by Branding, Not Selling

Tuesday, March 12 at 11:30 am | 202 B

Andy Larsen - VP/Partner, Boelter + Lincoln

Sam Burns - Account Executive, Boelter + Lincoln

It’s hard to resist the temptation to promote your restaurant every chance you get. But if you’re interacting with someone on social media – or courting editorial coverage – selling can be counterproductive.

In this session, you'll hear best practices on how to engage with, and activate, your online community and media contacts.

Takeaways will include:

  • Why non-paid media messages should be different than paid media (advertising)
  • How to think like an editor/producer
  • How to create organic social media content that engages
  • What social media measurement metrics you should focus on
  • Basic tips for creating and sharing content (video and photo) for social media

Consumer Behavior in the Digital World

Tuesday, March 12 at 12:45 pm | 201 A

Laura Sardegna - Head of Industry - Restaurants, Google

Digital is influencing a consumer’s decision journey more and more everyday.  Time spent on digital media and technology is increasing. Marketers and brands that want to stay relevant need to understand the behaviors of their customers in a digital first world.

In this session, you will discover many ways to reach your customers through search, video and display.  You’ll gain an understanding of how to drive footsteps to your restaurants and stores. 

Takeaways include how:

  • Digital is influencing aspects of your customers decision journey
  • To reach your customers through media efficiently and effectively
  • To engage your local audiences and customers
  • To build better digital experiences that your customers are craving


Your Brand is Perfect for Someone, But Who

Tuesday, March 12 at 2:00 pm | 202 B

Jaimi Brown - Strategy Director/Partner, Hiebing

It’s likely the only person who got up out of bed this morning thinking about your brand – is you. But, there are many other things your target audience woke up caring about that you can connect to. 

Inspire brand devotion by identifying your target audience and creating a story they will truly care about in this presentation and mini work-session. You'll learn: 

  • What it takes to establish a brand strategy
  • How to tell a compelling brand story
  • Why creative needs to feed from the strategy
  • How to create engaging content

Drive ROI with Social Media Advertising

Tuesday, March 12 at 3:00 pm | 201 A

Matt Plapp - President, Driven Media Solutions - ROI Experts

Too often, restaurant owners don't get a measurable ROI out of their marketing dollars. In this session, you’ll understand how to effectively measure your advertising. More specifically, you’ll learn techniques that can be used on social media channels to not only grow your customer database, but to drive them into your restaurant with trackable results. You’ll see multiple examples from restaurants using programs and social ads to drive thousands in sales every week.

In this session, you’ll:

  • Learn what works in social media marketing to repeat in your business.
  • Review how to create an effective marketing program and drive results.
  • Receive blueprints and ROI worksheets for creating and tracking your own campaigns.

How to Build Your Own Website

Tuesday, March 12 at 3:00 pm | 202 D

Brian Lee, APR - President, Revelation PR, Advertising & Social Media

You’ve seen the ads on TV for do-it-yourself websites… is it really that simple to build and maintain your own site? Yes!

In this workshop, you’ll get step-by-step instructions, from finding an available website name to creating a mobile-friendly website that will attract customers. You’ll see it’s not as complicated as it may seem.

By the end of this session, you'll learn how to:

  • Search for available domain (website) names
  • Set up website hosting
  • Create email addresses
  • Install the WordPress content management system
  • Build pages and add content

speaker at expo

Marketing Quick Bites offer focused training in continuous 15-minute presentations, right on the show floor. You'll find great tips and best practices for driving business in topics like: 

  • Build digital channels
  • Quick tips for social media
  • Cut through the clutter
  • Food photography 
  • Develop a brand voice
  • Community activation
  • And more!

See the Schedule

Register Now