Chapters

Global and Regional Partners

Atlanta

Chapter Chairs

Chapter Chair: Michael Verdesca

EVP & CIO, FOCUS Brands

With over 20 years of technology leadership experience, Michael Verdesca joined FOCUS Brands in April 2014. Prior to joining FOCUS Brands, Mr. Verdesca served as Chief Information Officer for Jack in the Box Inc. where he oversaw all technology, program management and strategic alignment for both the Jack in the Box and Qdoba Mexican Grill Brands. He also brings a breadth of retail and e-commerce experience from Longs Drug Stores, Moët Hennessy, Louis Vuitton, Williams-Sonoma Inc, and Harry and David Inc. Michael however grew up in food service and managed food service outlets for the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and Hyatt Hotels and Resorts. Mr. Verdesca holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Sciences from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Chapter Vice Chair: Karen Bird

CIO, Hooters of America

Upcoming Events

February 6, 2019
May 1, 2019
October 16, 2019

Chapter Partner

Orlando

Chapter Chair: Lori Ness

Director of Store Systems, Hard Rock International

Chapter Chairs

CHAPTER CO-CHAIR: Elizabeth Ochoa

Senior Manager, Payment Systems for Universal Parks and Resorts

Upcoming Events

October 19, 2019
April 25, 2019
February 7, 2019

Charlotte

Chapter Chairs

Chapter Co-Chair: Edgar Rhee

Corporate Food & Beverage Systems and Project Manager, Cedar Fair Entertainment Company

Edgar Rhee is the Corporate Food & Beverage Systems and Project Manager for the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. When he is not trying to get his job title shortened, he is working to help Cedar Fair determine their strategic direction with F&B systems at their 11 theme parks, 2 water parks, and 4 hotels across the U.S. and Canada, with close to 1000 profit centers spread across the environment. Although Cedar Fair is based out of Sandusky, OH, Edgar is working out of the Charlotte corporate office near the Carowinds theme park. Prior to joining Cedar Fair, Edgar worked for 17 years at Pebble Beach Resorts in Monterey, CA, most recently as the I.T. Director of Business Systems, where his team was responsible for all major systems used by this luxury golf resort, including all F&B technology. As a native New Yorker, Edgar is a passionate NY Giants fan, and is also an avid bowler. He is looking forward to sharing his knowledge and insights with the Charlotte F&B IT community, maybe while riding a roller coaster!

Chapter Co-Chair: Tim Carter

Chief Financial Officer, Salsarita’s Franchising, LLC

Tim Carter is Chief Financial Officer for Salsarita’s Franchising, LLC, a holding of Mississippi Restaurant Group. In this role, he is responsible for company and franchise financial & administration functions, which encompasses oversight of the firm’s legal, insurance, human capital and technology functions. In addition, Mr. Carter also oversees corporate real estate development.

Mr. Carter oversees all IT systems for franchised and corporate restaurants, including point-of-sale, in-restaurant network management, merchant processing, loyalty and gift programs and PCI compliance. He also contributes to both franchisee- and public-facing technologies in web and social.

Prior to his current role, Mr. Carter served as Franchise Director with Salsarita’s, managing the development strategy of the company’s growing footprint throughout the Southeast, following several years spent in a variety of sales, marketing, and compliance roles with the company.

Prior to working for Salsarita’s, Mr. Carter spent more than a decade holding operational positions with a number of fine and casual restaurants including: McAlister’s Deli, Carvel Ice Cream and Bertucci’s among others. He began his career in operations with Milliken & Company, a leading manufacturer of textiles and chemicals, where he specialized in process improvement and supply chain management.

Mr. Carter serves on the board of the North Carolina Lodging & Restaurant Association, Charlotte Chapter and holds professional membership in the International Conference of Shopping Centers as well as the International Franchise Association. He is a graduate of Wofford College and holds an MBA in entrepreneurship from the F.W. Olin Graduation School at Babson College. He and his wife, Heather Randolph Carter, reside in Charlotte, N.C. They are avid culinary travelers.

Upcoming Events

No events Scheduled

Chicago

Chapter Chairs

Chapter Chair: Maryann Byrdak

SVP & CIO of IT for Potbelly Sandwich Works

Chapter Chair: YOO JINYoo Jin Yi

IT Manager for Gibsons Restaurant Group

Upcoming Events

February 12, 2019
April 30, 2019
October 22, 2019

Chapter Partner

Dallas

Chapter Chairs

Chapter Chair: Chris Andrews

VP of IT, Pei Wei

Chris Andrews is the Vice President of Information Technology at Pei Wei Asian Diner. Chris holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Texas Wesleyan University as well as a Master’s in Professional Accounting from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Chris started his career with his family’s Dallas based IT outsourcing company before transitioning to consulting at KPMG and Grant Thornton. Since leaving consulting, Chris has held the top IT position as well as senior leadership roles with several Dallas companies. Previously at On The Border, Chris led the technology transition from Brinker International for all corporate and restaurant services. In under a year, he and his team helped transitioned all telecom, wide area network, point of sale software/hardware, corporate infrastructure and supporting applications. His approach included a leveraged blend of outsourcers/contractors, cloud services, in-house infrastructure and SAAS.

Throughout his career, he has had the opportunity to work in a variety of verticals and has been exposed to a wide array of technology solutions and architecture. His work experience has included IT effectiveness reviews, security penetration testing, data warehouse design, bankruptcy turn-around and IT governance reviews. Chris has presented at MURTEC, Pervasive Software’s IntegratioNEXT 9, InnoTech Dallas as well as multiple governance/risk management/compliance presentations to students at LSU and UTA.

Chapter CO-Chair: Pankaj Patra

VP of IT for Brinker International

Upcoming Events

February 13, 2019
May 1, 2019
October 23, 2019

Chapter Partner

New England

Chapter Chairs

Chapter Chair: Chris Incorvati

Director of Café Technology, Au Bon Pain

Chris Incorvati is the Director of Café Technology for Au Bon Pain. Au Bon Pain is a café-bakery known for its delicious food and healthful offerings. Chris leads the Café Systems Point of Sale and Internal Help Desk teams. He Joined Au Bon Pain in March of 2013 with over 20 years of restaurant experience as an operator and Information technology leader. Chris works out of the Au Bon Pain corporate offices located in Boston MA.

Prior to joining Au Bon Pain, Chris was the Information Technology leader for Legal Sea Foods. As Director of IT at Legal Sea Foods, Chris led an award winning team recognized for innovations in technology and customer engagement for use of wireless tableside ordering and payment solutions. In 2006 the Legal Sea Foods team rolled out the first Ingenico Pay at Table devices in the United States.

Chris brings a unique perspective to information technology with a strong background in restaurant operations. Chris was formerly a general manager for Papa Gino’s Pizza and Bennigan’s Grill & Tavern. He is passionate about Point of Sale and the advantages of using wireless technology in restaurants.

Chris has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Westfield State College. He currently lives in Framingham Massachusetts with his wife Rubia.

Upcoming Events

February 20, 2019
May 15, 2019
October 30, 2019

Southern California

Chapter Chairs

Chapter Chair: Kathy Sy

Director of IT, Polly’s Inc

Kathy is the Director of Information Technology for Polly’s Inc, which operates Polly’s Pies Restaurants and KFCs of Polly’s. Her ultimate purpose is to help create efficiency through technology, and implementing new technology to assist with sales increase and company growth.

Her experience in the restaurant industry is approaching 30 years: in both quick-service, as well as in full-service restaurants. 12 years in restaurant operations, and 17 years in Restaurant IT. The combination of her operational and technical knowledge definitely helps her accomplish IT projects for restaurants; thinking with both the operators and technologist in mind.

With the growing needs of the economy and the needs of our restaurant’s guests, Kathy often enjoys learning about and looks forward to implementing new technologies that will benefit us in the restaurant industry.

Kathy enjoys the cold weather and snow, which probably doesn’t make sense since she grew up in Hawaii. Although she loves living in Southern California, Hawaii will always be the place where she calls home. Aloha!

Upcoming Events

February 21, 2019
April 25, 2019
October 24, 2019

Chapter Partner

Twin Cities

Chapter Chairs

Chapter Co-Chair: Nick Meister

Director of Information Technology, D’Amico and Partners Inc

Nick Meister is a strong information technology professional with 15 years’ experience, currently serving as the Director of IT for D’Amico and Partners Inc., a multi-million-dollar, multi-concept, multi-divisional restaurant group based in the Twin Cities and Naples FL.

Having been born into the restaurant industry through family owned restaurants, Nick has been involved in restaurant operations for almost 25 years. He continues to share his passion for the Hospitality industry by using his interests in exploring new technologies and always looking for ways to provide great solutions for the business and to enhance guest experiences.

Chapter Co-Chair: Ryan Baune

VP Technology Operations for Buffalo Wild Wings

Nick Meister is a strong information technology professional with 15 years’ experience, currently serving as the Director of IT for D’Amico and Partners Inc., a multi-million-dollar, multi-concept, multi-divisional restaurant group based in the Twin Cities and Naples FL.

Having been born into the restaurant industry through family owned restaurants, Nick has been involved in restaurant operations for almost 25 years. He continues to share his passion for the Hospitality industry by using his interests in exploring new technologies and always looking for ways to provide great solutions for the business and to enhance guest experiences.

Upcoming Events

January 31, 2019
April 18, 2019
October 10, 2019

London

Chapter Chairs

Chapter Chair: Jeremy Dunderdale

Head of Business Solutions, TGI Fridays UK

Jeremy is the Head of Business Solutions at TGI Fridays UK with a long background in the hospitality sector covering both public and private sector including experience in operations and finance. Jeremy is interested in exploring new technologies and always looking for ways to provide great solutions for the business and to enhance guest experiences.

Chapter Vice Chair: Jon Taylor

Head of IT, Carluccio’s

Jon is the Head of IT at Carluccio’s, an international Italian restaurant group, offering a unique combination of all-day dining and food retailing artisanal Italian speciality foods. He is a commercially astute technology leader with the vision to deliver operational effectiveness and enable strategic transformation within service based businesses. Jon focusses on ensuring every IT-based decision that impacts on guest experience, technology is leveraged and seamlessly implemented. He is the link between IT and the business, adopting a strategic approach to successful IT leadership, engaging with key stakeholders, business heads and 3rd parties, delivering ‘cost appropriate’ IT solutions and business process change.

Upcoming Events

February 12, 2019
April 30, 2019
November 12, 2019

Vancouver

Chapter Chairs

Chapter Chair: Cavin Green

VP Business Technology, Boston Pizza

With over 10 years’ experience within food service, and Franchise sectors across Western Canada, Cavin Green is currently the Vice President, Business Technology at Boston Pizza International. Leading the IT team for Canada’s #1 Casual Dining Brand; Cavin is responsible for delivering support, solutions, and innovation to all Stakeholders – including Business functions, Franchisees, front-line Employees, and of course – over 40 Million Guests each year. Cavin attended SAIT, Athabasca University, and the University of British Columbia; and holds his PMP designation.

Upcoming Events

January 30, 2019
April 24, 2019

Washington, D.C.

Chapter Chairs

Chapter Chair: Zerrick Pearson

VP of IT, Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Zerrick Pearson is the Vice President of Information Technology for Five Guys Enterprises, L.L.C., a company that operates more than 1350 franchised or company-operated restaurants domestically and internationally. Zerrick is responsible for developing and implementing information technology initiatives across the Enterprise. Having been born into the restaurant industry through family owned restaurants, Zerrick has been involved in restaurant operations for almost 25 years.

Zerrick is currently implementing a cloud-based POS solution that allows Five Guys to leverage new and emerging technologies to drive efficiencies while focused improving the customer experience.

Prior to his time with Five Guys, Zerrick held the position of Vice President of Information Technology with a publicly traded Washington, DC based Company. While there Zerrick managed all IT initiatives, bridging the gap between IT, Finance and Operations.

Zerrick is a member of the IFBTA and various other industry specific IT organizations.

Zerrick enjoys researching emerging technology, soccer, politics and movie nights with his family.

Upcoming Events

February 7, 2019
April 23, 2019
October 15, 2019