Questioning why you got into this crazy business? Here's a place to find an answer

Though the readers of this website are involved in another sector of the food service industry, many of you still attended the Fast Casual Executive Summit outside Los Angeles this week. It was a great fit, since much of the information was applicable to all restaurant categories, including everything from franchise growth to food safety.

Heard at the Fast Cas Exec Summit: Editors share favorite session quotes

Another Fast Casual Executive Summit is in the books, and as always, it produced a plethora of insight.

Early bird gets the worm: Top 5 reasons to meet us in Cali for Fast Cas Exec Summit

Although our 11th annual Fast Casual Executive Summit isn't until Oct. 9-11, you can get in at $595 as opposed to the regular price of $795 if you register by Friday. If that's not enough incentive to join us in sunny California for the summit, below are top five reasons you need to put his amazing event on your calendar.

Tips, advice on preparing the brand for unit expansion

Brand unit and location growth requires capital and resources, but there are some other critical aspects as well, according to several successful franchise and restaurant leaders.

Navigating the crossover: Fast casualization of the restaurant industry

Switching into fast casual dining requires more than getting food to the table quicker. It demands new strategies from menu decisions to customer experience elements.

Building the brand culture: It’s all about empowering employees

Establishing a 'cult' philosophy in building a robust brand culture isn't a bad thing. In fact, it's one of several valuable and viable approaches.

The perfect pitch: 3 restaurant concepts

Entrepreneurs from Burgers n’ Fries Forever, Sweet Lorraine’s Fabulous Mac n’ Cheez and Pincho Factory pitched concepts to a panel of distinguished investors and consultants who provided professional advice.

Going beyond the discount with new approaches to spur brand loyalty

Fast casual operators want to reward guests with more than food. There are new loyalty program trends to attract new customers, boost revenues and provide memorable experiences for guests.

Email marketing is far from a dead marketing tool

Email is ubiquitous personally and professionally, which means email marketing is far from dead.

FCES15: Stay on trend with the latest food trends

Tastes and trends in food change and evolve rapidly. What may have been an innovative concept last year may be exactly the wrong one now.

FCES15: The changing course of consumer behavior

Consumers of all kinds have a nearly endless array of options from which to choose, whether they're purchasing furniture, cars, housewares, or any good or service. The same holds true for where they spend their money when dining out.

FCES15: The evolution of restaurant technology

There has been a massive evolution in the use of technology within the past decade, the past five years — and even within just the last year. There are no signs of that evolution of technology use slowing, including in the fast casual restaurant industry.

FCES15: Top 10 PR do's (and a few don'ts)

"Whatever I present to you is my PR moment," Nick Powills, CEO of No Limit Agency, said in opening his session at the Fast Casual Executive Summit in Miami.

FCES15: Beverage smarts: What’s on trend

Beverages are an important aspect of the consumer dining experience and play a critical part of a restaurant’s branding efforts. Being on trend is key to success, say experts.

FCES15: Real estate decision requires lots of homework, data insight

As any business owner knows the location decision can sink the business or be the foundation of initial success and growth. But it involves much more than negotiating a lease or property purchase.

FCES15: Tips on building a foundation for profitable growth

Strategic and profitable growth for today's restaurants, quick service eateries and retailers is a comprehensive endeavor. But it's doable and the number one tip to getting a foundation built is to jump in and start making it happen.

FCES15: Why design is key to customer engagement

Design is a key aspect for the customer experience and plays directly into the "corporate soul" and building a relationship with customers.

FCES15: How failing to adapt leads to failure in business

Jeremy Gutsche kicked off the 10th annual Fast Casual Executive Summit on Sunday evening at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Miami with a rousing and energetic keynote session — "Better & Faster: The Proven Path to Unstoppable Ideas."

Getting back to your marketing roots

Although mobile and social media marketing have been hot industry topics for the past few years, you can’t have a strong digital showing without first developing a solid marketing campaign. At the 2014 Fast Casual Executive Summit, this panel dissected a variety of campaigns to see why some work and why some don’t.

Mobile payments: Where the consumers are going

To approach mobile payments, make sure your guests want it, that you have the right infrastructure in place and that you have a plan for the data you can collect.

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