FALL 2019 Operators
Auntie Anne'sMelanie Auxer Senior Director, Culinary R&D
Auntie Anne’s was founded in 1988 by “Auntie” Anne and Jonas Beiler at a farmer’s market in Downingtown, Pa. Anne began twisting pretzels to help Jonas achieve his goal of opening a community counseling center. What began as a single stand is now the world’s largest soft pretzel franchise with more than 1,800 locations in 48 states and over 25 countries. Auntie Anne’s hand-rolled soft pretzels come freshly-baked in a variety of flavors including Original, Cinnamon Sugar, Sweet Almond, Sour Cream & Onion, Roasted Garlic & Parmesan, and Pepperoni. The Auntie Anne’s product line also features Pretzel Dogs, Pretzel Nuggets, Mini Pretzel Dogs, Signature Lemonade, Lemonade Mixers, and numerous sauces for dipping.
Bojangles’Jess Glass Senior Manager R&D
Nanne Remington Quality Assurance Manager
Founded in 1977 in Charlotte, N.C., Bojangles', Inc. is a highly differentiated and growing restaurant operator and franchisor dedicated to serving customers high-quality, crave-able food made from Southern recipes. Bojangles' prepares all of its proprietary menu items from scratch and there are no microwaves in its restaurants. A special blend of seasonings gives the food its unique Bojangles' flavor. The restaurants core menu features Bojangles’ famous chicken, made-from-scratch buttermilk biscuits, flavorful fixin’s and Legendary Iced Tea® steeped the old-fashioned way. Bojangles’ broad breakfast menu is served fresh all day, every day and features biscuit sandwiches such as Cajun Filet, steak and country ham. Bojangles’ menu also features unique fixin’s such as Dirty Rice, Cajun Pintos and Green Beans. First franchised in 1978, Bojangles' has more than 690 locations throughout the southeast U.S. For more information, visit www.Bojangles.com.
Fox Restaurant ConceptsChris Curtiss Corporate Chef
Jason Frandsen VP of Procurement & Standards
Jason Petrie Culinary Standards Manager
Clint Woods Chief Culinary Officer
Fox Restaurant Concepts is inspired by remarkable dining experiences. Given the freedom to dream up the best in innovative food, drinks, service, and ambiance, the Fox team has found profound success in developing restaurants that both guests and community have wholeheartedly embraced. From their humble beginnings in Tucson in 1998 they have developed 12 unique concepts ranging from health-conscious food to irreverent gastro pub fare to modern house-made Italian cuisine. With every new restaurant concept, the Fox team is looking to make a connection. They now have more than 65 restaurants in 10 states and they are not stopping. They want to give guests the very best dining experience, one they’ll remember for a long-time.
McAlister’s DeliWill Eudy Corporate Executive Chef
Founded in 1989, McAlister’s Deli® is a fast-casual restaurant chain known for its genuine hospitality, sandwiches, spuds, soups, salads, desserts and McAlister’s Famous Sweet Tea™. In addition to dine-in and take-out service, McAlister’s restaurants also offer catering with a selection of sandwich trays, box lunches, desserts, a hot spud bar and more. With numerous industry accolades, the McAlister's Deli brand has more than 400 restaurants in 28 states. The company is headquartered in Atlanta, Ga.
REGO Restaurant GroupMike Gieseman Director of Culinary & Innovation
Based in Denver, Colorado, REGO Restaurant Group is a fast-casual restaurant platform backed by High Bluff Capital Partners. The portfolio currently includes Quiznos, home of the original toasted sub, and Taco del Mar, which offers coastal Mexican cuisine. REGO Restaurant Group manages nearly 800 restaurants in 32 countries. REGO Restaurant Group exists to reinvigorate once-great brands by strengthening economic models and reestablishing relevancy.
Shake ShackGary Schwartz Director of Culinary & Supply Chain, Global Licensing
Shake Shack is a modern day “roadside” burger stand known for its all-natural Angus beef burgers, chicken sandwiches, flat-top beef dogs, spun-fresh frozen custard, crinkle cut fries, craft beer, wine and more. Shake Shack is a fun and lively community gathering place with widespread appeal. Shake Shack’s mission is to Stand for Something Good®, from its premium ingredients and caring hiring practices to its inspiring designs and deep community investment. Since the original Shack opened in 2004 in NYC, the company has expanded to more than 220 locations in the U.S. and more than 70 international locations including London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Istanbul, Dubai, Tokyo, Moscow, Seoul and more.
Ted's Montana GrillKirk Biondi Corporate Chef
Cafe RioDouglas Henriquez director of Culinary & Kitchen Operations
Cafe Rio Mexican Grill is a fast-casual restaurant chain that has won over 60 awards and was most recently ranked the number one Quick Serve Mexican Restaurant in the Nation, for the third year in a row! Every one of our meals is made right in front of our customers eyes, nothing is prepackaged or frozen, everything is made from scratch every day. Lots of people like to say they’re fresh, but we back up our words by squeezing 1,000 limes a day, hand cutting avocados, chopping tomatoes and having no microwaves or freezers in any of our restaurants. We opened our first location in 1997 in St George, Utah and now have over 127 locations in 13 States. We are serious about creating future leaders, culinary all stars and making the world a tastier planet.
Cotton Patch CafeEric Justice Executive Chef
Cotton Patch Cafe is a home-style family restaurant serving up classic southern recipes made fresh from scratch in a warm, inviting atmosphere where guests feel at home. We arrive early in the day to chop, blend, batter and freshly prepare each tried and true recipe. We taste the sauces, double-check the spices and make sure each day we’ve got nothing but the perfect flavor for each dish. With 50+ locations, Cotton Patch’s recipe for success goes far beyond our menu. We are proud to be a part of the communities where we are located and to serve our friends and neighbors the food we make every day.
Del TacoMuna Afghani Senior Manager, Product Optimization
Founded in 1964, Del Taco, the Lake Forest, California-based company operates or franchises more than 560 restaurants in 15 states. Del Taco offers a full range of made-to-order Mexican items such as tacos, burritos, quesadillas and American favorites including cooked-to-order burgers, fries and shakes. Del Taco uses fresh ingredients including hand-made salsa, fresh produce, freshly grated cheddar cheese, chicken grilled every hour and lard-free beans made from scratch.
Fat Brands/Hurricane Grill & WingsJackie Feldman Purchasing Manager
FAT Brands Inc. is a leading, global, multi-brand, restaurant franchising company that strategically develops, markets, and acquires restaurant concepts worldwide. We currently operate Fatburger, Buffalo’s Cafe, Buffalo's Express and the Ponderosa & Bonanza Steakhouse concepts, with over 300 locations world-wide. Our passionate and dedicated in-house support teams work across all brands. The Operations, Construction, Purchasing, Architecture & Design, Kitchen Design, Training, Logistics and Marketing departments are highly experienced and dedicated to helping our franchisees achieve their entrepreneurial goals. Our franchisees are in business for themselves, not by themselves. Our strategically aligned, complimentary restaurant concepts, provide our franchisees the opportunity for continued growth within the markets they develop, across multiple brands and industry segments, while diversifying their portfolio of brands.
IHOPIzel Ustunkaya Culinary Sous Chef
When Al and Jerry Lapin opened the first International House of Pancakes in Toluca Lake, California on July 7, 1958, they never dreamed that five decades later the family restaurant they founded would become the American icon it is today. From humble beginnings, we have grown to become the leading Family Dining brand with more than 1,650 IHOP restaurants across the globe. Today, IHOP is the place where people connect over breakfast, enjoy study breaks, grab a bite before or after sporting events, and so much more. No matter what menu items they order, there's one ingredient that's always constant—a smile.
Kelly OperationsAdam Harkles Director of Culinary
Kelly Companies of Southern California’s affiliates own and operate businesses in 27 states and employ over 7,000 people. We operate 10 restaurant brands with over 110 locations in more than 20 states throughout the country including Champps Kitchen & Bar, Fox & Hound Sports Tavern, Craft Republic, Bailey's Sports Grille, Joe's Crab Shack , Brick House Tavern + Tap, Grady's BBQ, Kansas Buffet Company, Kansas Bar & Grille, and Kings Family Restaurants.
Luby's FuddruckersDan Phalen Corporate Executive Chef
Luby's Inc. operates restaurants under the brands Luby's, Fuddruckers, Culinary Services and Cheeseburger in Paradise. Its 94 Luby's restaurants are located throughout Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Texas. Its Fuddruckers restaurants include 69 company-operated locations and 112 franchises across the United States with 11 in foreign countries. Luby's Culinary Services provides food service management to 24 sites consisting of healthcare and corporate dining locations. Cheeseburger in Paradise is a full-service restaurant which includes 8 units in 7 states.
QSCC/Wendy'sDavid Kourie CPO/EVP Purchasing
Quality Supply Chain Co-op, Inc. is the exclusive supply chain manager for all Wendy’s restaurants in North America and controls $3.5 billion in spending. QSCC is the second-largest co-op in the food service industry and the sixth-largest co-op in North America. About Our Company: QSCC is part of the extended family of The Wendy’s Company, and is an independent, non-profit cooperative solely focused on Wendy’s. QSCC believes its most valuable resource is its team members. The Leadership Team provides a culture that maximizes associate engagement and empowers all to reach their full potential by adhering to Dave Thomas' Values.
SubwayAndrew Dismore Director of Menu Management & Innovation-North America
Subway, with nearly 25,000 locations in the US alone, is in the midst of a multi-year, global transformation keyed on three goals: updated, modern restaurant designs; menu innovation; and better convenience and customer service elements. By honoring the past and looking to the future, Subway is striving to build upon its classic menu items with new, bolder flavors and experiences across the globe.
Walk-Ons Bistreaux & BarTony Caballaro VP of Cullinary Operations & Training
Mike Turner SVP Culinary & Supply Chain
Game day with a taste of Louisiana – There is really no better way to describe the uniqueness of Walk-On’s Bistreaux & bar. We start every dish from scratch and use fresh ingredients to bring our mouthwatering, Cajun cuisine to life. And whether you’re here for dinner with the family, date ngiht, cocktails with the girls or to watch a game on the big screen, we’re always happy to share our Louisiana culture with you.
WildflowerLacey Hudgins Product Development Manager
Frank Brendon Chief Procurement Officer
We believe success comes down to three things – outstanding food, great service and clean restaurants. It is easy to say, but it takes a strong commitment to consistently execute. Attention to detail, putting our customers’ needs first and a deep desire to be a great company help make the Wildflower a place where our customers want to be.