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Joe Carbonara

Next-Level Leadership

Given that it's December, it's only natural to want to look ahead to the coming year (or even years) to get an idea of what our businesses might look like in the future. Only, that can be a fool's errand.


Juan Martinez

Redefining Service in an Evolving Industry

What is service? How is service evolving? Where is service going? These are important questions that foodservice operators across all industry segments need to ask to thrive in today’s market.


Jerry Stiegler

The Impact of Consumer Preferences on Foodservice Operations, Concepts to Change Formats and Prototypes

Mintel looks at four key trends that will shape the U.S. foodservice market in 2018. Foodservice operators hired heavily in November. Foodservice traffic finally picks up. Dave & Buster’s will downsize its restaurants. Papa Murphy’s tests delivery. These stories and a whole lot more This Week in Foodservice.


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Foodservice Equipment & Design Global Thought Leadership Summit

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The inaugural Foodservice Equipment and Design (FED) Global Thought Leadership Summit brought together the foodservice industry like no other event.

Executives and thought leaders from every channel of the foodservice market — operators, designers, architects, dealers and more — came together for two days of learning, discussion, networking and inspiration at the historic Chicago Athletic Association hotel.

View presentations from the 2016 FED Summit





September 20, Tuesday

Opening Keynote

Design & Consumer Behavior?

Warren Solochek, President, Foodservice Practice, The NPD Group

All in all, the foodservice industry has been conducting business in a one percent world since 2010. Visits to restaurants and other foodservice outlets will increase minimally quarter after quarter, resulting in an average lift in traffic of one percent annually for the next several years. But it’s not all doom and gloom, there are areas of growth, pockets of opportunity and glimmers of hope. It’s a matter of understanding a consumer’s path to consumption: their motivations, the decision-drivers and how you can influence their process. In this session, secrets will be revealed as to what occasions are up for grabs, and how and what can sway consumers along the path to consumption.

View the presentation here

The Marriage of Technology & Design

Mirror Mirror on my phone, which guest deserves the attention drone?

A.J. Barker, Director, Culinary, Concept Kitchen + Bar

Foodservice operators are inundated with new technology solutions designed to improve operations, the guest experience and myriad other service initiatives. However, determining the best and right use of this technology, and its impact on the customer, is an entirely different story. Listen in as Barker breaks down the implications of this new technology and the impact it is having on both customers and foodservice industry representatives.

View the presentation here

Casualties of Foodborne Illness: Dealing with the Unacceptable

Greg Richards, Franke

Each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases--many of them foodservice-related. That’s unacceptable to consumers who are more attuned than ever to food quality and integrity. Other casualties include our businesses’ reputation and livelihood. What can we be doing differently? Greg Richards discusses nontraditional approaches to sanitation that may help overcome longstanding barriers to improved safety.

View the presentation here

Brand Storytelling: What's Technology Got to do With It?

Bob Puccini, Founder & CEO, Puccini Group

Brand storytelling is everywhere and should be used to communicate company values throughout every area of a customer’s interaction throughout any establishment. But what role should technology play in today's hyper-focused technological environment? The answer may surprise you.

View the presentation here

The Future of Hospitality

The Benefits of Sharing

Rob Geile, Vice President, Consultant Services, Ali Group

As foodservice operators, we share to grow. We share our food, we share our products and services and we all share our commitment to this industry. So why not share our expertise, experiences and best practices as well? There is an art to sharing that builds and fosters relationships based on trust and service. For hospitality leaders to grow and continue to take the lead, sharing is an important step in creating the future.

View the presentation here

Virtual Reality in Food & Beverage

Jackson Thilenius, Senior Director, Pulse by Gettys

Virtual reality is everywhere and is impacting almost everything. So, as designers and brand leaders, what can we do to ensure the products and experiences we create deliver something real? The ever-changing course of technology is changing the way we all do business and we all must understand how it is infiltrating our industries. It's about finding the inspiration, innovation and aspiration behind every new world.

View the presentation here

The Evolution of the Commercial Kitchen

Rick Caron, Senior Vice President, Innovation, Manitowoc Foodservice

Where is commercial kitchen design and technology going? From the Frankfurt kitchen design to today’s open concepts, the integration of food, equipment and people is all converging. Some of the building blocks surrounding the foodservice industry's transformation includes an engaged Millennial audience, increased data about how a kitchen operates in real-time and fully integrated equipment.

View the presentation here

Global Citizenry

The New (International) Operational Landscape

Doug Fryett, Founder & President, Fryett Consulting

What, exactly, is a circular economy, and what does it mean for today’s foodservice industry? In this session, Doug Fryett breaks down this new operational model and the interrelationships between all of its parts. The use of this model means the implementation of reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing products and materials. Why should foodservice operators use it? Listen in to discover more.

View the presentation here

How Industry Partnerships Support Global Demands

Jim Lund, Design & Consultant Resource Manager, Rational USA

Globalization is occurring at every level of the hospitality space — from food to technology, equipment and design — making industry partnerships more important than ever, in the U.S. and around the world. This session will define globalization as it relates to each facet of the business and will detail what's in store at micro and macro levels.

View the presentation here

Global Brands, Opportunities for Worldwide Impact

Selim Bassoul, Chairman & CEO, Middleby Corporation

Global brands have the ability to shape the world and the communities in which they operate. It’s about being good stewards and having community-minded businesses. But what does it truly mean to be a global brand focused on philanthropic impact? Discover how companies are leading this discussion and implementing this philosophy.

View the presentation here

Closing Keynote

Beyond Restaurants: Hospitality and Dining in Nontraditional Spaces

Elizabeth Blau, Founder, Blau + Associates

World-class hospitality consultant and restaurateur Elizabeth Blau discusses the growing trend of expanded and premium dining options beyond traditional hotels and restaurants, including arenas, performing arts centers, college campuses and hospitals. Discover how the lessons of hospitality can be applied to new spaces and new experiences.

View the presentation here

September 21, Wednesday

Beyond the Status Quo

War, Love & Leadership

Joe Ricciardi, PhD, Vice President of Operations, Supply and Equipment Foodservice Alliance (SEFA)

Army Colonel Joe Ricciardi’s experiences over three combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq led him to ask, “Does love influence leadership?” His follow-up research has shown that the three factors of love – intimacy, passion and commitment – display a strong positive correlation to leadership. In this presentation, hear about the ways each three can have a long-lasting impact on the energy, enthusiasm and dedication of company teams willing to go beyond the status quo.

View the presentation here

Leading Cultural Change

Steve Maahs, President, Alto-Shaam

How important is a strong culture to your bottom line? Researchers say companies with engaged employees outperform companies without engaged employees by 202 percent. The majority of leaders know that engagement affects their business but less than ¼ of employers have an engagement strategy. Prepare for the future by leading a strategic cultural change that aligns your values and your actions.

View the presentation here

The Strive for Operational Excellence

Christopher Koetke, Executive Director, Culinary School, Kendall College

We all want to be the best and to have the best food service operation. Speaker Christopher Koetke has created a best-in-class foodservice operation at Kendall College and will take the stage to inspire the push for excellence in each of our programs. It takes drive, vision and passion, and the kind of teams that will work to move each and every company forward.

View the presentation here

Closing Keynote

FED Thought Leadership Panel

This session is not one you will want to miss! Gather together to hear from four foodservice industry thought leaders who will give us their take on innovation, leadership and the future of foodservice.

Moderator: Joe Carbonara

Panelists: Elizabeth Blau, Guy Rigby, Dan Henroid

Summit adjourns at noon.


Keynote Speakers


Elizabeth Blau

Founder, Blau + Associates

James Beard Award Nominee Elizabeth Blau is widely credited with transforming Las Vegas into the world-class culinary destination it is today.

A graduate of the prestigious Cornell School of Hotel Management, Elizabeth began her career with famed restaurateur Sirio Maccioni. Elizabeth’s work caught the attention of casino developer Steve Wynn and, as the mogul’s Vice President of restaurant development, she revolutionized Las Vegas dining by attracting award-winning chefs to the groundbreaking Bellagio. In 2004, Wynn again recruited Elizabeth to join Wynn Las Vegas as executive vice president of restaurant development and marketing.

In 2002, Elizabeth founded Blau + Associates, a firm dedicated to creating world-class hospitality experiences. Elizabeth and her group operate three restaurants in Las Vegas —Honey Salt, Andiron Steak and Sea, and Buddy V’s Ristorante at the Venetian Palazzo — as well as a Buddy V’s Ristorante at the Sands in Bethlehem, Pa.


Guy Rigby

Vice President of Food & Beverage Americas, Four Seasons

As Vice President of food & beverage for the last nearly nine years with over 40 properties under his watch and 20 properties under development, Guy Rigby has led a restaurant revolution, redefining the F&B selections, and the design and ambiance of each new outlet.

Guy’s road to a corporate role at Four Seasons began while growing up in England as the son of an accomplished cook and an oenophile. By his own admission, not “cut out” for law school, he excelled at hotel school and saw his hospitality career progress from one F&B position to the next before he became GM of three consecutive Four Seasons properties, Bangkok, New York (The Pierre) and Vancouver. Offered the opportunity to oversee F&B for the Americas, Guy jumped at the chance.


Warren Solochek

President, Foodservice Practice, The NPD Group

Warren Solochek has worked in the food industry for over 35 years. He joined NPD’s foodservice group in 2003 with the responsibilities of overseeing relationships with all CREST® clients. His role at NPD gives him a great deal of insight into today’s foodservice industry issues and trends, and helps him anticipate the issues the industry will face in the future. Warren is also involved in the development of new NPD products and services to address the foodservice industry’s information needs. He is a frequent speaker at key industry events, including COEX, MUFSO, and the CHEERS Beverage Conference.

NPD is the premier source of market information for the food, beverage and foodservice industries, helping companies make fact-based decisions and grow their profits.



A.J. Barker

Director, Culinary, Concept Kitchen + Bar

A.J. is an award-winning Chef-Consultant and Managing Partner of the boutique food consulting agency, Concept Kitchen + Bar. In addition to consultant brand work, Chef Barker works to integrate and on-board technologies in food service and agricultural applications for better community scaling. Chef Barker consults with technology and software communities, agriculture, hospitality and health services industries to design advanced ergonomic and low emissions food service equipment with a zero waste attribute.


Selim A. Bassoul

Chairman and CEO, The Middleby Corporation

Selim Bassoul has led Middleby to tremendous growth through innovation. Under his leadership, Middleby has grown to a $2 billion global company with 60-plus brands and three business platforms.

Featured on the 2016 Nation’s Restaurant News Power List, Selim and his effective, unconventional management style has been featured in The Wall St. Journal, Fortune, Forbes and CNBC. He is The Motley Fool’s “best CEO of all time.”

Central in Selim's life is giving back. In response to the needs of 50 million refugees in the world, Middleby developed an intuitive and affordable stove that can not only cook food and purify water but also charge a cell phone without electricity. The Bassoul Dignity Foundation works to deliver the ovens to refugee camps globally. For his philanthropic work, Selim was honored with the 2016 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the World award.


Rick Caron

Senior Vice President Innovation, Manitowoc Foodservice

Rick Caron is Senior Vice President Innovation at Manitowoc Foodservice. Under his leadership, he led a variety of new product development initiatives which have distinguished the company as a technology leader in the foodservice industry. Prior to Manitowoc Foodservice, he served as Chief Executive Officer of the Moseley Corporation in Franklin, Mass., President and Chief Executive Officer of TurboChef, Inc. and was Managing Director of the Consumer Products Practice at Arthur D. Little (ADL) in Cambridge, Mass. During his 19-year affiliation with ADL, Rick led many consulting assignments involving technology, strategy and product development. In addition, he holds several patents in the foodservice industry, including automated frying and rapid cooking systems. A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rick earned his Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in Chemical Engineering Practice.


Douglas K. Fryett

Founder & President, Fryett Consulting

Douglas K. Fryett is President of The Fryett Consulting Group, a company he founded 1989 after holding several senior management positions in the foodservice industry. The Fryett Consulting Group is unique in its experience, diversity of markets served, international perspective, ability to identify strategic opportunities and successfully address their organizational challenges. Doug’s areas of expertise include business strategy development, market analysis, market research, and “voice of the customer” assessment. He has extensive experience working with boards, CEOs, and senior management teams in organizational change processes and strategy development, and strategy implementation systems. He also is the author of "An Introduction to the Foodservice Industry," and has published articles in several industry-leading magazines.

Rob Geile

Rob Geile

Vice President of Consultant Services, Ali Group

Rob Geile joined Ali Group North America in March 2014. He serves as Vice President of Consultant Services and is responsible for developing and cultivating relationships within the consultant and operator community. Rob provides support globally by helping the Group to expand and deepen its relationships with U.S. consultants who are doing work abroad.

Rob’s accreditations include Board and/or committee positions with FCSI-The Americas, FCSI-Worldwide, NACUFS, SHFM, AHF, ANFP and HTA. Rob Geile holds a B.S. Degree from the University of Central Missouri, is a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP), and Certified Food Service Professional, Level III (CFSP).


Dan Henroid

Director of the Department of Nutrition and Food Services, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center

Dan Henroid is the director of the Department of Nutrition and Food Services at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center. He is responsible for patient meal services at two hospitals, seven retail food operations, catering and conference services, three gift shops, and oversight of inpatient and outpatient nutrition services with combined sales of $15 million. Dan has implemented new programs for cashless payment, mobile ordering, healthy food branding, mobile loyalty and nutritional information on POS receipts and digital signage. Finally, his team recently opened a state-of-the-art, 289-bed women’s, children’s and oncology hospital where he oversees digital signage and the robot fleet.


Christopher Koetke

Vice President, Kendall College School of Culinary Arts and Vice President, Laureate Universities International Center of Excellence in Culinary Arts

Christopher Koetke is Vice President of the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts in Chicago and Vice President of Baltimore-based Laureate Universities International Center of Excellence in Culinary Arts. Since 2011, he has led the strategic direction of Laureate’s culinary arts programs worldwide while maintaining a strong presence at Kendall. An expert on international education, Christopher also has his finger on the pulse of global food, beverage and hospitality trends.

Under Christopher's leadership, Kendall’s School of Culinary Arts was named Cooking School of the Year in 2008 by the Academy of the Culinary Arts Cordon d’ Or – Gold Ribbon. Also that year, the school’s culinary-arts program was named an “exemplary culinary program” by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).

Currently serving as a Conseillèr Culinaire Provincial for the Midwest region in La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs—the world’s oldest international gastronomic society—Christopher also is the recent past chair and continues to serve on the American Culinary Federation Foundation (ACFF) Accrediting Commission. Additionally, he is an active member of the Conserve Action Council of the National Restaurant Association (NRA), ACF, Research Chefs Association, International Foodservice Editorial Council (IFEC) and Les Disciples d’Escoffier.


Jim Lund

Jim Lund, Design & Consultant Resource Manager, RATIONAL USA

Jim Lund has 31 years of experience within the foodservice industry, including the last 8 years at RATIONAL USA in the role of Regional Sales Manager and Area Sales Manager, covering 14 states within the central region, and most recently as the Design & Consultant Resource Manager. Jim studied computer science, economics and accounting before discovering his passion for foodservice. He is now a Certified Executive Chef and an Approved Certification Evaluator by the American Culinary Federation (ACF). He was a 12-year board member and past president of the ACF Minneapolis Chefs Chapter as well as a member of the World Association of Cooks Society. Jim received the Presidential Medallion in 2010 by the National ACF President, Michael Ty.


Steve Maahs

President and Chief Operating Officer, Alto-Shaam

Steve Maahs has led Alto-Shaam since 2007 following his father, the company founder. He began his career at Alto-Shaam in inside sales/customer service, and now with nearly 30 years of foodservice equipment industry expertise, continues to maintain focus on superior internal and external customer service. Under Steve’s leadership, Alto-Shaam sales have more than doubled as the company has pursued a culture of continuous improvement and customer service. Steve attributes much of Alto-Shaam’s growth to actively engaged employees. Alto-Shaam is continuously recognized as a Foodservice Equipment & Supplies “Best in Class” manufacturer and recently received the Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year award.


Bob Puccini

Founder & CEO, Puccini Group

Bob Puccini knows what makes social spaces and restaurants successful. Hospitality brands come to Bob because they know he understands the business from every perspective. Responsible for designing and remodeling over 1,000 restaurants worldwide, Bob translates client goals into winning concepts, earning him a stellar reputation and many long-time clients. Before founding Puccini Group in 1996, he served as Partner and Senior Vice President for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, and served in that capacity for 10 years during their expansion from four to 35 restaurants throughout the United States. Today, Kimpton remains one of Puccini Group’s closest clients. Recognized as an industry expert, Bob is an internationally sought-after speaker and has graced hotel investment conferences from Berlin to Dubai to Istanbul. Bob belongs to the International Society of Hospitality Consultants and the Food Service Consultant’s Society International. He was named the Anti Defamation League’s Food and Wine Industry Person of the year and won the prestigious Platinum Circle award from Hospitality Design in 2006.


Col. Joe Ricciardi, PhD

Vice President of Operations, Supply and Equipment Foodservice Alliance (SEFA)

Joe has an undergraduate degree in economics from the United States Military Academy at West Point, an M.B.A. from Purdue University, a Masters in Strategic Studies from The United States Army War College and a PhD from Benedictine University in Values Driven Leadership.

Joe is a decorated Army Veteran who has served more than 26 years both in the reserves and on active duty. He has deployed twice to Afghanistan and once to Iraq, most recently leading an 1,100-soldier task force responsible for finding and neutralizing improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in southern Afghanistan. Joe’s military awards include three Bronze Star Medals, three Meritorious Service Medals, The Army and Navy Commendation Medals and the Combat Action Badge. He is a graduate of both the Airborne and Air Assault schools. His current Army Reserve assignment is Commander, 303rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Ft Shafter Flats, Hawaii.

Joe resides in Valparaiso, Ind., where he is married to his best friend Kelly and has two children Giuseppe (15) and Giavanna (12). He is the vice president of operations at SEFA, a nationwide network of leading restaurant supply and equipment dealers and manufacturers. Joe has extensive experience in supply chain management, marketing analytics and sales management.

Greg Richards

Greg Richards

Vice President of Business Development, Franke Foodservice Systems

Greg Richards has served as Vice President of Business Development at Franke Foodservice Systems since 2002, where he has contributed to the launch of technology-driven products and services that have expanded the company’s reach into new market segments. He also advises on marketing, branding and communications initiatives. Greg previously served as Vice President-Education for NAFEM, and as Editor in Chief of Foodservice Equipment & Supplies where he helped found several of the magazine’s signature awards and research programs. He is a recipient of the NAFEM President’s Award and the MAFSI Market Mover Award. Greg and his wife Anne are long-time residents of the Chicago area.


Jackson Thilenius

Senior Director, Pulse by Gettys

An accomplished painter and musician, Jackson Thilenius brings a singular artistic vision to his work with The Gettys Group. After running his own successful architectural practice for more than 14 years, Jackson joined The Gettys Group in 2013 to develop PULSE by Gettys, an innovative design organization that creates experiential spaces that inspire social interaction and shared life memories.


Chicago Athletic Association

White-City-Ballroom-1060x600Knowing that we’d be hosting a selection of foodservice, hospitality, and design thought leaders, it was important to select a venue that captured the spirit of the event and provided high design, great food and exceptional customer service.

We chose the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

Built in the 1890s, the Venetian gothic building was a private men’s club until 2007. In 2015, it reopened as a hotel with the building’s original details meticulously preserved and restored, including floor-to-ceiling fireplaces, original chandeliers and light fixtures, mosaic-tiled floors and stained-glass windows.

Two of the hotel’s three restaurants were nominated for the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Restaurant Design or Renovation in North America in 2016. Cherry Circle Room, the hotel’s fine-dining restaurant, took home the honors.


20150602CAA-cindys0011 1200x800-1060x600The other James Beard nominee for Best Restaurant Design, Cindy’s rooftop restaurant and bar, provided the perfect setting for our private party for speakers and attendees.

Fresh, modern and classic all at once, Cindy’s features a domed glass ceiling and a Great Lakes beach house ambiance. An outdoor patio offers a panoramic view of Chicago's skyline, parks and Lake Michigan.

Executive Chef Christian Ragano, former Chef de Cuisine at NoMi, and his team brought modern twists to classic comfort foods at our exclusive after party.

Agenda subject to change. Check back for updates.

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