The National Restaurant Association announced Russ Bendel, CEO of the Habit Burger Grill, will serve as the keynote speaker at the second annual Restaurant Finance Summit.

The event takes place during the 2015 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show  May 18.

The day-long conference connects top foodservice financial executives with Wall Street analysts, investment groups and lenders, and tax and accounting professionals to discuss the financial health of the restaurant, foodservice, and hospitality industry. Bendel opens the event May 18 at 11:30 a.m. to discuss the positive sales and expansion of the Habit Burger Grill, as well as the success of the brand’s IPO last year.

“With Mr. Bendel’s longstanding career in the restaurant industry, he brings a wealth of knowledge about the financial challenges and opportunities that restaurant business professionals face,” says John C. Metz, convention chair for NRA Show 2015 and CEO, Executive Chef, and co-founder of Marlow’s Tavern, Aqua Blue, and Sterling Spoon Culinary Management. “We feel that attendees of the 2015 Restaurant Finance Summit will benefit immensely from hearing about his experiences, passions and perspectives.”

The theme of the 2015 Restaurant Finance Summit is “Strategies for Growth and Liquidity.” In addition to Bendel’s keynote, the Summit will include presentations and panel discussions on topics related to current and projected market conditions, evaluating options and preparing for growth and/or liquidity, a deep-dive into private equity, and stories of success and lessons learned from operators who have been through it.

Before his work with the Habit Burger Grill, Bendel served as president and chief operating officer for The Cheesecake Factory, president and CEO of Mimi’s Café, and president of Roy’s Restaurants. Bendel is also on the board of advisors for the Collins School of Hospitality Management at California State Polytechnic University where he currently serves as its chairman. In addition, he is director emeritus for the California Restaurant Association and served as its chairman from 2009-2010.

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