EMERGING

Restaurant Finance Conference in Las Vegas: Industry Leaders Set For Next Week

With that in mind, many of the nation’s leading operators and those who finance their dreams will take center stage this month in Las Vegas, NV. The annual Restaurant Finance & Development Conference (RFDC) is slated for Nov. 14th-16th at the Wynn. Las Vegas. RFDC is all about the business side of the restaurant business and an opportunity to get “up to speed” with what’s happening in the restaurant business and capital markets. Attendees gain key insight by attending expert educational sessions and boot camps covering a wide variety of financial, economic, accounting, technology, strategy, real estate and restaurant operations topics. In addition to an excellent educational forum, attendees have the opportunity to meet with a wide variety of financial sources during the conference.

Among the all-star cast of speakers will be a trio of New York area executives: Peter Cancro, Founder & CEO, Jersey Mike’s Subs; Dario Wolos, Founder & CEO, Tacombi; and John Rigos, CEO, Aurify Brands. Panel participants also include: Greg Flynn, CEO, Flynn Restaurant Group (Applebee’s, Arby’s, Panera, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Wendy’s); Ann Gugino, CFO, Papa John’s; Bill Valentas, CFO, Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers; and Mike Dixon, CFO, FOCUS Brands. 

The Conference continually attracts many of the brightest minds in the industry including the Elliott Group team. The Elliot Group is a premier executive search firm that harnesses human connections and strategic advisory to power businesses forward. “I’ve been attending RFDC for at least 12 years and it is not to be missed,” noted Sarah Lockyer Chief Brand Officer of The Elliot Group. “The conference never disappoints, and everyone has early November in Vegas penciled into their calendar each year.”

Restaurant owners, operators, executives and board members of multi-unit restaurant companies—public, private, franchised, nonfranchised and independent restaurant groups send multiple representatives to the conference each year. Attendees include owner-operators and their partners, board members, CFOs, controllers, senior executives in finance, operations, development, legal, real estate and franchising. Also invited are lenders, investment bankers, real estate developers, accountants, attorneys, private and public equity investors, consultants, family offices, and other firms with investments in the restaurant industry.

Attendees to RFDC can meet with representatives of banks, finance companies, investment banks, private equity firms, merger and acquisition specialists, private investors, real estate developers, sale-leaseback providers, consultants, business brokers and other financial intermediaries to find financing, buy or sell restaurant businesses and real estate, or locate new concepts or existing business opportunities. A variety of financing and deal sources are on hand. Meetings are typically arranged in advance or by visiting the Finance & Development Mall during the conference. The Las Vegas event has become an incubator for many of the key acquisition and financing deals in the restaurant and foodservice industry.

“RFDC follows the ebb and flow of the restaurant, financing, and franchising space, making it a mirror to what is happening in the foodservice world and the broader capital markets,” Lockyear continued. “Over the years you’d feel the temperature of deal making in the halls – you see the rise of IPOs, the influx of private-equity, the sophistication of franchising, M&A, and the surge of strategic acquisitions. In recent years, you see more and more emerging brands at RFDC, as younger concepts look to raise capital early, and growth through franchising continues to be an avenue for rapid expansion.”

Highlighting this year’s speakers at the Las Vegas event is Tim Tebow. The two-time national champion, Heisman Trophy winner, first-round NFL draft pick, and a former professional baseball player and best-selling author. Also addressing this year’s attendees will be Austan Goolsbee, Chairman, President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers and Professor of Economics, University of Chicago Booth School of Business. From the culinary side, RFDC will be addressed by Wolfgang Puck Famed chef, restaurateur, whose name is synonymous with the best of restaurant hospitality. Rounding out the keynoters is John Coleman, Managing Partner, Sovereign’s Capital and Author of the Harvard Business Review Guide to Crafting Your Purpose. 

The Elliot Group is among many companies that have used the gathering to cultivate the relationships the are integral to their growth. “We are privileged to be a long-time supporter of RFDC, John Hamburger and his team, and we’re honored to host an event there for the past nine years along with our co-hosts,” Lockyear added. “Elliot’s executive search and advisory work goes deep within the investment community, from family offices to private equity groups, and we love this time to gather our orbit around the table to break bread. Along with our restaurant clients – from large to emerging, and franchisors to franchisees – we put together an eclectic group to celebrate together. It’s about hospitality. It’s about people. There’s time to make deals, and there is time to have fun and build relationships. At our event, we have fun!”

The conference always provides a read on the direction the industry is set to take. Keep an eye on this year’s annual Restaurant Finance & Development Conference (RFDC) to provide that vision. For more information, visit their website.

*image and article thanks to https://totalfood.com/

Total Food Service is a monthly B2B foodservice publication and website covering foodservice and hospitality news, industry trends and exclusive interviews.
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