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National Restaurant Association - 2017 Archive

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Events & Groups

2017 Archive


The National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Innovation Summit is thrilled to announce Richard Blais as the 2017 keynote speaker. Blais is a successful chef, restaurateur, James Beard nominated cookbook author and television personality. Perhaps most recognizable as the winner of Bravo's Top Chef All-Stars and regular Food Network judge, Blais graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and trained at The French Laundry, Daniel, Chez Panisse, and el Bulli.

With Trail Blais, his forward-thinking culinary company, Blais has consulted on, designed, and operated popular eateries including multiple outposts of Flip Burger Boutique. In San Diego, where he currently resides, Blais is a partner of the popular Juniper & Ivy and Crack Shack restaurants, which will be expanding to 4 locations in the coming months.

Blais' second cookbook, So Good, was released in May, and his new television show, Man vs Master, will debut on the FYI Network later this year.



Wednesday, October 25

10 a.m.  Registration Open
Noon - 12:45 p.m. Lunch
12:45 p.m. - 1 p.m. Welcome - Perry Quinn, SVP, Business Innovation Development, National Restaurant Association
1 p.m. - 2 p.m. Keynote - Predictions from Richard Blais
2 p.m. - 3 p.m. Automation and Robotics
  Operators have seen success with the implementation of automation and robotics. While important to have historical perspective, this session will focus on what areas have seen success and look to future opportunities that will drive step-function change in business.
3 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Networking Break
3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Cashless America
  While the adoption of contactless payments hasn't caught on like Apple and Google had hoped (yet), consumers and merchants are coming around to the idea that going cashless could be beneficial for business. Our panelists are focused on creating a customer-first journey from discovery to payment. Hear how they used real customer behavior data to inform their decisions and implemented their cashless models.
4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Artificial Intelligence (AI) + Chatbots
  Artificial Intelligence is moving from super-science fiction to super practical application. Learn from progressive companies, both inside and outside the restaurant industry, on how they've navigated AI - and more importantly, where this is headed.
5:30 p.m. Day 1 Wrap-Up
6 p.m. - 8 p.m. RIS Live! presents BMI band Jomo & The Possum Posse
  Best known for the viral video series "Guy On A Buffalo," Jomo & The Possum Posse made a name for themselves with their unique blend of cynicism, dead-eyed soul and anti-machismo honky-tonk. Bandleader Jomo Edward's award-winning lyrics tend to skate the line between the sardonic and the arcane. Since its inception in 2009, the band has established itself as one of the most talented, ridiculous and cerebrally entertaining lives acts around.

Thursday, October 26

8 a.m. - 9 a.m. Breakfast
9 a.m. - 9:10 a.m. Day 2 Welcome
9:10 a.m. - 9:40 a.m. Food Innovation
  Smith works with many of the world's largest food, health, and CPG companies to challenge their assumptions and identify emerging trends and discontinuities that will transform the global marketplace and global food system. Smith is a frequent public speaker, facilitates food innovation workshops, and equips a vast network of global food changemakers with the foresight necessary to start making better futures today. As a designer, Smith helps people imagine new stories about the future of food by creating artifacts from the future, which provoke public imagination about what kind of futures we really want to live (and therefore, eat). Smith has been featured in National Geographic's The Plate, The Washington Post, Vice Munchies, Business Insider, and many other food publications. She draws her experience in a range of disciplines - international studies, graphic design, creative writing, and the foodservice industry - to explore how emerging technologies and social practices will change the way people and communities seek and create well-being.
9:40 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Food Innovation Panel
  Join us for a dynamic discussion centered on the key disruptive trends impacting the food industry, with particular focus on what's happening in foodservice. Our distinguished panel of industry experts will examine current, and also anticipated trends, challenges and areas of innovation opportunities for foodservice operators in this rapidly changing and evolving marketplace. Expect an engaging innovation-focused discussion with experts representing various parts of the foodservice value chain.
10:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. Networking Break
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. New Concepts from Virtual Restaurants to Grocerants
  Disruption is coming not just from new trendy restaurants concepts, but by business owners thinking differently about how consumers want to enjoy their dining experiences. Some restaurant operators are doing away with the dining room completely and going "virtual," others are leveraging grocery stores for broad distribution, and some grocery stores themselves are launching foodservice concepts. These experts will share their experiences launching new concepts, what worked, and what to do differently.
11:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Actionable Analytics
  Big data has moved beyond a buzz term to a lifeline for making immediate and long-term business decisions. Learn how operators are using big data sets that weren't previously available to make surgical decisions around marketing, inventory, staffing, and traffic growth. 
12:30 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. Lunch
1:15 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. Biometrics, Recognition and Privacy
  The increased consumer demand for convenience combined with the pressure on labor costs is creating the need for a more efficient way to authenticate the consumer journey. Part of that need includes biometrics being used for recognition. With new technologies comes new forms of PII (personally identifiable information) and the responsibilities to keep that safe - sometimes even before guidelines have been put in place. In this session, we discuss lessons learned and what is coming (very quickly).
1:50 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. Networking Break
2:15 p.m. - 8 p.m. Apple Austin Campus Trip
  Join us for an exclusive event at the Apple Austin campus for a hands-on evening with the world leader in design and innovation. You will hear about how Apple and iOS are transforming restaurant and foodservice business. You will then have the opportunity to experience first-hand the latest apps and technology from top mobility partners - Appetize, Connect, LightSpeed, MenuPad, Paytronix, PlanDay, Punch, Revel, Sage and Touch Bistro.
2:15 p.m. - Buses board
2:45 p.m. - Buses depart for Apple
3:30 p.m. - 6:45 p.m. - Apple Briefing and Partner Showcase/App Discovery
6:45 p.m. - Buses board for hotel
8 p.m. - Arrive at hotel - Dinner on your own

Friday, October 27

8 a.m. - 9 a.m. Breakfast
9 a.m. - 9:05 a.m. Day 3 Welcome
9:05 a.m. - 9:35 a.m. State of the Industry
9:35 a.m. - 10 a.m. Internet of Things (IoT) Futurist
  Higginbotham has been covering technology for major publications for 15 years. She is an expert and influencer when it comes to the internet of things and technology in general. Her work has appeared in Fortune (where she was Senior Editor), MIT Tech Review, Gigaom and Worth magazine. She has a bi-monthly column on the smart home in PCMag called "Get Smart with Stacey" and is also co-host on This Week in Google.
10 a.m. - 10:10 a.m. Break
10:10 a.m. - 11 a.m. Internet of Things (IoT) Discussion
  The promise of IoT to connect all things on the planet is near reality. We invite futurists in the space to help the restaurant industry dream about how much we can improve the customer experience, the team experience, and production efficiency. 
11 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. The Future of Food
  Frank is a successful technology entrepreneur turned investor in Ag & Food Tech. He founded and serves as the General Partner of FTW Ventures, a leading early-stage venture fund investing in disruptive innovations for our food system. Frank will speak on the future of food, from farm to table and beyond.
11:30 a.m. Closing Remarks


National Restaurant Association members are entitled to discount registration. Eligible members must complete registration with the email address listed in their member record. To verify your membership, contact membership@restaurant.org

National Restaurant Association

National Restaurant Association



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208 Barton Springs
Austin, TX 78704

Located on the shores of Lady Bird Lake, the Hyatt Regency Austin allows you to easily explore the best of the area, like SoCo and Sixth Street entertainment district. Cross the Congress Bridge, home to over a million bats, and you will be just steps away from the Austin Convention Center and Texas State Capitol. The permier event space includes 45,000 square feet of state-of-the-art meeting space, including the 17th Floor Foothills Ballroom with sweeping skyline views and the 14,000 square foot Zilker Ballrooom.









225+ innovation-focused restaurant operators gather every year for the annual Restaurant Innovation Summit. Our sessions give an in-depth look at how restaurants are reinventing the hospitality experience for their guests. Here's a look at why you should be at this year's most innovative event.



January 2019

Events Location Date Type
Side Work and the FSLA Tip Credit: New Labor Department Guidance online January 23 Webinars

March 2019

Events Location Date Type
Nutrition Study Group Meeting Fort Lauderdale, Fla. March 13-14 NRA Events

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