Signature ’19 surveys tomorrow’s dining landscape

Keynote session ponders impacts of evolving consumer demand

What trends are most likely to have an impact on restaurant operators? Leaders representing critical industry segments will tackle the where, when, what and how aspects of that question at Signature ’19, this year’s not-to-be-missed keynote session, on Sunday.

With National Restaurant Association President and CEO Dawn Sweeney moderating, the session promises a lively conversation involving representatives from some of the most innovative restaurants, convenience stores and grocery operations. This year’s participants include leaders who are creatively addressing consumer demands and succeeding by adopting bold new business strategies.

Joining Sweeney on the Grand Ballroom stage will be:

• John Cywinski, president of Applebee’s Bar & Grill. The chain is one of the world’s largest casual-dining brands, with 1,830 locations and a presence in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and 13 other countries as of March 2019.

• Randy Edeker, chairman, CEO & president of Hy-Vee. Edeker is a 38-year veteran of the company, which is an employee-owned chain of more than 245 supermarkets across the Midwest. Hy-Vee, with a promise of “a helpful smile in every aisle,” consistently ranks among consumers’ favorite grocery chains.

• Chris Gheysens, president & CEO of Wawa, a chain of more than 840 convenience stores located in six states and Washington, DC. Wawa is known for its fresh food and award-winning coffee.

• Tim McEnery, CEO of Cooper’s Hawk. McEnery founded the company at the age of 29 and has grown it into a competitive retail operation generating nearly $280 million in annual revenue with 35 restaurants and an award-winning winery.

Signature ’19 provides a rare big-picture glimpse into the future of dining across the entire foodservice landscape. “With the rapid changes happening today in foodservice, everyone—no matter what business they run—has to know where the industry is headed and who is becoming their new competition,” says Mary Pat Heftman, president of the Restaurant Show Group, National Restaurant Association Show at Winsight LLC. “With the growth of third-party delivery, the rise of c-stores and grocery stores in prepared foods and the incredible innovation taking place across all food outlets, there will be a stark difference between what dining looks like today and tomorrow.”

Sunday’s panel is the only place where attendees can hear from this impactful group of trailblazers about rapidly developing trends that are shaking up foodservice, how convenience and grocery stores are disrupting the prepared-food landscape and where the opportunities are to leverage these changes.

The Show offers a number of opportunities to understand the trends having the most impact on restaurants and consumers. Future-focused programming includes the SuperSession: The Future of Restaurants (Monday at 11:00 a.m.), Creating a Beverage Menu for the Future (Monday at 10:00 a.m.), Future Proofing Your Restaurant Technology (Monday at 2:00 p.m.), Future of Fast-Casual Restaurant Design (Monday at 3:00 p.m.) and more.

Signature ’19 kicks off at 2:00 Sunday in the McCormick Place Grand Ballroom. It’s open to all registered show attendees, exhibitors, and media, with seating on a first come, first-served basis.


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