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National Restaurant Association - Marketing Executives Group (MEG)

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Marketing Executives Group (MEG)

Conference registration is open to restaurant operators and those who work for restaurant or hospitality companies. If you are a product or service provider, you are welcome to attend the conference as a sponsor.

Advance registration will close on April 30, 2018. After April 30, you will still be able to register on-site at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park at the same price point.

What is MEG?
MEG is a community of restaurant marketing professionals who are connected 365 days a year and come together every May in Chicago preceding the NRA Show. MEG raises the level of industry excellence by connecting, inspiring, teaching and challenging each other through the exchange of ideas, thought leadership and best practices.

Who attends the MEG conference?
MEG connects individuals who serve their restaurant or hospitality industry company at the highest levels. Professionals active in MEG include Chief Executive Officers, Presidents, Marketing and Sales Officers, as well as EVPs, Vice Presidents, Directors and Managers of Brand Marketing, Corporate Communications, Creative and Marketing.

What companies attend the conference?
Be among some of the industry's most successful: Black Angus Steakhouse, Black Bear Diners, Inc., Bud's Chicken & Seafood, Bufflo Wings & Rings LLC, California Pizza Kitchen, Inc., Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, Church's Chicken, Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurants, Corner Bakery Cafe, Dunkin' Brands, Eat'n Park Hospitality Group, Firehouse of America, First Watch Restaurants, Firebird Restaurant Group, Fuzzy's Taco Shop, Golden Corral, Gold Star Chili, Inc., Good Times Restaurants Inc., Jason's Deli, Larkburger, Lettuce Entertain You, Luna Grill, Mellow Mushroom, Movie Tavern, Noodles & Company, Olive Garden, Pei Wei, Pie Five Pizza Co., Polly's Inc, Popeye's, Portillo's, Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers, Ram International, Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group LLC, Salsarita's Franchising, LLC, Sheetz, Inc., Sterling Hospitality, The Signature Room at the 95th, Texas de Brazil, Think Food Group, Tiki's Grill & Bar, Tim Hortons Inc., TravelCenters of America, Velvet Taco, Village Inn & Bakers Square, The Wendy's Company, Yard House, Zaxby's and many more.

2018 MEG Leadership


Wednesday, May 16

Thursday, May 17

8 a.m. - 9 a.m. Breakfast
9 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. Welcome & Introductions
9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Culture in the Digital Age
Exploring the influence of the digital age on consumer wants and needs was fueled by the Internet and reignited by social media. Turow Paul will dive deep into the behaviors of Millennials and Generation Z, along with provide an in-depth analysis of the modern consumer landscape.
10:30 a.m. - 11 a.m. Networking Break
11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. New Dynamics of Off-Premise
Restaurant take-out and delivery are evolving quickly as the on-demand economy expands rapidly. Off-premise dining is moving in new directions as the consumers are embracing options ranging from meal-kit subscription services to third-party delivery. Join Technomic's Melissa Wilson and Donna Hood Crecca to understand who's using these services, why and how, and to explore the opportunities and implications for restaurant operators. The next phase of off-premise dining isn't on the horizon... it's here now. How will you evolve to capture next-level sales?
12:15 p.m. - 1 p.m. Lunch
1 p.m. - 3 p.m. Roundtable Discussions
3 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Networking Break
3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. UnMarketing: Stop Marketing & Start Engaging
  The tried and true ways of marketing have turned into tired and old methods, not to mention ineffective. The ability to build relationships and be heard by your market has never been greater, but overwhelming when trying to determine what tools to use. This session covers both online and offline methods of staying in front of your target audience, so when they need to buy, they choose you. You'll leave with practical tools to implement tactics right away, from social media to traditional local events.
4:45 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Robotics and Food Service: Applications & Implications, Featuring Sally the Salad Robot
  Chowbotics is a part of the new wave of robotics that is changing the way our food is served and prepared. The company's first product, Sally the Salad Robot, allows users to create custom salads with any combination of more than 20 ingredients, refreshed daily, to create a ready-to-eat meal any time of the day. Sekar and Smith will share the applications and implications of robotics in food service, along with a live demo of Sally's customizable capabilities.
7 p.m. Sit-Down Dinner at Fairmont Hotel with Live Entertainment

Friday, May 18

8 a.m. - 9 a.m. Breakfast
9 a.m. - 10 a.m. Changing The World Through the Eyes of a Chef
  Chef Jose Andres founded World Central Kitchen after the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti with the belief that food can be an agent of change. Mook recently helped create and lead the #ChefsForPuertoRico effort in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, as well as establishing a Chef Relief Kitchen during the California wildfires. You'll hear first-hand how you can be an agent of change and part of the solution.
10 a.m. - 11 a.m. Lessons from Leaders : CMO Story Sharing
  The restaurant industry is an ever-changing environment, and savvy marketers need to know how to navigate through changing times and challenges. In this dynamic discussion, you'll hear from successful restaurant leaders - their successes, mistakes and what they expect from their marketing teams. Come with questions and leave with action items you can immediately implement for your business and your brand.
11 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Networking Break
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. The Ever Changing Face of LTOs
  Limited-time offers have become a restaurant mainstay, but remain a challenge to execute well. This panel will explore the landscape of LTOs through the barriers and pitfalls of developing new menu items. You'll hear best practices in segments, seasonality, flavor trends, consumer acceptance, marketing vehicles and traffic. The panel will feature decision makers from the culinary, supplier and operator side who will share insights into successful rollouts, as well as mistakes to avoid.
12:30 p.m. - 2 p.m. Programming & Lunch
2 p.m. - 3 p.m. Social Hour


National Restaurant Association Member* National Restaurant Association Non-Member
Early-Bird Rate: $399
After April 13: $499
Early-Bird Rate: $899
After April 13: $999
Registered operators within the Restaurant/Foodservice and Retail segments are eligible for one (1) complimentary badge to the NRA Show. The NRA Show badge will be included in your MEG conference registration packet.
*National Restaurant Association members are entitled to discount registration. Eligible members must complete registration with the email address listed in their member record. To verify your membership, contact membership@restaurant.org
Operator Cancellation PolicyCancellations received by 11:59 PM EST on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018 will be fully refunded. Any cancellations between Feb. 24 and April 13, 2018 will be assessed a 50% administration fee. Cancellations after April 13, 2018 will not receive a refund. For more information, contact nrameetings@restaurant.org.



200 North Columbus Drive
Chicago, IL 60601
Room Rate: $257/night + plus tax   single/double
Deadline to Reserve your Room: April 30, 2018

To reserve a hotel room you first need to register for the conference. A special link can be found in the registration confirmation email to make your reservation within the protected room block for the conference. This room block covers the nights needed for conference participants. NOTE: While the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park is available through the NRA Show room block, it does not encompass the nights needed during the conference. You must use the link in the registration confirmation email.


United and Delta offer discounts up to 10% off published fares based on booking class for MEG conference attendees.

To save, book online at United.com/meetingtravel. Enter ZZ3J730597 in the Offer Code box. Make sure ORD is entered as the airport. Discounts are available for travel booked between May 13-25, 2018.

To save, book online here. The Group code is NMRLY. Make sure ORD or MDW is entered as your destination airport. Discounts are available for travel booked between May 13-21, 2018. You may also call Delta Meeting reservations at (800) 328-111, Monday - Friday from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. CT.


Attendee registration is open to restaurant operators and those who work for restaurant or hospitality companies. If you are a product or service provider, you are welcome to attend the conference as a sponsor. To learn more about 2018 conference sponsorship opportunities contact Stephanie Krasner, Account Manager, Sponsorship and Engagement Programs, at (202) 973-5398 or SKrasner@restaurant.org.


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Stay informed about MEG happenings by filling in your information:


Here's an inside look at why you should be at MEG!

2017 Speaker Presentations: Click here to access the presentations

Note: You will need a username & password to access the presentations. To receive a username & password, please email meetings@restaurant.org. Presentations are only available to past MEG conference attendees.







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