Restaurant Executive Conference

Annual Event hosted by Business, Management and Legal Programs at UCLA Extension

24th Annual Conference

phones taking photos of food above a table

What's the Future?
Recovery, Reinvention, Renewal

UCLA Extension’s Annual Restaurant Executive Conference is a one-day conference which provides a unique, non-competitive forum for restaurant owners and executives. Programming includes the insights of industry experts, with opportunities to learn, network, and be inspired.

This conference is ideal for restaurant owners and operators, service industry professionals, lawyers and real estate developers.

What you can expect:

  • Attend high-quality keynote presentations and panel discussions to learn the latest trends and practices surrounding restaurant industry issues 
  • Speakers include top industry professionals
  • Convenient, day-long format held on the UCLA Campus which includes continental breakfast, luncheon, and evening reception
  • Networking opportunities with leading industry professionals

The Restaurant Executive Conference is a “must attend” event, featuring world-class speakers and deep insight on the most significant industry trends and issues. Spanning a single day, it's perfect for busy executives to catch up with peers while learning the latest thinking on critical industry concerns.

Anna M. Graves
Conference Chair; Partner & Co-Leader of the Restaurant, Food & Beverage Group, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
Anna Graves Restaurant Conference Chair

Join Us

dining room

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

8:30am–5:00pm PT 
Evening reception to follow

Covel Commons, UCLA Campus
Los Angeles, CA

This conference is ideal for restaurant industry operators, owners, investors, supply chain, and professional advisors; labor experts (attorneys, staffing companies, and HR professionals); technology companies (restaurant automation and technology); and real estate (developers, commercial leasing agents)

Registration: $495

Register Now

Please note: No on-site registrations will be permitted. You must register and pay prior to attending the conference. 

Covid Safety Protocols
Recommended Covid Safety Protocols will be followed. Participants will receive more information the week of the event via email. You may also visit our Covid Protocols page for more information. 


7:30-8:30 A.M.

Registration & Continental Breakfast

8:30-8:45 A.M.

Welcome & Program Overview

Roger Torneden, Director of Business, Management and Legal Programs, UCLA Extension
Anna M. Graves, Conference Chair, Partner and Co-Leader of the Restaurant, Food & Beverage Industry Group, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

8:45-9:30 A.M.

Economic and Business Forecast for the Restaurant Industry

Speaker: Jerry Nickelsburg, Adjunct Full Professor of Economics and Director UCLA Anderson Forecast, UCLA Anderson School of Management

9:30-10:15 A.M.


Speaker: David Birzon, CEO, Snooze, an AM Eatery

10:15-10:45 A.M.

Networking Break

10:45-11:30 A.M.

The Fast Act and Other Legislative Perils

Speaker: Jot Condie, President, California Restaurant Association

11:30-11:45 A.M.


11:45 A.M.–1:00 P.M.

Luncheon and Foodmanitarian™ Award Presentation

Foodmanitarian™ Award Presented to Maggie Baird, Founder and President, Support and Feed
Interviewed by: Jason Eisner, Co-Founder of Wolfie's Hot Chicken, Block Party and Party Beer Co.
Award presented by: Roger Torneden, Director of Business, Management and Legal Programs, UCLA Extension

1:00–1:25 P.M.


1:25-2:05 P.M.

Conscious Capitalism

Speaker: Safwan Shah, CEO and Founder, PayActiv

2:00-3:00 P.M.

Digitalization Panel

Speakers: Jill Marchick, VP, Consumer Insights & Business Analytics, Applebee's, Diego Panama, Chief Revenue Officer, Olo, Abhinav Kapur, Founder, Bikky, Ross Epstein, SVP of Product, SafeGraph, Daniel Dreymann, Chief Product Officer, Agot AI
Moderated by: Mike Lukianoff, Data Science Entrepreneur 

3:00-3:25 P.M.

Networking Break

3:25-4:15 P.M.

Hot Concepts Panel

Speakers: Pinky Cole, CEO/Founder, Slutty Vegan, Kim Malek, Founder and President, Salt and Straw, Peter Phillips, CEO and Co-Founder, Chip City
Moderated by: Mark Leavitt, Co-Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Enlightened Hospitality Investments, Union Square Hospitality

4:15-5:00 P.M.

Innovation Award Presentation

Innovation Award Presented to Sam Fox, Founder Fox Restaurant Concepts and Author & Edit Hospitality
Interviewed by: Lauren Bailey, CEO & Co-Founder, Upward Projects
Award presented by: Eric A. Bullard, Ph.D., Dean, Division of Continuing Education and UCLA Extension

5:00-6:30 P.M.

Evening Reception


Parking will be available at one of the UCLA Campus parking structures. Please check back for more details. 

For a map of parking structures, visit UCLA's transportation website. Please allow for a 5-10 minute walk from most parking structures to Covel Commons. We are also working on securing shuttle service to/from a parking structure.

For more direct access to the conference venue, you may wish to consider using a rideshare service or public transportation.

The UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center is located about 1/2 a mile from Covel Commons on campus. The 254 beautifully-appointed guest rooms are precisely what one would expect from a fine hotel. We have secured a special conference rate should you wish to book a room there. More information will be provided with your registration confirmation or feel free to contact us with any questions. 

Sam Fox

Innovation Award Recipient

Sam Fox, Founder, Fox Restaurant Concepts and Author & Edit Hospitality

This year’s Innovation Award recipient is Sam Fox, the Phoenix-based restaurateur and founder of Fox Restaurant Concepts who has been nominated 11 times for the James Beard Award as Outstanding Restaurateur.

Maggie Baird

Foodmanitarian™ Award Recipient

Maggie Baird, Founder and President of Support + Feed

Maggie Baird is the visionary behind Support and Feed as well as a long time vegan who is passionate about plant-based eating, helping people in need, and working to end the climate crisis. Maggie is an outspoken advocate for the “greening” of the music industry from the impacts of touring and merchandise to photoshoots and video production etc. Maggie offers expertise in the mission’s subject matter and is the spokesperson for Support + Feed with an active and engaged audience ready to get involved in supporting the cause.


Thank You to our Sponsors


Dine Brands


Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP


Deloitte & Touche, LLP

B. Riley Securities

Piper Sandler

Plate IQ

Results Thru Strategy

Marsh McLennan

US Foods

Media Sponsor

Nation's Restaurant News

Wine Sponsor

Louis Latour


Become a Sponsor

To become a sponsor visit our webpage or contact us at

Contact Us

Speak to a program representative. Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm.
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