Innovation is born out of collaboration-and what better place to come together than the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort? The “no worries” vibe of the oceanfront resort allowed senior execs from the nation’s leading restaurant chains to explore innovations in development, design, construction and operations.
“Excellent! I had an enjoyable time and some great conversations with peers,” said Jeff Little, SVP of Development at Del Taco.
High-energy talks from former Chairman & CEO of Yum! Brands David Novak, Buffalo Wild Wings Chairman James Damian, and &pizza CEO Michael Lastoria provided inspiring “food for thought” for attendees. “RestaurantSpaces was the perfect marriage of legacy brands along with new emerging concepts, plus awesome networking,” said David Cornell, Director of Construction at Pizza Pizza, Canada’s largest pizza chain.
“This event exceeded my expectations and the keynote speakers were fantastic. It's limited size compared to most events really allowed for stronger networking,” said Paul Rittenberg, Director of Real Estate & Development at Just Salad.
Destination-appropriate networking opportunities, including a cooking competition, surfing lessons and a Luau on the beach, allowed attendees to connect in a relaxed environment. “I always love the candid conversations, and getting to know people on a personal level,” said Andy Schillig, National Director for Business Development at Visual Graphic Systems.
Echoing praise came from Christopher Collins, Principal at Nvironment, who said: “I loved the quick pace and high energy, I had a great time. I made quite a few new contacts and reconnected with prior relationships.”
The opportunity for one-on-one facetime between decision makers laid the foundation for meaningful connections. David Morris of Krispy Kreme said: “I have been to other conferences in the past where you might meet with 30 suppliers, but this was much more effective with 7-8 suppliers and more time. The suppliers in attendance covered a lot of the pain points we have and there was great insight into how other industry veterans operate and improve their brands.”
Jeff Simpson, Director of Design & Construction at The MCrowd Restaurant Group, said “The chance for networking with other restaurant groups was incredible. I never felt pressured, most likely due to the relaxed setting that was created by the staff.”
Participants left the inaugural retreat recharged with fresh approaches to some of their biggest challenges.