The National Restaurant Association Marketing Executives Group (MEG) has announced its line-up of speakers for its spring conference in Chicago. May 15-17. The conference runs prior to the start of the 2013 NRA Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show.

This year's keynote speaker is Harald Herrmann, brand president of Yard House Restaurants, who will discuss how Yard House grew from a single location in the Los Angeles market to 45 locations. Other speakers include:

  • Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst and vice president of The NPD Group, who will provide some insight into the Eating Patterns in America.
  • Wendy Clark, senior vice president, Integrated Marketing Communications and Capabilities of The Coca-Cola Company, who will speak on how this international brand has fembraced digital to redefine consumer engagement.
  • Clarice Turner, senior vice president, Starbucks U.S., who will share Starbucks' marketing ideas in an effort to inspire new business opportunities.
  • David Witt, director, Global Digital Marketing and Brand PR of The Hershey Company, will share insights and tactics on building online networks of brand advocates.
  • Jeff Fromm, vice president of Barkley and co-author of The Millennial Consumer and Millennial Passions: Food, Fashion and Friends, will reveal what it is that makes Millennials unique, what tools to use to evaluate Millennial marketing, and models for creating guest engagement.
  • Jeff Harvey, president and CEO of Burgerville, will share how Burgerville has defied conventional perceptions of what it means to be a quick-service restaurant by being at the forefront of sustainable business practices.
  • Erik Wahl, an artist and motivational speaker, will show attendees new ways in which they can make their organization more creative, innovative and profitable.
  • Adrienne Weiss, founder of her own namesake company, will illustrate how a company's voice makes them standout from their competitor.

The conference takes place at the Westin Michigan Avenue. The cost to attend MEG, which includes all meeting materials, meals and breaks, is $495 per person for NRA members and $995 for non-members. To learn more about MEG's spring conference, visit restaurant.org/meg.

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