Here's a guide to the must-see sessions at the restaurant industry's influencial spring showcase from May 20-23. 

Featured Sessions: 

2023 Keynote Speakers

New York restaurateur Danny Meyer and Slutty Vegan owner and CEO Pinky Cole will be the Keynote speakers at this year’s National Restaurant Association Show. As restaurant visionaries and entrepreneurs, they will break down their strategies for building an empire, giving back to the community, and turning passion into profit. 

Meyer is the founder, former CEO, and current executive chairman of Union Square Hospitality Group (ushg). He is the mastermind behind a multitude of New York’s most successful dining institutions, such as Shake Shack and North End Grill. 

In 2021, Meyer introduced USHG Acquisition Corporation to build and invest in companies that matched USHG’s “employees first” and “enlightened hospitality” values. This is where Slutty Vegan’s Pinky Cole enters the picture. 

Cole is taking the restaurant industry by storm with her Slutty Vegan empire. From humble beginnings in Atlanta to $4 million in revenue within the first six months of its grand opening, Slutty Vegan is a force to be reckoned with. Cole believes in the power of philanthropy and helping others climb the ladder of success in tandem with her own. 

Additionally, the Association’s president and CEO Michelle Korsmo will speak on the Association’s work to advance the foodservice industry.


  • Danny Meyer
  • Pinky Cole
  • Michelle Korsmo 


Sunday, May 21, 2023 | 2 p.m.


Grand Ballroom, S100

New York Restaurateur Danny Meyer And Slutty Vegan Owner And CEO Pinky Cole

New York restaurateur Danny Meyer and Slutty Vegan owner and CEO Pinky Cole

Featured Session with Technomic:

Chart Your Course: Traversing What’s Next for the Restaurant Industry 

The future of the restaurant industry is volatile. Join Technomic, Winsight Media, and top industry operators on a deep dive into the future of labor, menu trends, innovation, industry growth, and more. 

The audience will get to choose which topics are covered. Participants will be encouraged to lead the way, ask questions, and allow industry leaders to give insight on pressing issues. 


  • Technomic
  • Winsight Media

Where: Grand Ballroom, S100

When: Monday, May 22, 2023 | 1 p.m. 

Saturday, May 20 

How to Set Your Beverage Program Apart from the Crowd

Learn how to make your beverage program sparkle from the owners of Bronzeville Winery, a sought-after destination in Chicago that blends hospitality with art and culture. 

Who: Cecilia Cuff and Eric Williams, Owners at Bronzeville Winery

Where: The Beverage Room Stage, Lakeside Center, 11155

When: Saturday, May 20, 2023 | 10 a.m.-10:30 a.m.

Are Robots Really the Future of Foodservice? Realities and Opportunities of Robotic Kitchens

How can automated robotic kitchen systems help with labor shortages, improve employee safety, optimize food quality, improve inventory management, and boost customer satisfaction? Learn how in this educational session. 


  • Gunpil Hwang
  • CEO at Aniai

Where: Innovation Theater, North Hall, 5572

When: Saturday, May 20, 2023 | 11:30 a.m.-12 p.m. 

Igniting Passion & Commitment of People in Today’s Climate with Practical Benefits, Resources, and Approaches to Win

Seasoned c-suite and HR executives weigh in on their practical strategies for implementing programs that ignite passion in people to solve today’s challenges. Learn how operators are winning to attract, retain, and engage their network. 


  • Rachael Kelly, Former Chief People & Culture Officer at Smokey Bones
  • Larry Ryback, CEO at Jim N Nicks
  • Mandy Monk, CPO at True Food Kitchen
  • Steve Abigail, Brand Officer at Tasty Chick’n

Where: Education Super Center, South Hall, 2778

When: Saturday, May 20, 2023 | 12 p.m.-12:30 p.m. 

Stepping Over the Edge: How Web3 is Changing the Landscape of Restaurants

Learn how web3 technologies are changing the face of the restaurant industry through NFTs and the metaverse. These huge technological shifts are presenting opportunities for restaurants to create a more interactive and engaging experience for customers.

Who: Skip Kimpel, Principal of Independent & SMB Consulting at ConStrata Consulting

Where: Education Super Center, South Hall, 2778

When: Saturday, May 20, 2023 | 1:30 p.m.-2 p.m.

Quick and Effective Ideas to Boost Your Bar Business, From the Women Who Run the Bar

Join members of Badass Bartender, one of the fastest-growing Facebook Groups for women bartenders, in an explosive discussion swirling around topics such as increasing bar traffic, generating profits, and growing customer loyalty. 

Where: The Beverage Room Stage, Lakeside Center, 11155

When: Saturday, May 20, 2023 | 4 p.m.-4:30 p.m. 

Sunday, May 21 

Navigating the Ever-Changing Regulatory Landscape of Alcohol Sales

With alcohol-related laws progressively becoming more complex and varied, it’s more important than ever to keep up with them. ServSafe experts and operators share ways to get ahead of the competition and offer guests responsible alcohol service. 

Who: Trevor Estelle, VP, ServSafe Alcohol & Regulatory Services at National Restaurant Association 

Where: The Beverage Room Stage, Lakeside Center, 11155

When: Sunday, May 21, 2023 | 10 a.m.-10:30 a.m. 

Menu and LTO Trends that are Boosting Business

Join Technomic and other industry leaders for a journey into the world of limited-time offers and other menu tactics that are engineered to generate buzz, no matter the demographic. Learn about predictive menu trends that will remain relevant in the coming years.


  • Ana Maria Rodriguez, Chief Food Innovation & Quality Officer at Pizza Hut Global
  • Lizzy Freier, Director, Menu Research & Insights at Technomic 

Where: The Culinary Experience, Lakeside Level 3, 10448 

When: Sunday, May 21, 2023 | 10 a.m.-11 a.m. 

What’s Now, What’s New and What’s Next for Adult Beverage 

Learn from experts at Technomic about what’s trending and what’s on its way out the door from a panel of leading operators. 


  • Donna Hood Crecca, Principal at Technomic
  • Rachael Lowe, National Director of Beverage at Levy Restaurants

Where: The Beverage Room Stage, Lakeside Center, 11155

When: Sunday, May 21, 2023 | 11 a.m.-11:45 a.m. 

Demystifying Marketing: Tech Hacks to Grow Sales and Pinpoint What’s Working 

Buckle up for an interactive discussion displaying success stories from restaurants that have tapped into their marketing superpowers through simple tech hacks. Learn how these restaurants have built cost-effective marketing programs that amplify traffic and revenue. 


  • Brendan Sweeny, CEO and Co-founder at Popmenu
  • Kat Johnson, Director of Marketing & Communications at Chai Pani Restaurant Group
  • Tony Roy, COO and Co-founder at Popmenu

Where: Innovation Theater, North Hall, 5572

When: Sunday, May 21, 2023 | 11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. 

Brazilian Foodservice Outlook and What It Could Mean for the Rest of the World 

As the fifth-largest foodservice market in the world and the third in food production, Brazil is expected to grow at an unprecedented pace. But what does this mean for global operators? Experts weigh in on consumer trends that are driving expansion and the strategies that operators are utilizing to meet the surge in demand.


  • Cristina Souza, Founder and CEO at Gouvea Foodservice 
  • Eduardo Bueno, Head of Research and Intelligence at Mosaiclab 

Where: Education Super Center, South Hall, 2778

When: Sunday, May 21, 2023, 12 p.m.-12:30 p.m. 

Harnessing Technology to Streamline Your Restaurant Operations 

In this economy, it is vital for restaurants to streamline their operations. Evaluating new technology solutions early on is crucial for this process, and this educational session will feature speakers that are well-versed in future-looking strategies to grow revenue and boost efficiency. 

Where: Innovation Theater, North Hall, 5572

When: Sunday, May 21, 2023 | 12:30 p.m.-1:15 p.m. 

The Power of Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs help tap into consumer culture and can offer key nuggets of information that can be infused into business campaigns to grow restaurant traffic—but how are they optimized? Discover how restaurants are launching loyalty programs that stick, whether that be from a 360 approach or from custom social content. 

Who: Nathan Casey, Executive Director, CRM, Loyalty, Digital Ecommerce at IHOP 

Where: Education Super Center, South Hall, 2778 

When: Sunday, May 21, 2023 | 1 p.m.-1:30 p.m. 

Monday, May 22

Leveling Up Your Bar & Restaurant Spaces: Design Principles that Can Help Expand Your Audience, Elevate the Customer Experience, and Increase Your ROI 

Meet with design experts to learn ways to boost revenue through restaurant and bar layouts. Creating a space that is both functional and pleasing to the eye is a surefire way to attract guests, increase engagement, and increase check averages. Experts weigh in on design principles that can elevate your space, no matter the budget. 


  • David Ashen, President & Founder at dash design
  • Keith Halfmann, President & CEO at Endurance Management Group
  • Kristin Cullen, Design Director — F&B Studio at dash design

Where: The Beverage Room Stage, Lakeside Center, 11155

When: Monday, May 22, 2023, 10 a.m.-10:30 a.m. 

Build Your Dream Team with the Right Tech 

Re-imagining ways to hire and retain staff does not just stop once the employee is in the door. Join tech experts and industry leaders in a discussion on using better management techniques, transparency, and the right technology to craft a more productive team. 


  • Caitlin Riemensnider, Sr. Client Success Manager at SpotOn
  • Emma Blecker, Chief of Staff & Director of Business Systems at Boqueria Restaurants 

Where: Innovation Theater, North Hall, 5572

When: Monday, May 22, 2023, 10 a.m.-10:45 a.m. 

Reckoning With Employee Health & Wellbeing 

It is now paramount to dial in on employee health and wellbeing. Many employees left the industry in search of a better work-life balance, and left restaurants with the task of creating a more balanced atmosphere for their staff. This session explores methods and strategies focusing on addressing employee health and wellness issues in the workplace.


  • Deborah Popely, Associate Professor and Chair of Hospitality Management at Kendall College
  • Leigh Uhlir, Dean at Kendall College at National Louis University 

Where: Education Super Center, South Hall, 2778

When: Monday, May 22, 2023 | 12 p.m.-12:30 p.m.

More Than Lit: The Art of Crafting Culturally Relevant Menus to Engage Sophisticated Diners 

As culture shifts push diners to become savvier, restaurants need to pace-match to avoid losing guests and loyalty. This interactive discussion explores ways that operators can leverage collaborations with non-traditional vendors to create new dishes, as well as recognize food trends that are well-adjusted to today’s customer profile. Attendees will also learn about the impact that BIPOC diners have on restaurant culture. 


  • Darnell Reed, Chef/Owner at Luellas Southern Kitchen
  • Kenneth Polk, Executive Chef/Partner at Batter & Berries
  • Chloe Gould, Executive Chef/Owner at DixiePura Kitchen
  • Erika Durham, Project Lead at Bronzeville Community Kitchen 

Where: Education Super Center, South Hall, 2778 

When: Monday, May 22, 2023 | 2:30 p.m.-3 p.m.

Transforming Your Online Food and Delivery Business

Explore the latest tools in next generation online food ordering and delivery that can help create more visibility for your business and boost sales.


  • Joe Reinstein, Executive Director at Digital Restaurant Association
  • Mike Murphy, Head of Industry, Restaurants at Google

Where: Innovation Theater, North Hall, 5572

When: Monday, May 22, 2023 | 3 p.m.-3:45 p.m. 

Investing in People: The Secret Sauce to Hiring & Retention 

When time is short and money is tight, knowing how to leverage your resources to bring in and keep top talent is a necessary skill. This panel is being held by the National Restaurant Education Foundation and incorporates both employers and foodservice employees. Together, they will share the secret sauce to nurturing impactful careers in hospitality. 


  • Abby Sands, Director of HR at Chook Charcoal Kitchen
  • Alex Velez, Executive Chef at Redfire Grill & Steakhouse
  • Daniela Fernandez Quispe, Kitchen Manager at Chook Charcoal Kitchen
  • Edward Walden, Director, Professional Advancement at National Restaurant Educational Foundation 

Where: Education Super Center, South Hall, 2778

When: Monday, May 22, 2023 | 3:15 p.m.-3:45 p.m.

How to Build and Sustain a Profitable Off-Premises Catering Business 

Find the gaps in your current catering strategy through this educational session and learn how to close them. In this session, catering experts will weigh in on exactly what it takes to organize and execute a successful catering business.

Who: Jim Rand, Operating Partner at Act III Holdings 

Where: Education Super Center, South Hall, 2778

When: Monday, May 22, 2023 | 4 p.m.-4:30 p.m.

Reimagining Advertising: How to Break Through the Social Media Noise and Create Authentic Viral Moments

Sit down with marketing leaders as they pull the covers off and share the secrets to effectively leverage social media, create authentic viral moments, and remain agile in an organic way.


  • Jae Goodman, Founder at Observatory
  • Joel Yashinsky, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Applebee’s 

Where: Innovation Theater, North Hall, 5572

When: Monday, May 22, 2023 | 4 p.m.-4:45 p.m.

Tuesday, May 23 

Restructuring a Restaurant’s Relationship with Gen Z

While Gen Z’s buying power continues to grow, they are dining out less than millennials, according to The NPD Group. Join this educational session for a deep dive into the psyche of Gen Z, how their relationship to restaurants has changed, and how restaurants are restructuring to win this generation over. 


  • Graham Humphreys, CEO at The Culinary Edge
  • Nikki Freihofer, Associate Director, Strategy at The Culinary Edge

Where: Innovation Theater, North Hall, 5572

When: Tuesday, May 23, 2023 | 10 a.m.-10:45 a.m.

The Role of Cultural Competency in Hospitality Sales and Staffing


  • Renee Sykes, Regional Director, People & Culture at Sage Hospitality Group – Ritz-Carlton, Chicago
  • Tyronne Stoudemire, SVP of Global DE&I at Hyatt Hotels

Where: Education Super Center, South Hall, 2778

When: Tuesday, May 23, 2023 | 10:30 a.m.-11:15 a.m. 

Love at First Like: How to Leverage Social Media to Gain IRL Customers

Limited resources? Lack of expertise? No problem. This educational session will show you how to keep up with the trends of social media marketing in a cost-efficient, effective way. Learn how to win customers over through social media and build brand affinity. 

Who: Jennifer Kaminski, Managing Director at Social Thinkking & 2 Korean Girls 

Where: Education Super Center, South Hall, 2778 

When: Tuesday, May 23, 2023 | 12 p.m.-12:30 p.m.

The State of Labor in Foodservice and Solutions to Move the Industry Forward

Recruiting and retaining staff is still the foodservice industry’s Achilles’ heel. Join experts as they break down data, discuss strategies to strengthen recruitment and retention, and share ideas on how the foodservice industry can move forward to improve these issues. 


  • Denise Herrera, Vice President Of Culinary at Burtons Grill & Bar
  • James Griffin, Professor, College of Hospitality Management at Johnson & Wales University

Where: Innovation Theater, North Hall, 5572

When: Tuesday, May 23, 2023 | 12:30 p.m.-1:15 p.m.

Culinary Demonstrations

Culinary Demonstrations

Are you ready to witness culinary excellence live on stage? This year’s National Restaurant Association Show hosts cooking demonstrations by restaurant pioneers, disruptors, and imagineers. Be sure to stop by: The Culinary Experience, Lakeside Level 3, 10448 

Lauren Von Der Pool Chef, Entrepreneur, and Philanthropist 

When: Saturday, May 20, 2023 | 12 p.m.-12:45 p.m.

Brian Duffy Chef, TV Personality, and Hospitality Consultant 

When: Sunday, May 21, 2023 | 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. 

Sean Sherman Founder/CEO The Sioux Chef, Co-Owner Owamni by The Sioux Chef 

When: Monday, May 22, 2023 | 12 p.m.-12:45 p.m. 

Miguel Trinidad Chef, Restaura teur, Author, Owner Jeepney and Maharlika, Co-Founder 99th Floor NYC Catering 

When: Tuesday, May 23, 2023 | 12:00 p.m.-12:45 p.m.

Events, Feature