GGRA Announces Updated Industry Conference Programming

The Golden Gate Restaurant Association (GGRA) announced the full program for its 2nd Annual Industry Conference, April 11 to April 12 at the Bently Reserve in downtown San Francisco. Attendees can choose from Business Programming or Chefs Professional Development. Tickets are now on-sale online.

This year’s theme, “San Francisco Bay Area: Forging the Future of Dining,” will highlight San Francisco as a longstanding culinary trendsetter. The conference brings together thought-leaders to share best practices related to the challenges and opportunities vexing the industry, and benefits the GGRA’s Scholarship Foundation. 

Business Programming will provide tactical and inspirational insights on how to deal with issues like rising costs, labor laws, food safety, the labor shortage, and more. While the reprise of the Tipping Point panel (reflecting upon Union Square Hospitality Group’s experience) is a highly anticipated session, the State of the Industry and Public Policy Update led by GGRA’s Executive Director Gwyneth Borden is equally compelling, given the explosive growth of restaurants in the current era of escalating costs. The moderated discussion with key City leaders, including the Mayor’s Homeless Czar, Sam Dodge; the director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, Todd Rufo; and San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener, will cover the topics of homelessness, affordable housing, transportation, and cost of doing business. Attendees will also hear from the California Restaurant Association on state issues like the cocktail tax and the proposed bartender training certification. 

“San Francisco restaurants have always been at the forefront of innovation in how the industry operates, driving advancement in hospitality while dealing with a unique set of challenges,” says Borden. “The Industry Conference serves as a safe place to learn, ask questions, and share successful strategies.”

The Chefs Professional Development Series (presented by TriMark Economy Restaurant Fixtures) will demonstrate practical skills for those working in restaurants. Classes include: 

Foie Gras 101 with Chef Jack Mancino of Hudson Valley Foie Gras

Making the Cut with Chef John Fink of The Whole Beast

Sushi Skills Seminar with Chef Takatoshi Toshi of Sushi Ran

Sharpening Flavor Memory with Chef Gordon Drysdale of Scoma’s 

Additional presenters include Drew Nieporent (Myriad Restaurant Group), Sabato Sagaria (Union Square Hospitality Group), Dennis Leary (Pleiades Restaurant Group), Larry Stone (Lingua Franca Wines), Stuart Brioza (State Bird Provisions & The Progress), David Lawrence (1300 on Fillmore and Black Bark BBQ), Russ Stein (Mozzeria), and many others. See addendum (below) for full list of presenters. Below is a list of additional panels 

The tipping point: a year later. Continuing the discussion about tipping practices.

The alternative to full-service restaurants: why “quality casual” may be San Francisco’s new normal.

Impact of global warming on your menu & bottom-line.

Industry of opportunity. Examining unique and diverse hiring practices and the employment crisis.

Redefining the cocktail: how to elevate your beverage program and drive revenue with a limited liquor license.

Food safety: top risks and how to protect your restaurant

Payment processing and EMV technology: exploring the landscape.

Labor lessons 101: a refresher on the important labor laws that every restaurateur must know: healthcare, meal breaks, rest periods, paid sick leave and more.

How to navigate rising commercial rents.

Your brand is your backbone: holistic approaches to managing your restaurant’s brand. 

Two-day tickets are $150 (GGRA restaurant members) & $200 (non-member restaurants), and $275 (GGRA vendor members) & $550 (non-GGRA vendors). Single day tickets are available at $90 (restaurant members) and $110 (non-member restaurants). Conference passes include access to keynote speeches, business panels, demonstrations, coffee and pastries, lunch, and a networking reception. 

The Chef Professional Development Series is priced separately at $25 per class (restaurant members), and $35 per class (non-member restaurants). All classes qualify as Continuing Education credits by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).

The conference will benefit the Golden Gate Restaurant Association Scholarship Foundation, a 501(c)(3), established to encourage, and provide assistance for individuals who wish to further their education in pursuit of careers in the foodservice and hospitality industry. Since 1968, the GGRA Scholarship Foundation has awarded annual tuition assistance to Bay Area students seeking higher education in the culinary and hospitality field.

In addition to tuition scholarships, the GGRA Scholarship Foundation also contributes funds every year to the San Francisco Unified School District’s Career Technical Education Department. These funds go directly to pay high school juniors and seniors for summer internships in the industry.

News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by WTWH Media LLC.