March 30, 2016 | by Cherryh Cansler
Heard at the Summit: Memorable quotes from Day 1

Andrew Gruel, CEO of Slapfish,delivers the opening keynote at the inaugural Restaurant Franchising & Innovation Summit

The Franchising Restaurant & Innovation Summit is in full swing with more than 120 restaurant operators gathering in Dallas for two days of networking and learning.

And any time you gather some of the industry's brightest CEOs, franchisors, chefs, franchisees and vendors, there is sure to be some memorable quotes. Below are a few of my favorite moments:

"The industry is doing well; it's growing. For the past 15 or 16 years we've outpaced job growth."
— Matt Walker, VP of government affairs of the National Restaurant Association, on how unions are trying to get a foothold in the restaurant industry.

 

"It's not really about the golden rule of treating someone like you want to be treated. Find out how millennials want to be treated and treat them that way. The want respect, but they want to be engaged in the process."
— Connie  Alires, director of rranchise development of Which Wich, on how working with millennial franchise partners is different the previous generation of franchisees.

 

"Ahhhhh...the dreaded ROI question."
— Stacey Kane, CMO, East Coast Wings & Grill, in regard to social media.

 

"The packaging should not be an afterthought because it really is your first impression."
— Jessica James, CEO of Clean Plate, on catering.

 

"Wealth in this country and in the world has never been as concentrated as it is today since the year before the Great Depression."
— Ric Cohen, founding partner of Cheng Cohen LLC, on the state of the industry.

 

"Our industry is under attack. It's well thought out; it's well financed."
— Matt Walker, VP of government affairs of  National Restaurant Association, on how unions are trying to get a foothold in the restaurant industry.

 

"I do business in over 30 countries, and I'm convinced that all my business should be in Saudi Arabia."
— James Walker of Johnny Rockets discussing rent rates in other markets, noting one of his franchisees in Saudi Arabia was shocked his rent factor could hit 5 percent.

 

"I studied in Japan, and without that prior knowledge it would be difficult to do this deal. (The culture) is very modern but very different."
— Sean Brennan, founder and CEO of The Pie Hole, on developing a franchise deal in Japan.

 

"What we are going to talk about, what we all want to hear about is how the government is screwing it up for everybody."
— Carl Howard, CEO of Fazoli's, on the state of the industry.

 

"Make your most annoying customer your best friend."
-— Andrew Gruel, founder of Slapfish, on why negative reviews are actually great for your brand.

 

"The restaurant business (in the Middle East) is a luxury business. Money is no object; these customers expect the highest services."  
— Rafik Farouk, VP, franchise development and operations of Consolidated Restaurant Operations, on knowing your market when opening international units.

 

"Be smart about the content you present to people. You're not going to put a meat lovers pizza in front of someone who always gets a veggie pizza?"
—  Baron Concors, global chief digital officer of Pizza Hut, on using technology.

 

"As a woman, going over to Middle East can seem alarming, but it's not what you you see on TV. It's all about about knowledge."
— Shawnon Bellah, COO of Crest Foods,  a franchisor of Nestlé Toll House Café by Chip, on being a woman in a leadership position.

 

"It would be like looking at the drive thrus as a separate business and saying 'No, we really focus on dining in.' Everyone owns catering."
— Paul Hicks, senior VP, operation services and  new concept development, on why everyone at Corner Bakery Cafe works on the catering business.

 

"Fully engage millennials. Don't just hire them; put them in leadership roles."
— Rick Caron, of Manitowoc, on how younger employees can help fuel growth.

 

"You have to have online ordering if you are catering; it's non-negotiable."
-— Jessica James, CEO of Clean Plate.


Topics: Catering, Customer Service / Experience



Cherryh Cansler
Before joining Networld Media Group as director of Editorial, where she oversees Networld Media Group's nine B2B publications, Cherryh Cansler served as Content Specialist at Barkley ad agency in Kansas City. Throughout her 17-year career as a journalist, she's written about a variety of topics, ranging from the restaurant industry and technology to health and fitness. Her byline has appeared in a number of newspapers, magazines and websites, including Forbes, The Kansas City Star and American Fitness magazine. She also serves as the managing editor for FastCasual.com. wwwView Cherryh Cansler's profile on LinkedIn

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