LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - Mar 23, 2015) - UCLA Extension will host the 19th Annual UCLA Extension Restaurant Industry Conference on Thursday, April 16 at UCLA Covel Commons. The all-day conference, themed Restaurant Realities: Making it Real...Getting It Right, focuses around the state of the hospitality industry, trends, leadership, strategy influence, and operational excellence in the restaurant industry.

Kevin Reddy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Noodles & Company, will receive the 2015 Innovation Award. Past recipients of this prestigious award include Chef Thomas Keller, Dr. Tim Ryan of the Culinary Institute, and Chef Jose Andres. The award presentation will take place during the luncheon.

Held on the UCLA Campus, this all-day program is designed for top-level, forward-thinking executives seeking fresh perspectives and new approaches to the business challenges, locally and global.

"Our goal with this year's conference is to explore major influences that are currently shaping the restaurant industry. We will explore how we can focus on issues related to fairness, transparency and accountability when dealing with employees, customers," said the conference chair Anna Graves, partner and co-leader of the Restaurant, Food & Beverage Industry Group, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP. "We've put together an incredible group of people both on the stage and behind-the-scenes that will offer insight and a glimpse into the future of where the industry is headed."

The conference offers sessions with well-known industry leaders who focus on such topics as Embracing Opportunities, the Importance of Public Relations and Marketing, Private Equity Investing in Restaurants, What Investors Look For, Current Trends, The Power of Influencer Marketing to Drive Traffic and more.

A conference highlight is the keynote presentation on global perspectives by Clarice Turner, SVP, Starbucks, who will examine customer expectations and the pressure all businesses feel to meet those expectations.

Chris Keating, Market Leader of Penton Food and Restaurant, will lead the State of the Industry speech. Chris will provide an overview of social, economic, legislative and consumer trends affecting the industry.

Other notable panelists include:

  • Steven Goldstein, Partner, The Culinary Edge
  • Fred LeFranc, Founding Partner, Results Through Strategy
  • Darren Tristano, Executive Vice President, Technomic, Inc.
  • Ed Valle, Chief Marketing Officer, El Pollo Loco
  • Srinivas Kumar, CEO, CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries
  • Brett Schulman, CEO, Cava Grill
  • Steve Heeley, Chief Operating Officer, Veggie Grill
  • Jacob A. Organek, Founder and Partner, Rosser Capital Partners
  • Susan Sarich, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, SusieCakes, LLC

The conference is presented by UCLA Extension Business, Management & Legal Programs and provides continuing education credits (CEU) for attendees.

Online registration is available here. The conference fee is $475 and includes parking, continental breakfast, lunch, and a full wine reception. For more information about the 19th Annual UCLA Extension Restaurant Conference, call (310) 206-1555.

About UCLA Extension
UCLA Extension is the continuing education division of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). We offer courses evenings and weekends in Westwood and Downtown LA, plus online classes available around the globe. Courses range from business, arts, engineering and IT to entertainment studies, public policy, public health, humanities and more. Explore at uclaextension.edu.

Contact Information:

Amy Prenner
(310) 709-1101