Farley Kaiser, Culinary Innovation Manager for Wawa and ICCA Secretary created her version of the major take-aways from the ICCA Summit Denver:
Darren Tristano, former President of Technomic and now CEO of Food Service Results kicked off the 17th annual ICCA opening general session with facts and data to support where the industry is headed and the future opportunities with an already astronomical $227 billion off premise restaurant business including catering, third party delivery and take out. The presentation below will share the types of food ordered, who is most likely to order and the average spend based on this new in-depth study.
Steven Sashen, CEO for Xero shoes is a comedian and quickly grabbed the attention of everyone in the room with his “choose your own adventure” style of presentation. He took us through the unbelievable experience he found himself in at Tiananmen Square in 1989. He also explained why he didn’t take the offer at Shark Tank. Perhaps the most interesting topic was his approach to the truth in communication and how to talk to the people you care about with the truth in a non-abrasive manner. As a master runner and founder-creator of Xero shoes he taught us the importance of the right fit in a shoe, allowing our feet room to flex and move, and taking care of our bodies in the jobs we do. The questions below were offered to us and the result was an informative different view on life from a creative entrepreneur who has been successful selling on-line since the early 90’s.
Chef Frank Bonanno started his presentation with a demonstration in pulling fresh mozzarella from curd and providing delicious samples of caprese appetizer for the session. He opened our eyes to the vision behind the concept of his 16-venue food hall called Milk Market and how he is driving innovation in that 4000 square foot space. It is the only food hall with all concepts owned by one company. His strategy in developing his team of next generation culinarians inspires them to take risks in their own careers and has created a legacy of restaurant growth under his lineage. Today he has 10 individual restaurant concepts not counting the Milk Market project.
Todd Leopold, Master Distiller and co-founder of Leopold Bros. Distillery – We finished the first day of education with a session by Todd Leopold, Master Distiller for Leopold Brothers Distillery as he walked us through his methodology in distilling and the three styles of gin that his team is known for and they have the awards to prove it. The Leopold brothers rose to success since moving their distillery from Michigan to Denver in the mid-2000s. They have gained a reputation for some of the best spirits in the industry and ICCA members were able to taste the three gins side-by-side in our reception following the general session.
Steve Campbell CEO and Founder of pro-voke got us all on our feet with an engaging quick-fire presentation bringing light to the many polarities in personalities and how that not only shapes the relationships in our lives but how it ultimately affects how we drive business decisions in our workplace. He broke down the complex nature of strategy into the Universal Needs and the Ideal Attributes as a way for us to focus on our “super powers” in how we can succeed in our business models. Below is his PowerPoint slides used in this creative three-part session that invigorated the attendees throughout the day:
Katie Thompson educated us and demystified the myth behind cannabis, CBD, and hemp. Her partnership with Chef Owen Klein and Carl’s Jr to feature a CBD Sauce was ground breaking in our industry and may serve as the opening opportunity for further botanical menu innovation in the future. Her in-depth education offered many facts to support the better health claims of this substance and why they are such a hot topic in the world right now. Below is Katie’s presentation which included the many uses of the hemp plant that is legal in all 50 states.
The former VP of Marketing at Chick-Fil-A, David Salyers motivated us to think about how we are approaching our own personal leadership skills at work and who we want to be known as in the future. Building a Remarkable Culture was the name of the session, but this presentation touched on so many aspects of how Chick-Fil-A has risen to the top of their game and how much love and appreciation goes into the relationships they build with their employees. He pushed us to define what remarkable means to us and how to bring that to our workplace because every life has a story and he urged us to take the time to learn that story.
“If we bring more value, we will become invaluable” -David Salyers
Chef Robert Danhi, Curator of Cultures Flavor 360, took us through the history of fermentation and how we each taste differently. He explained how and why we “hack” fermentation for cost reduction and flavor enhancement in consumer product goods and how it is being used on today’s menus as such. A clip from an episode of his show walked us through the detailed process of fermented soy sauce in Vietnam which drove home the concept of change in process over time and place.
Chef Robert Danhi Fermentation Presentation
Taylor Cunningham, Associate Strategist for SRG used his consumer insights knowledge to help us dig into what cravings are, how cravings are cultural, and how understanding the subconscious cultural forces that ignite humans’ deepest desires can lead us to developing toward their cravings.
Taylor Cunningham Craveology Presentation
Chef Daniel Asher gave us a demonstration of his uniquely built appetizer named Duck Duck Goose as well as an Asian inspired taco to set up his conversation with the group about how he approaches food in his many restaurant concepts he owns and manages. He spoke about his passion around the amount of waste in our country and how his concepts tackle that, about how food is the easiest part of the job and that the rest is about navigating human conditions which is extremely complicated. His love for food and Denver came through in everything he said and as he hosted one of the tour groups in their culinary road trips as well!
We finished up our 17th annual ICCA general session with a beer tasting by Tom Dargen the VP of brewing operations at Craftworks Restaurants who spoke of the trends of beer across the years and how that has affected the many sizes of breweries in the industry. He left us with the advice that ultimately we should experiment with many types of beer and just drink what we enjoy regardless of the ‘trend.’