Taco Bell Division CEO Mark King to Explain the Changing Needs of Restaurants at the FEDA Annual Conference

The distributors and dealers that find the most success are the ones that best understand their customers. They anticipate operator needs and have the skills and technologies required to fulfill them in a way that leads to repeatable positive outcomes. This reality is why the 2020 FEDA Annual Conference is moving away from the motivational speaker format of previous years to one much more aligned with the association’s most important strategic goal: strengthening the value of distributors and reinforcing their indispensability to operators and manufacturers.

The 2020 conference theme, The Operator and the Will to Win, and the Thursday keynote speaker and general session reflects this transformation. Attendees will learn from the CEO of one of the nation’s largest and most forward-thinking restaurant chains as well as one of the leading researchers into the trends and market changes that will affect restaurant operators during the next decade.

Keynote Presentation

Thursday’s opening keynote speaker will be Mark King, CEO of the Taco Bell Division of YUM! Brands. In 2018, Taco Bell ranked sixth among the nation’s top quick-serve and fast-casual restaurants and operates more than 7,100 restaurants in 30 countries. The brand plans to become a $15 billion company in global system sales with 9,000 restaurants globally. Calling him a “retail innovator,” YUM! Brands hired King in July 2019 “to drive the brand’s growth strategy, franchise operations, and performance.”

This will not be the first time King has appeared at the FEDA Annual Conference. During his previous tenure as CEO of TaylorMade, King was a featured speaker at the event, sharing his strategies for moving the golf equipment manufacturer from $300 million to more than $1.85 billion in annual sales.

King’s new role at Taco Bell positions him to provide FEDA close and critical insights on how foodservice equipment distribution is changing and what the industry needs to do to keep pace with that evolution. His presentation will focus on growth, investing in people, and encouraging an innovative culture, and he is excited about speaking to FEDA members and partners in San Diego on March 26, 2020.

Presentation Moderated by Joe Carbonara, Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research and knowledge from the National Restaurant Association (NRA), will talk with Joe Carbonara, editorial director of Foodservice Equipment & Supplies, along with guest dealers and manufacturers about the NRA’s comprehensive and recently published 2030 Restaurant Industry Actionable Insights for the Future Report. Representing the nation’s second-largest private sector industry, the NRA provides research, education, and advocacy for its membership, which is comprised of more than 500,000 foodservice establishments.

Riehle will discuss the reporting’s findings, which forecasts the state of the economy, workforce, and consumer demographics through 2030; and the disruption and factors from outside the industry that could affect restaurant operations in the coming years.

The NRA report lists a number of key predictions that Riehle and Carbonara are expected to touch on during their segment, including:

• The definition of “restaurant” will change. Some restaurants will morph into a hybrid model, offering counter service, full service, takeout and delivery, and meal kits. The delivery-only restaurant is on the rise through virtual restaurants and “ghost kitchens.”

• The increasing demand for off-premises meals is transforming the restaurant industry and operators will need to find ways to tap into this new revenue channel. Delivery orders are booming, and business models are shifting fast to find ways to serve that customer base.

• Labor costs, real-estate costs, and increasing investments in delivery and technology will continue to put pressure on the restaurant’s profit and loss statements. There will be a strong motivation to automate routine back-of-house tasks in restaurant kitchens and bars, as well as escalate the use of kiosks and digital ordering.

• Restaurants will see new opportunities to apply data analytics to predict and capitalize on consumer demand and optimize supply economics.

• The skills and talent restaurants seek in their workforce will evolve to support a new technology ecosystem. Restaurants will compete with other industries for tech talent.

• As the supply chain grows increasingly complex, operators will leverage blockchain and other new traceability technologies, ingredient and sourcing data, automated food safety management systems, and advances in utility and waste management to become more efficient, transparent organizations.

• Increased competition for customers, including from convenience and grocery stores.

• More restaurants will be designed to reduce the use of energy and water and minimize waste.

• Technology will be more effectively used to control costs and enhance management efficiency.

• The federal government will enact more data-privacy rules to regulate how businesses handle customer data.

• Automation and robotics will play a greater role in food preparation and the kitchen line. Meanwhile, artificial intelligences with knowledge of cooking techniques, food chemistry, recipes, and alcohol will produce unexpected new culinary and beverage experiences. 

Mark King

As CEO of Taco Bell Division, Mark King is responsible for driving overall brand strategy and performance of the business in the United States and internationally. Drawing on his retail experience and track record of driving innovation, brand relevance, and culture, King accelerates the innovation, sales growth, and unique brand identity that makes Taco Bell a leading franchise.

Before joining Taco Bell, King served as president of adidas North America from 2014-2018. Under his leadership, adidas market share doubled in under three years and sales tripled in four years. Further, King cultivated new energy for the company’s culture resulting in the double number of employees at adidas, an industry-shattering retention rate, the highest employee net promoter score in the company, and more than 500,000 job applications in one year.

Prior to adidas, King spent 34 years at TaylorMade, quickly rising from a territory sales representative to the president of TaylorMade in 1999 and CEO in 2002.

Learned from his nearly 40-year career, King believes in creating the right atmosphere to unleash the potential of people to make extraordinary breakthroughs happen. As a leader, he steers with a belief system based on keeping a growth mindset, investing in people, and encouraging an innovative culture to achieve success.

Hudson Riehle

As the senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the National Restaurant Association, Hudson Riehle directs the association’s consumer, economic, technology, market, human resources, tourism, and operations research as well as oversees its extensive knowledge center activities. Frequently cited by major national and international news organizations and appearing on national television broadcasts, he has authored a variety of articles and serves as an information source and spokesperson for the restaurant and hospitality industry.

Riehle received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Skidmore College in New York and his Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Appointed by the secretary of labor, he has been a member of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Business Research Advisory Council; a former chairman of the board of governors of the Alexandria (VA) Convention and Visitors Association; a member of the Center for Food Integrity Consumer Research Advisory Panel and the Wharton Executive Advisory Panel; and is currently included in the current edition of Who’s Who in America.

Joe Carbonara

Joe Carbonara is the editorial director for Foodservice Equipment & Supplies and restaurant development + design. In addition to his editorial efforts, Carbonara often represents both magazines at restaurant and foodservice industry events and was awarded CFESA’s Outstanding Support from an Allied Association/Press Partner in 2013. Prior to becoming editor in chief for FE&S in 2004, he was a marketing manager for SmithBucklin Corp., where he spent six years working with NAFEM.