Schedule/Education Sessions

We have some great presenters lined up. Check back daily as we share details of their presentations. Each will provide great insights on how you can do business better, increase profits and set yourself up for an awesome 2019!

Special thanks to Expo Education Sponsor


Time- 10:00 AM & 2:00 PM


New Health Care Solutions Exclusively for Restaurants and Taverns
Amy Hathaway, Director, Association Partnerships
UnitedHealth Group – Optum

 This session will provide an overview of new programs from the National Restaurant Association and UnitedHealth Group exclusively for restaurants and taverns.

  • New Association Health Plan available to small restaurant and lodging employers, featuring more than 120 health plan designs
  • Discounts on specialty benefit plans for all-size employers
  • Free Pharmacy Discount Card program for prescription savings
  • Discounted Health Savings Account (HSA) from Optum

Time- 10:30 AM


Reduce Food Waste, Increase Profits, Find Funding Partners
Dan Nickey
Iowa Waste Reduction Center
Presentation Courtesy of Iowa State University 

A Thomson Reuters Foundation study recently found that for every dollar spent on reducing food waste, companies save an average $14. The study also found 99 percent of foodservice operators made money from investing in curbing waste. Food Waste Reduction specialist Dan Nickey will share specific cost saving steps and funding opportunities available to restaurants who proactively work to reduce food waste.

Time- 10:30 AM & 1:00 PM


Cyber Liability – 8 Tips to Prevent Data Breach and How to Recover
Jim Kuerschner
Society Insurance

Data breach is the exposure of sensitive customer information due to hacking, theft or the accidental release of data. Business owners are expected to be custodians of customer information and have a reasonable expectation to protect their customers’ data. It can be devastating for a small business without the resources of a larger corporation. Come learn what restaurant owners need to know to diminish the possibility of a data breach and its destructive impact if one is experienced. Also learn about new types of cyber liability protection that can help you recover if it occurs. 

Time- 11:00 AM & 1:00 PM




Menuing for Profit
Dan Mooney | Restaurant Operations Consultant
US. Foods

Nearly any restaurant owner can tell you which of their menu items are their “best” sellers, yet too few are able to identify which item is their “most profitable.”  Designing a menu that maximizes profitability should not be guess work.  Come explore the tools available to restaurant owners, chefs, and kitchen managers as they design and refine menus that please patrons and ensure every offering is a profitable offering.

Time- 11:30 AM & 1:00 PM



Should Restaurants Add a “Convenience Fee” When Customers Pay by Card?
Steve Casteel
MidStates POS

Recently there’s been a movement in the restaurant industry to charge a “convenience fee” of 2 to 3% to customers who pay by card. Others are opting for cash discounts. Restaurant owners must weigh carefully the pros and cons of each approach to determine, which, if either might work for their establishments.  There are many customer, equipment, legal and contractual issues related to this decision.  Get the information you need to weigh your options.

Time- 1:30 PM


Increase Sales with Targeted Digital Marketing
Phil K. James 
Chief Milkshaker- Good Milkshake Digital Media

In restaurant marketing, the only social media metrics that matter are customers and sales.  Restaurant digital marketing expert and former coffee shop owner Phil James has worked with some of Iowa’s largest and most recognized restaurant groups to “Shake up” their digital media strategies to rapidly build reputation and increase sales. Learn specific ways you can use targeted Facebook and Instagram strategies to grow your business today.

Time- Noon


How Process Impacts Profile – Exploring Scotch Whiskey
Lacey Massari
Senior Market Manager
Edrington, Glasgow

Explore a variety of highly rated and award-winning expressions from The Macallan and Highland Park Distilleries. Learn how the intricacies of the whisky making process can alter the flavor profile. Experience the importance of cask selection and its role in the taste and appearance of the whisky.  Focus products include Macallan Double Cask 12yr, Macallan 12yr, Macallan Triple Cask 15yr and Highland Park 12. (Seating is limited)

Time- Noon


3 Places You May Be Leaving Money on the Table
Panel: Craig Gertsch, Woodriver Energy: Doug Beech, D& J Consulting; Cody Edwards, Dickinson Law

Come hear about three little known Iowa-specific laws that may allow your business to reap immediate dollars in rebates and/or discounts. Receive a guaranteed 5% decrease in your natural gas bill, file for a sales tax refund on energy for food processing equipment, and a see if you might have the potential for a sales tax refund on processing equipment purchased in the past three years.  All programs are free to restaurants, here’s where you access them.

Time- 12:30 AM



2019 State and Federal Legislative Landscape
Panel: Joe Essa, Wolfgang Puck, Las Vegas and Chairman of the National Restaurant Association Board of Directors; Jessica Dunker, President and CEO, Iowa Restaurant Association; Eric Goranson, Iowa Restaurant Association State Lobbyist

Taxes, workforce, sports betting, DRAM, healthcare, food code, licensing fees, immigration, menu labeling —the list of state and federal legislative issues that impact every aspect of the daily operations of restaurants seems never ending. Get an overview of what the National and State Restaurant Association Boards and Leaders are discussing and positions the advocacy groups representing you are taking with legislators.

Time- 12:30 PM


Anderson Valley Deep Dive
Nick Hetzel
Master Sommelier

The Anderson Valley in California’s Mendocino County is a small, cool-climate region near the Pacific Ocean. It is becoming highly respected for its pinot noir, chardonnayand sparkling wine. Join Award-Winning Master Sommelier Nick Hetzel in exploring what the region has to offer.  Hetzel has been in the Top 100 Wine Restaurants in the Nation as named by Wine Enthusiast Magazine six years running. Presented in conjunction with WineFest. (Seating is limited.).

Time- 2:00 PM


Iowa Uncorked: The Lowdown on the Iowa Wine Industry
Erin Norton
Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute, Iowa State University

The Iowa Grape and Wine Industry has made a resurgence over the past 2 decades and now boasts nearly 100 wineries and 1300 acres of vineyard.  Wines made from the new varietals bred specifically for the Midwest climate have been winning awards around the country.  Come sample and learn about these wines and hear ways to bring them into the culinary mainstream. (Seating is limited)