Lon Southerland, senior director, global food and beverage for Marriott International, will keynote the ninth
annual Fast Casual Executive Summit, Oct. 12-14 in Denver.
During his keynote, Southerland will describe how and why he chose to break from the standard hotel buffet options to create The Bistro, a fast casual concept located inside Marriott lobbies. The concept focuses on healthy menu items and serves more than 50,000 guests a day, according to a news release.
"The Bistro's success demonstrates just how much fast casual restaurants resonate with consumers," said Cherryh
Butler, senior editor of FastCasual.com, the publication hosting the Summit. "At first, it was fast casual brands
trying their best to compete with longstanding quick-service restaurants and casual dining chains, but now those
brands — and even hotels —are rebranding in order to keep up with fast casuals."
Southerland will speak about the strategies he's used to grow the concept to 750 units in the past few years and
will share his expertise on transforming menus, launching food-and-beverage promotions and creating partnerships
to help grow brands.
"We've seen locals swing through on the way to work for crafted Starbucks espresso beverages and grab-and-go
items as they often feel it's a faster and more convenient option," Southerland said. "Locals coming in to
pick up a guest for a business meeting notice the lobby space and Bistro and decide, 'Why don't we just stay
here for dinner?'"
The two-and-a-half summit also features a fast casual restaurant food tour, other keynote and breakout
educational sessions, sponsor demonstrations of the latest products, and a dinner party at Coors Field, home of
Major League Baseball's Colorado Rockies.
This summit has been created specifically for C-level executives, VPs, and directors for restaurant operators in
the fast casual and QSR segments. Registration is now open at fastcasualsummit.com, and early-bird pricing is