Mar 29, 2024 3 min read

BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS: Restaurant Franchising and Innovation Summit

RFIS was an intimate show with very focused conversations filled with forward thinking topics from people who are in a growth mindset. Here are my key takeaways...
BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS: Restaurant Franchising and Innovation Summit
Jump to your favorite section

The Restaurant Franchising & Innovation Summit by Fast Casual just concluded in Kansas City, MO.

They describe it as "At the Restaurant Franchising & Innovation Summit, executives from leading brands will share their success stories of the numerous ways they have innovated to grow their franchises. Attendees will gain insight and inspiration to help them be more progressive in every facet of their businesses."

This was an intimate show with very focused conversations filled with forward thinking topics from people who are in a growth mindset.



One point we heard over and over, and it was loud and clear to me, the best plan for brand marketing for restaurants is about being genuine. Consumers have so many choices and more and more their decisions align to sentiment.

Be who you are. Listen to your guests. Participate in the conversation.


On an excellent panel discussion hosted by Zack Oates from Ovation with CJ Ramirez from Dog Haus and Sam Stanovich from Big Chicken about sentiment, marketing, data, revenue and more, several points were discussed around what are the most important KPIs in marketing. Here they are, in order of importance:

  • Overall revenue
  • CRM growth
  • Overall tickets / transactions
  • Average order value per guest
  • Lifetime value per guest


Leaders agree that AI is interesting and is a part of the future but as of now, it’s not a space they quite see how to harness yet. If I was an AI solution, I'd be asking restaurant executives what problems do they wish AI could help them solve.


The success of all brands is about community with your peers, your vendors and especially your employees and guests. When everyone feels like they are a part of something, that’s the secret sauce.


How do restaurants take their data and make it actionable? An awesome panel discussed the idea of a scorecard for guests that uses multiple sources. It was also brought up that it was easy to use, easy to access and easy to action.

Amen. God bless. Let’s go.

Solutions providers: the above should be your product development North Star.

And send it to me when you need a beta tester!


Every single restaurant that was on stage at the event who is experiencing growth or success, however you look at it, channel checked email as a top tool for driving it.

As I like to say, send a weekly email to ALL your guests. That checks a lot of boxes AND without the need of segmentation and tools.


There was a really incredible panel about marketing tactics and channels. The panel represented thousands of locations. Here are some high-level bullet points that will be impactful for you marketing team

  • Marketing is hard to measure at the cash register
  • When an ad fails, start by analyzing the creative
  • A/B test everything
  • Dollars off works better than percentage off when it comes to offers
  • Third-party marketing is highly measurable, good for brand awareness and the audience is not price sensitive

If you were at #RFISummit, what did you take away?


— Rev Ciancio

*I help restaurants to build guest marketing programs.
*I help hospitality tech companies with lead generation and content marketing.

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
You've successfully subscribed to Hospitality Headline.
Your link has expired.
Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.
Success! Your billing info has been updated.
Your billing was not updated.