The National Restaurant Association (NRA) Marketing Executives Group (MEG) has announced its line-up of speakers for its spring conference, May 15-17, which takes place annually in Chicago prior to the start of the National Restaurant Show. The conference, which takes place at the Westin Michigan Avenue, is $495 per person for NRA members, $995 non-members, and includes all meeting materials, meals and breaks with a special nightly conference rate available for attendees at the Westin Michigan Avenue.
The three-day event features an array of industry influencers and tastemakers, proven leaders and consumer behavioral experts. Branding and social media trailblazers will also be on hand to share their knowledge and expertise with attendees.
This year’s Industry Keynote Speaker is Harald Herrmann, brand president of Yard House Restaurants. Attendees will get a first-hand account and behind-the-scenes look at the Yard House brand and how it grew from a single location along the Los Angeles coast to 45 locations. Named a Hot Concept! by Nation’s Restaurant News more than a decade ago, last year Yard House made headlines as one of the most newsworthy restaurant brand acquisitions.
Additional speakers include:
Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst and vice president of The NPD Group who will provide some insight into the Eating Patterns in America. The NPD Group has been tracking the eating and drinking patterns of Americans for nearly 30 years.
Wendy Clark, senior vice president, Integrated Marketing Communications and Capabilities of The Coca-Cola Company, and her team have a leading industry voice and will speak on how this international brand has fully embraced digital to redefine consumer engagement in the SoLoMo revolution.
Clarice Turner, senior vice president, Starbucks US, Clarice oversees the US retail operations and leads a $3.5 billion business of corporate and licensee-owned locations. She pioneered “Starbucks Evenings,” the brand’s new wine, beer and small plates innovation. Her presentation will help inspire new business opportunities for her audience as she shares her compelling story on innovative marketing.
David Witt, director, Global Digital Marketing and Brand PR of The Hershey Company, will share valuable insights and tactics on building online networks of brand advocates.
Jeff Fromm, co-author of The Millennial Consumer and Millennial Passions: Food, Fashion and Friends, will reveal what it is that makes Millennials unique, what tools to use to evaluate Millennial marketing, and models for creating guest engagement. Jeff is also executive vice president of Barkley.
Jeff Harvey, president and CEO of Burgerville, who will share how Burgerville has defied conventional perceptions of what it means to be a quick-service restaurant by being at the forefront of sustainable business practices that go well beyond trendy catch phrases. Their motto, Serve With Love, has guided every business decision Burgerville has made.
Erik Wahl is an artist and motivational speaker will unleash the creativity from within showing attendees new ways in which they can make their organization more creative, innovative and profitable.
Adrienne Weiss, founder of her own namesake company, will illustrate how a company’s voice makes them standout from their competitor. Her session will challenge attendees to find the voice of their brands and shout it from every brand touch point.
Kicking off the three-day event is an opening dinner and reception at the Westin Michigan Avenue on Wednesday, May 15. The conference closes with an evening cocktail party on Friday, May 17. To learn more about MEG’s spring conference, go to www.restaurant.org.