Our industry is ever-changing and we want to help you stay current with up-to-date information on emerging trends, best business practices and professional development, all while exchanging experiences and making meaningful connections with your peers. Do this and much more at the IDEA ZONE, where express presentations will be made all three days of the EXPO. IDEA ZONE sessions are free with your EXPO registration. Read on for what’s in store…

IDEA ZONE Schedule

Saturday, August 5

Lessons Learned from my Mother—Hurricane Ella
12-12:45 p.m.
Co-author of Miss Ella of Commander’s Palace, Ti Adelaide Martin spent recent years capturing the oral history of one of America’s most prolific restaurateurs—her mother, Ella Brennan—and the subject of the book. Brennan broke through the glass ceiling before the term was coined and daughter, Martin, had a front row seat to the evolution of her mother’s success and notoriety in the industry. In this session, Martin will share her mother’s philosophies on hospitality, community relations and family bods that have shaped her into the woman and restaurateur she is today.

How to Design a Menu that Puts Money in Your Pocket!
1-2 p.m.
Your menu is the single most important tool your restaurant has to make sales. David Scott Peters, founder of and educational speaker, will discuss the components of a successful menu and showcase results other restaurant owners have achieved by implementing his tips for success.

Is Your Restaurant “Going to the Dogs?”
2:15-3 p.m.
Are you seeing an increase in furry, four-legged customers? Michelle Anderson with Fisher Phillips helps guide business owners through the complicated issues associated with public accommodations for people with service dogs. Find out the dos and don’ts of dealing with a customer and their canine companion, and what legal rights you have to avoid a hairy situation.

Sunday, August 6

Are You Catering Current Cool?
12-12:45 p.m.
Caterers who are creative and stay current are definitely more profitable. How certain are you that what you're offering your customers isn't "catering outdate?" If chafers, black plastic trays or staff in bow ties appear in your catering offerings, then it is time for an update. In this session, Sandy Korem, owner of The Festive Kitchen, a Dallas-based catering company that has experienced sales growth every year for 25 years, shares the ins and outs of the benefits of by staying on top of trends, including staying ahead of the competition.

Today's Word-of-Mouth: Online Reputation Management for Your Restaurant
1-1:45 p.m.
In 2016, some reports show as high as 90 percent of people are reading reviews before spending money and it’s critical that your restaurant is protecting its reputation online. Join Main Street Hub's Emma Vaughn for this session and you'll leave with these takeaways: how to respond to negative reviews; how to combat falsehood online; how to spread MORE word-of-mouth and get more reviews.

Restaurant Technology that Works for You
2-2:45 p.m.
Time is money and the use of technology can either help or hinder the time you spend running your restaurant. Join Rosie Atkins of Upserve to learn the tools to make an informed tech decision, from transitioning smoothly with a new system, cloud-based or networked, to looking into the future of restaurant technology.

Secrets to Holding your Management Team Accountable
3-4 p.m.
David Scott Peters, restaurant coach and founder of, will diagnose restaurant owners with “commonsense-itis” when they think their managers should just know how to do things because it’s “common sense.” But the definition of common sense clearly states it’s a shared understanding based on experience. But most times, managers don’t share the owner’s experiences and don’t possess their same core values. They will not automatically do things the way a restaurant/bar owner wants. But the good news is there is a way to teach them.

Monday, August 7

Slipping into Distraction
10:30-11:30 a.m.
Slips and falls represent the LRA SIF’s greatest frequency and severity of workers’ compensation claims, as nearly 60 percent of its members have experienced this type of accident in their workplace. Victor Balbuena, LRA SIF VP of Loss Prevention, will explain the top causes and what employers need to do to prevent workplace slips and falls. This session offers sound solutions to reduce your risk of workplace slip and fall accidents.


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