Restaurant Industry Conference

Annual Conference hosted by UCLA Extension

Important Announcement

Due to the evolving situation on UCLA’s campus, UCLA Extension has made the decision to cancel the 25th annual Restaurant Industry Conference for the safety of our guests and solidarity with the university. We appreciate your understanding as this has been a difficult decision. Registrations will be refunded. We will provide further communications in the coming days.

We are devastated that we are unable to move forward with this year’s conference. We look forward to celebrating 25 years of UCLA Extension’s Restaurant Industry Conference with you in 2025.

If you have any questions, please contact us at and we will address your inquiry as soon as possible. 

Redefining Hospitality: We're Serving Potential

phones taking photos of food above a table

The 25th Annual UCLA Extension Restaurant Industry 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 at the UCLA Luskin Conference Center which includes continental breakfast, luncheon, and evening reception
  • Networking opportunities with leading industry professionals

The Restaurant Industry 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

Thursday, May 2, 2024

8:30am-5:30pm PT
Evening reception to follow

UCLA Luskin Conference Center
425 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095

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)

Early registration (January 8-March 24, 2024): $495
Registration (March 24-April 30, 2024): $550

Group Registration
Registering 5 or more participants? Please contact us for more information on group discounts at

Hotel Room Reservations
If you plan on staying at the Luskin Center the night before the conference, please call 855-522-8252 and mention the Restaurant Industry Conference to reserve your room at a discounted rate. 

Day of the Conference Details
All conference participants will receive a detailed email with important information by April 26, 2024. This email will be sent to the address used for registration and includes parking details (included in your registration). If you didn’t receive this message, please contact to retrieve your coupon code. 

Please note: No on-site registrations will be permitted. You must register and pay prior to attending the conference. Discounts may not be combined. No refunds after April 25.


Please see below for the conference agenda.

7:30 A.M. – 8:30 A.M.

Registration & Continental Breakfast 

8:30 A.M. – 8:45 A.M.

Welcome and Program Overview

Ing Phansavath, Director, Department of Business, Management & Legal Programs, UCLA Extension

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

8:45 A.M. – 9:40 A.M.

Economic Outlook:  A Return to Normalcy or a New Normal?

Speaker: Professor Jerry Nickelsburg, Senior Economist of the UCLA Anderson Forecast and Professor at the UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Business  

9:40 A.M. – 10:40 A.M.

Innovation Award Presentation

Recipient: Joth Ricci, Dutch Bros Coffee, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Adelsheim Vineyard, and Jones Soda Co.

Interviewer: Lauren Bailey, CEO & Co-Founder, Upward Projects

10:40 A.M. – 11:00 A.M.

Networking Break

11:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.

Supply Chain Management, Support for Fiscal Sustainability 

This panel will discuss how supply chain management and specialty suppliers can create value and efficiency below the sales line, within cost of goods sold, and without damaging the Guest experience or brand standards.

Moderator: Rocky Meron, Director of Sales, GreenLeaf a ChefsWarehouse Company 

Panelists: David Kraus, Chief Strategy Officer, Produce Alliance; Scott Sanders, recently retired CEO of Food Buy Speaker and a former National Vice President with Sysco

12:00 P.M. – 12:30 P.M.

Break & Luncheon

12:30 P.M. – 1:25 P.M.

Foodmanitarian™ Award Presentation

Recipient: Lynsi Snyder, President, In-N-Out and passionate philanthropist through Save 2 Nothing Foundation and the In-N-Out Foundation

Interviewer: Robert Wallan, Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

1:25 P.M. – 1:45 P.M.


1:45 P.M. – 2:30 P.M.

Using AI to Build Stronger Customer Connections

As companies learn to use generative AI to create value, there’s a risk that they take the wrong approach when applying the technology to the customer experience. In fact, research shows AI can help boost customer satisfaction when it’s used to offer customers more personalized solutions or to help human employees provide better service than they would without the technological assist.  Learn how to use this new technology to delight customers in new and different ways. 

Speaker: Maureen Burns, Bain & Company

2:30 P.M. – 3:15 P.M.

Dynamic Pricing Demystified: A Peek at the Future

A panel of restaurant executives from fine dining to quick service take the mystery out of what dynamic pricing really is – and isn’t. The use cases of dynamic – or simply – variable pricing range from charging a premium for a specific table in fine dining to issuing a discount via personalization at a kiosk in quick service. 

Moderator: Tammy Billings,, New Business Development Advisor

Speakers: Alex Eagle, CEO, Freebirds World Burrito; John DiLazarro, CFO, Innovative Dining Group; Daniel Lee, CTO & CMO, Flame Broiler

3:15 P.M. – 3:35 P.M.


3:35 P.M. – 4:30 P.M.

The Takeaways On Takeaway

Moderator: Chris Webb, CEO, ChowNow

Panelists: Briana Valdez, Founder and CEO, HomeState; Sean Reiter, Director, Brand revenue, The Melt; Sam Bernstein, Founder & CEO, Table22

4:30 P.M. – 5:30 P.M.

Control What You Can Control:  Founders’ Perspectives  

Moderator: Rahul Aggarwal, Managing Director, Brentwood Associates

Panelists: Jason McGowan, Founder and CEO of Crumbl Cookies; Chris Simms, CEO and Founder, Lazy Dog; Steve Salm, CEO, PLANTA

5:30 P.M. – 7:30 P.M.

Evening Reception

Man standing with blue shirt

2024 Innovation Award Recipient

Joth Ricci, former CEO of Dutch Bros Coffee, Adelsheim Vineyard, and Stumptown Coffee Roasters

Joth served Dutch Bros as president, chief executive officer and Board Member from January 2019 - January 2024 where he led the company through a 5 year strategic growth plan and IPO in September of 2021. In is career, Joth has led several founder-built companies including Adelsheim Vineyard, Stumptown Coffee and Jones Soda.

In addition to his leadership in the beverage industry, Joth is the past Chairman of the Oregon Business Council, served on the State of Oregon’s Racial Justice Council and co-founded TASTE for Equity. He also serves on the Oregon State University Food Science Advisory Council and is Vice Chairman of the Children’s Institute. Through his work with the System, Joth is dedicated to mentoring and advising boards, organizations, leadership teams and individuals on culture, personal and organizational development, strategic planning and training.

woman standing new cart

2024 FoodmanitarianTM Award Recipient 

Lynsi Snyder, owner of In-N-Out Burger, and director of philanthropic efforts through the In-N-Out Burger Foundation and the Slave 2 Nothing Foundation

Lynsi Snyder's grandparents, Harry and Esther Snyder, founded In-N-Out Burger in Baldwin Park, California, in 1948, and to this day, the business remains privately owned and operated. As president, Lynsi is passionate about maintaining its focus on quality and service, including caring for the well-being of the In-N-Out family of more than 30,000 employees. Lynsi also leads In-N-Out's philanthropic efforts: the In-N-Out Burger Foundation and the Slave 2 Nothing Foundation. 

Thank You to our Sponsors


Moss Adams


Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Dine Brands

In-N-Out Burger




Enlightened Hospitality Investments

CohnReznick LLP

Piper Sandler & Co. 


Marsh McLennan


Nation's Restaurant News


Tractor Beverage Co.



Become a Sponsor

To become a sponsor visit our sponsorship page or contact us at

Restaurant Conference Committee

UCLA Extension extends gratitude to the Restaurant Industry Conference Committee.

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

Daryl Ansel, Director of Hospitality, Presidio of San Francisco

Damon Chandik, Co-Head of Consumer Investment Banking, Piper Sandler & Co

David E. Goldstein, Chief Operating Officer, Sharky's Woodfired Mexican Grill

Justine HunterPartner, Restaurants National Practice Leader, Moss Adams

Michael Patrick, Client Executive & Private Equity Practice, Marsh McLennan

Sarah Grover, Principal, Sarah Grover, Inc

Lauralynn Rogers, Executive Director, Internal Audit, Dine Brands Global

George Mooradian, Executive Director Investment Banking, Morgan Stanley

David Birzon, CEO, Snooze, an AM Eatery

Safwan Shah, Founder and CEO, Payactiv

Contact Us

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