Session Descriptions

Dive deeper into each session by checking out the session descriptions.

Friday, May 1st

The Future of Food
Presented by Mike Lee

This talk will examine the consumer behaviors and innovations that are shaping the Future of Food, and their implications on foodservice businesses today and tomorrow. The Future Market tracks 16 macro trends in food that are disrupting every part of the supply chain, from farm to fork. We will explore a selection of the most salient trends that are shaping how foodservice producers and consumers will need to operate into the next decade.  We will also examine the mindset of 21st Century Eaters and how their needs and values are shaping our food landscape. Using the three key value lenses of the 21st Century Eater—experience, sustainability, and health–we will explore what the future of food and foodservice might look like and how companies need to use logic, emotion, storytelling, experience, and flavor to create the foodservice experiences of the future to serve an increasingly demanding eater.


Recruiting & Retaining Employees
Presented by Brad Wilson

Making your firm attractive to clients and employees is an intertwined and interdependent exercise. This presentation will show you how other small firms are winning the war for talent and great projects at the same time. Given their very busy schedules, many firm principals struggle in allocating time between pursuing work and pursuing and retaining talent.  Brad’s experience and empirical data show that the firm that handles these two competing priorities best consider them to be a single function. 


Connectivity in Commercial Kitchens/Challenges and Opportunities
Presented by Kathleen Seelye, FFCSI (PP)

Most of today’s discussions about connectivity are centered on data and primary operations recording, such as food safety, recipe development and processing specific to individual pieces of equipment or limited inter-connectivity of data usage.  This session will concentrate on the actual control characteristics, needs and approaches necessary for standardization and platform development that will join the restaurant operator with building and energy management systems in meeting financial, sustainable, energy efficient, and labor reduction goals.  Through a discussion of global developments in IOT and AI of governmental and corporate policies affecting connectivity, including movement toward smart cities, smart buildings, and maximization of smart utility infrastructure and renewable energy, attendees will glean the complexities of a truly connected commercial kitchen. It will also demonstrate the leadership opportunities that FCSI Worldwide can take toward developing common global standards in conjunction with our manufacturing industry peers, clients and policy developers. 


Open Breakout
Presented by TBD


Who’s the Client in the Camp of Players?
Presented by Karen Malody, FCSI, Teri Kidwell, David Kutsunai, Todd Griffith, and Russ Benson

Projects today have many players, so much so that it can become challenging to stay focused on the client. But is there just one client? With multiple constituents – and often not all on the same page – how do consultants today know they are truly benefiting the end user? Especially if the end user is not paying for the consultant’s work directly. In fact, who is the real end user? This session will take a look at best practices for navigating the mine fields of diverse opinions, especially when the person writing the consultant’s paycheck might be the least agreeable to the consultant’s views. A design consultant, an MAS consultant, an operator, and an architect will join together on a dynamic panel to address frequent obstacles and approaches to managing them to a successful outcome.


Video Marketing – You Ought to be in Pictures
Presented by Erik Haviland

Video shorts and clips are the new norm when it comes to marketing.  With so much text heavy emails, video can capture the attention immediately to promote your message.  Come join us as we walk you through how easy it is to film and publish short videos using cameras and mobile devices to market yourself and your firm.


Understanding LEED 4.1 & WELL Requirements for Commercial Kitchens
Presented by Kip Serfozo, FCSI, LEED AP+ID&C, WELL AP and Suzanne Painter-Supplee, LEED AP+ID&C, TRUE Advisor

What are the new LEED 4.1 credit characteristics that impact kitchens and how do LEED and WELL work together in a foodservice operation?

Commercial kitchens often cause design teams to lose important points in LEED 4.1 or WELL. This session will focus on strategies to achieve these tough credits as well as design concepts that encourage behavior change, support sustainable operations, and promote health and wellness programs.


Emergency Preparedness… Saving Yourself !
Presented by Ken Schwartz, FCSI and David Hensel, FCSI

Ken Schwartz and David Hensel of SSA have witnessed first-hand the destruction of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the evacuation of their own offices amidst a hurricane threat in Tampa in 2018.  Katrina resulted in over 1,800 fatalities and a financial loss of $125 billion. Hurricane Sandy paralyzed the east coast in 2012 and Puerto Rico is still recovering from the effects of Maria in 2017. The tornadoes of middle America and the wild fires of California are the catastrophic type of emergencies we all see in the news but never really think about how to prepare to save ourselves should they hit close to home.

This session will provide a glimpse into the reality of a natural disaster’s power and destruction and the aftermath and numerous misconceptions about what occurs for the months and years following. Join Ken and David as they share some real-world insights to help you prepare yourself, your firm, your team and your clients.


Saturday, May 2nd

General Session
Presented by TBD


Help Wanted: Managing Labor Issues
Presented by Juan Martinez, PhD, PE, FCSI

Automation is coming – for some, it’s already here.  In the meantime, until it becomes  mainstream, restaurants still have to manage labor challenges.  This session will address many questions you may have about labor in the foodservice industry – How do you determine how much labor you really need? How do you schedule labor? How do you manage a shortage of labor resources? How do you manage labor dynamically – as the business shows up?… or doesn’t! 


Explore New Channels of Distribution
Presented by Tara Bliss & Tarah Schroeder, LEED AP

We are starting to see new channels of distribution in the industry or ways that operations can increase sales with less cost. These new channels are due to the increase in snacking, use of mobile phones, higher labor costs and labor shortage, and overall high construction costs to satisfy the “I Want It Now” culture. The new channels of distribution include expanded order/pay, delivery, new vending, micro-markets/mini-kiosks, and expanded grab-n-go.


Deep Dive – Strategic Planning Workshop Note: this is a 2-part workshop
Presented by Kathleen Held, CPSM, and Katie Petrovich, CPSM

A strategic plan can help set the groundwork for a successful year by establishing goals that align with your company’s overall strategic plan and can provide measurable results for your strategic efforts.

Whether you’re just getting involved in the process or you need some helpful tips to refresh your current strategy, this session is perfect for you. Join us for an in-depth look into the strategic planning process and learn how you can prepare, create, and deploy a strategic plan that will help set your company up for success.


Putting on Your Own Oxygen Mask First
Presented by Peter Shankman

Designed for today’s startup culture, Peter leads an engaging and truly needed conversation on the world of the startup-entrepreneur, and how it could secretly be killing you. Entrepreneurship is an exciting road, but a lonely one, as well. In this honest and open talk, Peter shares his successes, his failures, and what he needs to do every day to make sure he stays on track, and doesn’t wind up imploded on the side of the road.  

Check out this exciting session and take advantage of these valuable take-aways:

  • Five must dos each morning that equate to success
  • The top ten habits of repeatedly successful entrepreneurs
  • How to take care of your brain and body in eight minutes per day
  • Why being open about what you do is actually more beneficial than not sharing
  • How to build your trusted support system

Automation, Robots, & the Eye in the Sky
Presented by Joseph Schumaker, FCSI

In this session we will explore what is possible in the future and what is available today in the fields of robotics and automation.  We will discuss and present participants with useful and actionable information on things they can implement in their consulting practices and push the envelope in what is possible in commercial kitchens today and into the future.  From time and temperature sensors in the ceiling to dishwashing and coffee robots, we will push the envelope and get you thinking about what is next in our industry. 


Building Relationships: The Cornerstone of Success
Presented by Kristin Sedej, FCSI

Kristin Sedej, FCSI has spent her entire career in the foodservice industry and has achieved many accolades along the way, including FE&S magazine’s Top Achiever Award in 2014.  Kristin is co-owner of S2O Consultants and credits her many successes to strong client and colleague relationships.  Kristin feels that those strong relationships, Industry involvement, and networking within FCSI have allowed her to foster collaborations, win clients, and help build her business. She’s excited to share her story with you!


Are You Leaving Money on the Table? – Alternate Revenue Roundtable
Presented by Ken Schwartz, FCSI and James Camacho, FCSI

Fees are Fees are Fees, right?  Are you maximizing all of the services you offer to your clients?  Design Fees and Management Fees are great but there are other ways to increase revenue (legally and ethically) within your firm.  James and Ken will be there to kick off the discussion with their success stories but come prepared to share your stories as well. Join this interactive session and walk away with a wealth of information (see what we did there?)


Consulting and a Glass of Beer
Presented by John Reed, CEC, CCA, AAC, Certified Cicerone

Take a walk into the brewery. Join John Reed as he discusses the design needs and operational concerns regarding craft beer. Along the way, attendees will receive a better understanding of new and emerging craft beer styles and even sample some of the local brews.


Closing Keynote – The Economy of the Next 50 Years will be Run by the Customer Experience
Presented by Peter Shankman

The days of begging for likes are over. The customer economy is all about doing likeable things. As the network gets smarter and smarter, it’ll know your favorite places before you do, and share those with the world – when the world is looking. So if your friends are looking for a restaurant in New York City, and you live there, it’ll show them the places you hangout, automatically, because logic suggests that if you go there a lot, you like the place, and your friends usually like what you like. What does this mean for your business? It means that it’s time to start focusing on the customer experience – Without that, no amount of advertising, marketing, or SEO will save you. Join Peter as he shares his thoughts on:

  • The five rules of the customer economy
  • Why speed matters
  • How to stay “top-of-mind” in every customer’s mind, from beginning to end
  • How millennials, as well as Generations Z and Alpha are consuming content, and how you can get in front of them