Apr 02 - 05, 2023
FoodOvation #32
Commercial Exchange

The 32nd  FoodOvation exchange is for commercial operators and manufacturers only.

Relationships are the currency of successful businesses! Great business is built upon relationships cultivated out of meaningful, shared experiences. FoodOvation is a hand-crafted exchange designed to forge partnerships and drive innovation by providing participants opportunities for genuine interactions.

Through intimate group sizes, FoodOvation cultivates powerful interactions between decision-making peers that both provide insights that spark vibrant, collaborative, concentrated culinary discussions and ideas, as well as fosters the building of relationships in order to take action and win in the marketplace. This is not watching a speaker, but an exchange of ideas and birthplace of connection. Attendees leave FoodOvation invigorated with new ideas, new experiences, and new relationships.

Saturday - February 25, 2023
Time Event Location
2:00 - 5:00PM Registration (Sponsors) Riley Board Room at River House
Sunday - February 26, 2023
Time Event Location
12:00 – 5:00PM Registration Riley Board Room at River House
6:00 – 9:00PM Welcome Reception & Dinner Oak Ballroom at River House
Monday - February 27, 2023
Time Event Location
8:00 – 8:20AM Breakfast Montage Residences
8:20 – 12:00PM Morning FoodOvation Sessions Montage Residences
12:15 - 1:15PM Lunch Oak Ballroom
1:20 - 3:00PM Afternoon FoodOvation Sessions Montage Residences
3:15 - 5:15PM Group Activities Various Locations
5:15 - 6:00PM Relax & Refresh
5:50 - 6:20PM Trolley Transport to Dinner Inn (Bell stand)
6:00 – 9:00PM Reception & Dinner Moreland Landing
8:45 - 9:30PM Trolleys back to Inn
Tuesday - February 28, 2023
Time Event Location
8:00 - 8:20AM Breakfast Montage Residences
8:20 – 12:00PM Morning FoodOvation Sessions Montage Residences
12:15 - 1:15PM Lunch Oak Ballroom
1:20 - 5:00PM Afternoon FoodOvation Sessions Montage Residences
5:00 - 6:00PM Relax & Refresh
5:50 - 6:20PM Trolleys from Inn (Bell stand) to Dinner Inn (Bell stand)
6:00 - 9:00PM Reception & Dinner Cole's Restaurant
8:45 - 9:30PM Transportation back to Inn
Wednesday - March 1, 2023
Time Event Location
All Day Departures As Scheduled
Committed Sponsors
Committed Restaurateurs/Operators

Barrel House

Chris Posey, Director of Marketing & Franchise Sales / Buying & Menu
Jimmy Holt, President & CEO

Upscale tavern concept. Just began franchising last year with 5-10 new units expected in 2023.

BJ's Restaurant

Paige Norman, SVP Culinary R&D

BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. is an American restaurant chain, headquartered in Huntington Beach, California. The chain operates under the names BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, BJ’s Grill, and BJ’s Pizza & Grill. BJ’s menu features pizza, beers, appetizers, entrees, pastas, sandwiches, salads, and desserts. Some locations feature microbreweries that supply beer to other locations in the chain.

Bubbakoo's Burritos

Kevin Lawlor, Director of Purchasing

No other restaurant, fast-casual chain, or taco stand offers quite the variety, quality, or the unique hybrid skater-surf atmosphere that can be found at Bubbakoo’s Burritos.

City Barbeque

Jessica Bograd, Sr. Director of Culinary

Serving and creating happiness is at the heart of who we are, and the flavor of America is what we’re proud to serve. Every day, we’re smoking tastes of the nation, from Kansas City to the Carolinas; taking care of our friends and neighbors; and sharing our passion for the art and soul of BBQ.

Focus Brands International

Ben Whittington, International Culinary Manager

Focus Brands® International is a leading developer of global, multichannel food service brands. Our curated collection of iconic brands is united under one company that’s leading the industry through product innovation, cutting edge business practices, and an expansive media presence. With more than 1,650 locations worldwide, our seven highly recognizable brands can be found in 60+ countries and include Auntie Anne’s®, Carvel®, Cinnabon®, Jamba®, Moe’s Southwest Grill®. Our brands are known for being best-in-class franchisors and licensors of iconic, global foodservice concepts that demonstrate the highest level of care for our franchise owners, licensees, local communities, and our team members.

Jenny Craig

Matt Switzer, VP of Supply Chain
Justine Kelly, Executive Chef / VP of Culinary Strategy
Kim Doyle, VP of Nutrition and Product

Jenny Craig, Inc., often known simply as Jenny Craig, is an American weight loss, weight management, and nutrition company. The company has more than 700 weight management centers in Australia, the United States, Canada, and New Zealand. The program combines individual weight management counseling with a menu of frozen meals and other foods which are distributed through its centers or shipped directly to clients.

Just Salad

Jhonny Castro, Director of Culinary
Alex Harden, Sr. Supply Chain Associate

OUR MISSIONL: Is to make everyday health + everyday sustainability possible.

HEALTH: Health is a journey, and we’re here to be a part of it with food that makes you feel good. Because life gets better when we feel our best.

SUSTAINABILITY: Your food choices matter. We’re giving you the tools to take action for the planet, every day.

CONNECTION:We know you by name and we know you by order. Pull up a chair, there’s a seat for everyone at our table.

McAlister's Deli

Alex Reyes, Senior Manager, Menu Innovation
Brock Peek, Manager of Culinary R&D

Our food is our foundation – we wouldn’t be here without the 13 layers of our McAlister’s Club or our giant Spuds covered with your favorite toppings. Our goal is to serve handcrafted food and delicious sweet tea that is simple and satisfying – for every palette, even mom’s pickiest eater. We take familiar flavors and add the special McAlister’s touch that you won’t find anywhere else.

MOD Pizza

Lisa Stahler, Culinary Innovation Manager

We’re all about choice. The MOD experience is built around high-quality, personalized products delivered superfast. Our individually sized pizzas and hand-tossed salads are fully customizable, with more than 40 toppings, 8 finishing sauces, and 8 delectable dressings. Every pizza or salad is made on demand and completely unique, but the price always stays the same. We care deeply about sourcing superior, fresh ingredients with vibrant flavors, and remain committed to working with our partners on environmental impact, animal ethics, and fair labor practices.

P.F. Chang's

Danny Larson, Director of Culinary Operations
Carmelo Rubalcava, Director of Culinary Operations
Steve Solis, VP of Culinary Operations
Darrell Ngo, Product & Development Manager

P.F. Chang’s is an Asian restaurant concept founded on making food from scratch every day in every restaurant. Created in 1993 by Philip Chiang and Paul Fleming, P.F. Chang’s is the first multi-unit restaurant concept in the U.S. to honor and celebrate the 2,000-year-old tradition of wok cooking as the center of the guest experience. Since inception, P.F. Chang’s chefs have been hand-rolling dim sum, hand chopping and slicing all vegetables and meats, scratch cooking every sauce and wok-cooking each dish, every day in every restaurant. P.F. Chang’s new Farm to Wok® menu highlights its wholesome, scratch-cooking approach and introduces new dishes and drinks for lunch, happy hour and dinner. Today, P.F. Chang’s has over 300 restaurants across the globe.


Leyla Wheelhouse, Director of Culinary

Roti serves delicious, healthy, and affordable Mediterranean food.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe

Kristi Bullock, Sr. Director of Menu Innovation & Calendar Planning

Tropical Smoothie Cafe® was born on a beach™ and on that beach we learned a better way to live. We make eating better easy breezy with fresh, made-to-order smoothies, wraps, flatbreads and quesadillas that instantly boost your mood.

Upward Projects

Cory Lattuca, Director of Procurement
Cesar Jovel, Culinary Standard Manager
Carlos Buscaglia, Culinary Standard Manager

Upward Projects creates inspired restaurants that are connected to the communities they serve, built on a foundation of historically relevant buildings integral to the neighborhoods they surround. Hallmarks include pairing delicious food with local ingredients, bespoke beverage programs and a warm, friendly culture that brings everyone together. Recently named to the Inc. 5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing companies for the fourth year in a row, and the Nation’s Restaurant News “Power 50” list in 2019, Upward Projects proudly features 20 markedly unique restaurants over five brands in five states. Led by Postino, an Arizona-born restaurant concept with unique locations across Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Georgia and California, Upward Projects has built a cult-like following with mid-century adaptive reuse design, trend-setting real estate selection, and decked-out menus of crave-worthy shareables designed to instigate last-bite fights. Upward Projects also promotes in-fill development by focusing on adaptive reuse projects and creating modern “third places” that enhance the neighborhood culture they inhabit.


Mike Turner, SVP of Culinary & Supply Chain

Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux was founded in 2003 with the mission of building a winning culture by defining the true spirit of a walk-on. The Baton Rouge-based brand aims to make every community it enters its own home court by bringing people together in the name of fun, while using its Louisiana roots to deliver scratch-made burgers, sandwiches, seafood and Cajun favorites from the kitchen and unique cocktails and beer selections from its extensive bar program. Walk-On’s love for food, people and sports ensures that southern hospitality is always felt from the moment you walk through the doors. It’s a proven winning formula with Walk-On’s consistently ranking in Restaurant Business’ Top 500 Chains, Entrepreneur’s Top 500, Franchise Times’ Top 500, and Nation’s Restaurant News Top 500. As the brand heads into its 20th year, Walk-On’s is steadily approaching 100 restaurants nationwide with award-winning franchise partners like Drew Brees, Dak Prescott, Derrick Brooks and Dabo Swinney. For more information, visit


Brendon Franko, 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 guests’ needs first and a deep desire to be a great company help make the Wildflower a place where foodies want to be.

How can we help you connect and create shared value?