The Next Level In Taste


Resetting the Table: New Approaches to Profitability an Interview with Anna M. Graves

If you are in the restaurant industry and haven’t bought your ticket yet for the 15th Annual UCLA Extension Restaurant Industry Conference, you don’t know what you might be missing.  This week I had the honor of getting some insider conference information when I sat down with Anna Graves, Co-Leader of the Restaurant, Food & Beverage Industry Group at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP and Chair of this incredible conference.  Here’s what Anna had to say:?

L:  There are so many conferences out there.  What makes this conference so special?

A:  This conference is really one of my favorites.  The content we provide is equivalent to what you would find at the big national conferences, but with a moreregional attendance and an intimate feel.  In fact, we are now beginning to attract attention on a national level, so that’s really exciting.  Also our topics this year are tremendously apropos given the current state of the industry.  This conference is really designed to assist restaurant operators in finding new and innovative ways to produce the results they want.

L:  This year you are honoring Jose Andres with your Innovation Award, why did you pick him?

A:  Well ultimately it was the planning committee who choose him – unanaimously!  Chef Andres is one of my favorites and we believe his creativity will inspire others.  We are also really excited to have Kerry Kramp, last year’s Innovation Award winner and President of Sizzler USA, presenting the award to Chef Andres and engaging him in an informal arm-chair conversation.  Now that will be truly interesting!.

L:  I know Julia Stewart, CEO and Chairman of DineEquity will be your keynote, what issues will she be covering and why do you think that conversation is so relevant to the conference topic?

A:  Well, as you know, DineEquity is the parent company of Applebee’s and IHOP.  I’m interested to hear how she guided these companies through the recession and what  fundamental principals she used to succeed in this industry during difficult times.  I’m also excited to hear our lunch Keynote Adam Tihany, one of the top hospitality designers in the world.  They both have enormous success stories and are dynamic speakers with great industry vision.

L:  What if any takeaways do you want people to come away with from the conference?

A:  Hopefully people will see that we are finally breaking through to the other side of the recession and that it is possible to grow their business as things are picking up again.  Zoës Kitchen, Café Rio and Smashburger are all great examples of how restaurateurs have creatively grown even during the downturn.  I also hope that people will be excited by one of our  new topics, the franchisee perspective.  This year we are dedicating a panel to this subject and will  covering topics such as control over operations, ownershipof intellectual property, and balancing competing interests in the age of social media.

L:  As someone in the industry I know I’m excited to be in attendance, is there anything else you want to share with potential attendees?

A:  Both I and the other Pillsbury attorneys who support the restaurant conference are extremely proud to be involved with it.  We really believe in the message and the content and we hope everyone attending will find it meaningful and relevant to them.

Event:  15th Annual UCLA Extension Restaurant Industry Conference – Resetting the Table: New Approaches to Profitability

Date: Thursday, April 21, 2011 7:30 AM – 7:00 PM
Location:         Hyatt Regency Century Plaza
(310) 228-1234
2025 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, California 90067
United States

Tickets for the conference are available at


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