Feb 25 - 28, 2024
FoodOvation #36
Commercial Exchange

The 36th 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


Kathie Manirath , Product Development Manager
Cecilia Serrano, Senior Category Manager

7-Eleven, Inc. is an American convenience store chain, headquartered in Irving, Texas and owned by Japanese Seven & i Holdings through Seven-Eleven Japan Co., Ltd. The chain was founded in 1927 as an icehouse storefront in Dallas. It was named Tote’m Stores between and 1946. After Ito-Yokado, a Japanese supermarket chain and the parent company of
Seven-Eleven Japan, acquired a 70% stake in the company in 1991, the company became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Seven-Eleven Japan in November, 2005.

Buffalo Wild Wings

Ben Newlin, Culinary Product Development Manager

Award-winning Buffalo, New York-style wings in your choice of 26 sauces and
seasonings. 2019 was full rebrand with inspire so still have a lot of changes happened


Carrie Stojack, VP Brand Insights and Culinary Innovation

Since our humble beginning in 1968 as a general store in Boone,
Iowa, Casey’s has steadily grown from the heart of one community to the next. Today,
we serve communities across 16 states in more than 2,400 store locations. Yet our
focus will never waiver from being the friendly face who brews your first cup of coffee
to greeting you with a smile on your last stop after work. While we continuously aim to
create innovative services and offerings, we’ll always stay true to making life better for
our communities and guests every day.

Checkers & Rally's

Ryan Joy, Sr. Director, R&D and Culinary
Andrew Ruga, Corporate Chef

Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc., is a chain of double drive-thru
restaurants in the United States. The company operates Checkers and Rally’s
restaurants in 28 states, and the District of Columbia. They specialize in hamburgers,
hot dogs, French fries, and milkshakes.

Chili's Grill & Bar

Brian Paquette, Director of Culinary Innovation

Chili’s Grill & Bar is an American casual dining restaurant chain.
The company was founded by Larry Lavine in Texas in 1975 and is currently owned and
operated by Brinker International.

Elevate Entertainment

Jeff Mann, VP of F&B

As an Inc. 5,000 Fastest Private Growing Company and the
nation’s leading and largest operator of cinema entertainment centers, the Elevate
Entertainment Group portfolio of brands includes EVO Cinemas, EVO Entertainment,
Elevate Rewards, ShowBiz Cinemas, Times Square Grand Slam, and Violet Corwn. The
organization offers a broad slate of activities including movies, bowling, games, and
attractions like climbing walls, virtual reality, ropes courses, and bumper cars. Guests
can enjoy refined food and beverages from their scratch kitchens and bars while
immersing themselves in a variety of entertainment options for everyday fun.

Farmer's Fridge

Matea Couture, Planning and Procurement Manager
Kyle Markt, Head Chef

We decided to solve that problem by creating a network of smart Fridges, designed to make
finding fresh & healthy meals as simple as vending a candy bar. Today, we have more than
1,000 Fridges all over the country in airports, hospitals, office buildings, universities and


Rick Petralia, Director, Menu Strategy & Innovation

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers® was co-founded in 2002
by brothers Bill and Randy Simon with their friend and business partner, Scott Redler. It
was named in honor of Bill and Randy’s father. Together, they built a brand focused on
quality, hospitality, cleanliness and timeless traditions.
• Quality
• Hospitality
• Cleanliness
Today, our Freddy’s Family creates fresh, made-to-order, craveable food, served to our
guests with genuine hospitality in a fun, inclusive environment.

Freebird's World Burritos

Chris Larsen, Director of Culinary

For over 30+ years, we’ve served Texas-inspired Monster sized
burritos, salads and bowls and Texas inspired recipes with “It’s Your World Service,”
which is why we are known as Texas’ No. 1 Burrito

Gala Capital Partners

Tim Miller, VP of Supply Chain
  • Rusty Taco
  • Mooyah
  • Dunn Brothers

Golden Corral

Daryll Mickler, VP of Food and Beverage

Golden Corral® offers a legendary, endless buffet at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. From our home-style menu favorites to signature sirloin steaks to seasonal promotion specials, there are always new menu items to explore. Lunch and dinner includes our all-you-can-eat soup and salad bar, signature yeast rolls, and homemade desserts, along with soft-serve ice cream and our famous carrot cake. Our great value for a good price makes Golden Corral a favorite family restaurant among adults and kids alike. Golden Corral’s unmatched variety accommodates most all nutrition needs such as low carb, vegan, paleo, and plant-based diet plans. To go and delivery available. A free, private party room is available for large groups and special occasions at every Golden Corral location. The Only One For Everyone®. Learn about our history, who we serve, how we give back, and our mission to deliver a pleasurable dining experience for families across America.


Johnny Yoo, Senior Chef, Menu Strategy & Development

For more than 65 years, IHOP has been a leader, innovator and expert in all things breakfast, any time of day. The chain offers 65 different signature, fresh, made-to-order breakfast options, a wide selection of popular lunch and dinner items, including Ultimate Steakburgers, Hand Crafted Melts, Burritos & Bowls and more. IHOP restaurants offer guests an affordable, everyday dining experience with warm and friendly service. As of September 30, 2022, there are 1,756 IHOP restaurants around the world. IHOP restaurants are 100% franchised by affiliates of Dine Brands Global, Inc.

Jersey Mike's

James Field, Head of Innovation
Kevin Riddle, Vice President of Supply Chain

At Jersey Mike’s, we offer a sub above – one that’s measured in more
than inches or seconds ‘til served. We carefully consider every aspect of what we do – every
slice, every sandwich, every store – we provide our customers with sustenance and
substance too. Here’s how we do it: Jersey Mike’s Subs – About Us (


Claire Brandenburg, Manager, Food Innovation
Nathan Clayton, Manager, Food Innovation

It all began with the man, the myth, the legend himself. In 1930, in a humble service station in Corbin, Kentucky, 40-year old Harland Sanders began feeding hungry travellers. Sanders spent the next nine years (now that’s dedication) perfecting his secret blend of 11 herbs and spices, as well as the basic cooking technique we still use today. There are now over 24,000 KFC outlets in more than 145 countries and territories around the world.


Steve Sandmann, Product Manager

Discover the endless possibilities in our selection of quality lunch
meats and cheeses. Short on time? Pick up a few made-to-order deli sandwiches to go.
Try a few olives from our cheese and olive bar. Or sample the deliciousness at home.
We have lots of ways to shop. You can explore inside the store. Try fast delivery. Or
choose to pick up. Discover our complete deli variety today!

Logan's Roadhouse

It’s a welcome rest for the hardworking rooted in American tradition. A laidback, “come as you are” kind of place where you can crack open a cold one and enjoy steakhouse quality meat in the comfort of jeans
and a t-shirt. It’s where the atmosphere is lively, beer is served ice cold, rolls are made-from-scratch and are endless, steak is grilled over real mesquite wood… the way it was meant to be and genuine hospitality is part of the DNA. There are no strangers at a Roadhouse, only friends.

McLane Fresh

Farley Kaiser, Sr. Director Culinary Innovation
Jeremy Reinicke, Corporate Chef

Our mission is to make it easy for you to provide the high-quality, fresh food and beverage
options your customers want while eliminating pain points and barriers to entry on your end.
These McLane Fresh programs will increase foot traffic and profitability in your stores.
Large part of business at McLane Fresh are independent c-stores that can’t brand their own
pizza. McLane can do that – building brands under the McLane fresh umbrella to provide to
• CupZa
• Central Eats
• Prendisimo
Different from others that do this – full turnkey solution start to finish – work with
equipment in the bundle – so you can get the pizza solution, the equipment, marketing etc.
Broke down the ROI for all clients.
Also have chemical sanitation program – partnered with Ecolab and others for each food
section solution.

Papa Murphy's

Carron Harris, Sr, Director of Culinary

As the franchisor of the largest Take ‘n’ Bake pizza brand, we aim
to provide our guests with unparalleled service, quality, and innovation so they can
create the best at-home meal experience. We also believe that pineapple belongs on
pizza. In fact, we believe whatever you want on your pizza belongs on your pizza!

Playa Bowls

Nicolle DuBose, Chief Marketing Officer
Marisa Austin, Head of Sourcing & Supply Chain

What began as a pair of blenders, a patio table, and a fridge has
flourished into over 200+ stores, thousands of employees, and a mission to lead
communities in healthy, sustainable living.

Pret A Manger

Mark Thomas, VP of Food & Coffee
Freida Hirsch, Sr. Food Innovation Manager

Pret A Manger is a sandwich and coffee chain commonly referred to as Pret and based in the United Kingdom. The first shop opened in London in 1986. Pret’s sandwiches, salads and wraps are freshly made each day in shop kitchens using quality ingredients and all coffees are 100% organic. Pret currently has more than 550 shops and operates in the UK, US, Hong Kong, France, Dubai, Switzerland, Brussels, Singapore, Germany and Canada.

Taco John's

Brad Bergaus, Director of Menu Innovation
Brando Tijerina, Sr, Manager of Quality Assurance
Joshua Klemz, Purchasing Manager

Taco John’s International, Inc. is an American fast food restaurant. The chain
serves Mexican-inspired fast food as well as the company’s signature dish, Potato Olés, which are
bite-sized deep-fried potato nuggets coated with a proprietary blend of spices and seasonings.

Taylor Farms

Cris Cunningham, Product Development & Culinary
Missy Trotter , R&D Chef
Priscilla Jackson, Product Development & Culinary
Angie Parman, Product Development & Culinary

Taylor Farms supplies many of the largest supermarket chains and
foodservice restaurants in the United States.

TGI Fridays

David Stadtmiller, Sr. Director Global F&B Innovation

As the world’s first casual bar and grill, TGI Fridays® is the birthplace of fun, freedom, and celebration, bringing people together to socialize and experience “That Fridays Feeling™” – a sense of celebrating the fun in everyday moments, big and small. For over 50 years, Fridays® has been lifting spirits around the world with nearly 700 restaurants in 52 countries, serving high-quality, classic American food and iconic drinks backed by authentic and genuine service. Visit for more information and join Fridays Rewards®. Follow us on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.


Today, Wawa is your all day, every day stop for fresh, built-to-order foods, beverages, coffee, fuel services, and surcharge-free ATMs, and Boundless Convenience™. A chain of more than 950 convenience retail stores (over 750 offering gasoline), Wawa stores are located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, and Washington, D.C. The stores offer a large fresh food service selection, including Wawa brands such as built-to-order hoagies , freshly brewed coffee , hot breakfast sandwiches , built-to-order specialty beverages , and an assortment of soups, sides and snacks .

How can we help you connect and create shared value?