MUFES 2024


January 29-31, 2024

B Ocean Resort,
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Online registration for MUFES 2024 has closed. Follow the event online on our Media Gallery web page.

Register For MUFES

Join Us at the B Ocean Resort, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Jan. 29-31!

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Organized by Foodservice Equipment Reports, MUFES is a one-of-a-kind event for foodservice equipment and supplies decision-makers from multiunit restaurant brands and noncommercial facilities. Two days of education sessions provide advanced, technical content. Attendees also will enjoy first-class dining, evening receptions and plenty of opportunities to network during the event.

What can you expect?

Efficiently Growing Unit Count

Designing for Digital Menu Orders

Myths About Going Electric

Optimizing Your Kitchen Exhaust System

Industry Forecast 2024

Trends in Equipment Maintenance

Mistakes To Avoid With Ventless Technologies

LEARN. Dine. Unwind

Hotel Reservations

Where & When is MUFES 2024?

MUFES is being held Jan. 29-31, 2024 at the B Ocean Resort in Fort
Lauderdale, Fla. Meetings are on Tues., Jan. 30 and Wed., Jan. 31.

1140 Seabreeze Blvd.
Approximately 6 miles from the Fort Lauderdale airport and 31 miles from Miami Int’l.
Overnight valet is $50/day + tax.

The MUFES room block is closed. Please contact Christine Palmer for more information. We still have a few rooms available as of January 12, 2024.

Highlights for MUFES 2024 will include:

  • Efficiently Growing Unit Count
  • Designing for Digital Menu Orders
  • Myths About Going Electric
  • Optimizing Your Kitchen Exhaust System
  • Industry Forecast 2024
  • Trends in Equipment Maintenance
  • Mistakes To Avoid With Ventless Technologies

2024 MUFES Speakers

Speaker Lee Baker

As vice president of product management for RATIONAL Cooking Systems, Lee brings 25+ years of operations, sales and product development experience, which provides him with in-depth foodservice market knowledge. Lee joined RATIONAL in 2008 and has served in many sales and leadership positions within the company, including vice president partner business, director of sales and regional sales manager. Lee has progressed throughout the organization over the last 16 years, leading the charge to educate and introduce the newest cooking technologies to the foodservice market. Lee currently leads a team of product management directors who have become the leading experts for each product segment at RATIONAL while being tasked with introducing new innovations for the future. Lee has a passion for connecting with the foodservice market and he is a veteran of the U.S. Military.

Vice President of Product Management

Speaker Natha Freiburg Dempsey

Natha Dempsey is president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute, the trade association for the North American foodservice packaging industry. At FPI, she advocates for the interests of the industry and champions its efforts to expand recycling and composting of foodservice packaging. In her previous position at FPI, Dempsey served as vice president. Prior to joining the association in 2010, she held various positions at SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association (now called Plastics Industry Association).

Foodservice Packaging Institute

David Henkes

As senior principal, David Henkes leads the beverage practice at Technomic and has a broad portfolio of clients and interest areas in food, beverage and nonfoods. He has done work across nearly every vertical within the industry and has led a wide variety of client engagements and strategic assignments. He also has led much of Technomic’s custom international work in the past decade. David has appeared regularly on Bloomberg TV, Thompson Reuters, CNBC, Fox Business, MSNBC, CBS, NPR, ABC and MarketWatch, among others. He has been quoted in leading publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Crain’s Chicago Business, Reuter’s and Associated Press articles, as well as industry trade magazines such as Foodservice Equipment Reports, Restaurant Business, Nation’s Restaurant News and Beverage Industry Magazine. Before joining Technomic, David honed his international food experience working with Nestle Germany in Frankfurt. Prior to his food industry experience he was employed as a federal investigator in Washington, D.C.

Senior Principal &
Head of Strategic Partnerships

Speaker Joanne Heyob

As senior vice president of operations strategy and design at WD Partners, Joanne brings 20 years of experience rooted in retail and store operations. With a proven track record of driving innovative growth strategies for retail brands, she leads WD’s operations team, which is a key component and differentiator in its end-to-end offering. Joanne serves as a client partner and strategic team leader, overseeing all project work while ensuring it meets customer expectations as well as the brand and operational needs of the business. Her team develops new concepts for front-of-house and back-of-house operations across all verticals in addition to operations assessments, labor recommendations and logistical mapping. As an active liaison with WD’s strategy and insights, brand and design, and architecture teams, she brings a unique perspective on the industry that enables WD to bring innovation to life through operations-right executions. Joanne was most recently at Express, leading its store operations, which included ensuring seamless integration with omnichannel functions like BOPIS, ship from store and return, as well as overseeing merchandise flow practices, business analytics, labor modeling and back-of-house logistics. She’s held key leadership roles at Frontgate, The Limited and Victoria’s Secret, where she spent 14 years in management and store operations.

WD Partners
SVP, Operations Strategy & Design

Speaker Adam Jarboe (1)

For over seven years, Adam has had the pleasure of working for Chick-fil-A, a privately held, quick-dining restaurant chain of approximately 3,000 restaurants operating out of Atlanta. Currently, as principal team lead, supply chain equipment/smallwares sourcing, he leads a team responsible for all kitchen equipment and smallwares procurement activities. Adam has served in the foodservice industry most of his career, where he started with Yum Brands serving on the sustainability team before transitioning to Taco Bell leading equipment innovation. In 2016, he joined Chick-fil-A Supply Chain. Adam, an Indiana native, has a B.S. in mechanical engineering and an M.S. in engineering management, both from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Adam has been married 15 years and has three elementary children ranging in age from four to 10. Outside of work, you’ll find Adam and his wife raising their children while wannabe homesteading, backpacking and reading the Bible.

Equipment/Smallwares Sourcing, Supply Chain

Speaker Glenn Loughridge

Glenn serves as Auburn University's director of campus dining and concessions. A native of Clearwater, Fla., Glenn is a 1994 Auburn alumnus, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in communications. Since returning to Auburn in 2012, Glenn has worked tirelessly to forge relationships with student groups, faculty and staff as well as Auburn’s dining contractor. He is using his innovative, creative and forward-thinking skillset to create a unique campus dining experience that is dynamic and responsive to changes in students' dining needs and tastes. Glenn is passionate about partnering with academic units to provide students with hands-on learning experiences. His partnership with Horticulture resulted in the acquisition of Aquaponics greenhouses and two Freight Farms giving Horticulture students experience in controlled environment agriculture and their fellow students access to the freshest possible produce. His most recent project in 2021 included students in Hunger Studies, Social Work and volunteer organizations combating food insecurity. Using an unrestricted grant, he was able to renovate a dining space to create a Nutrition Resource Center that houses the Campus Food Pantry and the food recovery network Campus Kitchens.

Auburn University
Director of Campus Dining & Concessions

Speaker Pika Patel

Pika is the global business development manager for UL Solutions. She joined the company almost 20 years ago as a controls engineer. She is an expert in functional safety, automation and connected systems for residential, commercial and industrial applications. Prior to UL, Pika’s experience includes designing automotive controls at Motorola Inc.

UL Solutions
Global Business Development Manager

Speaker Nick Patterson

As senior vice president of technology, Nick supports technology development and innovation endeavors across the Welbilt brand portfolio. Nick’s extensive technical background, along with his ability to consider and communicate the impacts of technology implementation, make him a great match for this challenging role. He also continues to serve as the president of KitchenConnect, Welbilt’s IoT cloud platform, since 2022. A native of Evansville, Ind., Nick is a proud 2002 Purdue alumnus. His career started in home appliances at Whirlpool Corp., where he designed refrigeration systems. He joined the Welbilt research and development team in 2010 and later spent a year in Eglfing, Germany, where he led a new oven platform launch. After returning to the U.S., he became the vice president of engineering for Welbilt and led the technology and new product development teams for all hot-side engineering groups. In 2016, Nick was promoted to vice president and managing director of Merco. Most recently in 2022, he was promoted to the president of Merco.

Senior Vice President of Technology

Speaker Daniel Reese

Daniel L. Reese is a 42-year veteran of the commercial foodservice repair industry. He started his career as a service technician and went on to be co-owner of a service company in Florida. His current position allows him to express his true passion of training and educating the next generation of service technicians as the director of training for the Commercial Food Equipment Service Association (CFESA). To honor Dan’s passion for training, CFESA awarded him with its Dedication to Training Award in 2019.

Director of Training

Speaker Don Roberts

Don is vice president of global architecture and design at Dine Brands with 30 years of experience in architecture, design, branding and building. Don is responsible for ensuring the design and execution of restaurant developments are coordinated and aligned to deliver dynamic guest experiences through sustainable scopes of work and provide return on investment. Additionally, Don is responsible for ownership and execution of A&D services across global platforms consisting of traditional, nontraditional, ghost kitchens and international restaurant development. Prior to joining Dine in 2016, Don founded Don Roberts DESIGN, a design and integration consultancy serving creative development for the entertainment, amusement, hospitality, automotive and restaurant industries. Before founding DRD, Don served as director of concept integration and design at Yum Brands, where he led a diverse team collaborating within a multidiscipline environment of architecture, engineering, marketing, operations, finance, strategic planning, development, construction, franchise owners and consultants to support new-store development, growth initiatives and system remodeling. Prior to his role at Yum Brands, Don was principal production designer and art director at Walt Disney Imagineering. Don resides in Murrieta, Calif., with his wife, Phyllis, and two children, Lauren and Cameron.

Dine Brands
VP of Architecture and Design

Speaker Nadine Rodriguez

Nadine is the director of supply chain at Noodles & Co. She is a results-driven professional with a solid and extensive background planning, directing and executing many strategic sourcing opportunities, with an elevated focus on kitchen equipment, FF&E, as well as many other supply chain categories. Nadine has more than 20 years of experience in development and procurement working for Chipotle Mexican Grill and Noodles. Her work on Noodles’ culinary layout and design in 2019 transformed the brand’s operational workflow and helped reduce labor, shorten cook times, increase throughput and reduce buildout costs associated with cooking equipment. The success of the project continues to be a significant part of Noodles’ initiatives. Nadine has a proven record of leading highly successful teams that deliver long term business development profitability. She is always one step ahead and is constantly looking for ways to optimize and strategically lead a business forward into the future!

Noodles & Co.
Director of Supply Chain

Speaker Tarah Color

As vice president and shareholder at Ricca Design Studios, Tarah is heavily involved in planning, concept and schematic design, and oversees the design process through documentation and construction administration. Her designs fit within the vision and financial goals of the team, with a focus on sustainable approaches to operations. Tarah started her career at Whole Foods Market, developing their Rocky Mountain presence and Green Mission program. Now at Ricca Design Studios for 15 years, she has deep project experience in public assembly, hotels, resorts, colleges, universities, healthcare, B&I and restaurants. She is a sought after expert of sustainability in the foodservice industry. She has a B.A. in business and environmental science from the University of Southern California and a MBA from the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business.

Ricca Design Studios
Vice President

Speaker Rob Seely

Rob is the executive director, operations strategy and design at WD Partners. He has over 25 years of experience in the restaurant, grocery, retail and convenience industries. He focuses on helping clients develop a service model that meets customer expectations as well as the operational needs of the business. Rob leads a well-rounded team of industrial engineers, space planners and foodservice designers that develop new concepts for front-of-house and back-of-house operations, and he is responsible for managing multiple aspects of a project to meet timelines and budget specifications. Rob contributes to the success of numerous programs by providing insight that helps to develop the brand through accurate sized facilities and equipment packages, efficient back-of-house processes and layouts, and effective labor deployment practices. He works directly with clients to outline the parameters of each project, establishing the goals to deliver the largest ROI for each initiative. Throughout his career, Rob has worked with major brands in a variety of industries including Shake Shack, Nike, Publix, Target, Darden Restaurants, 7-Eleven, Whole Foods, Tim Hortons, BP and Aramark.

WD Partners
Executive Director, Operations Strategy & Design

Speaker Rodney Taylor (1)

Rodney began his career with Jersey Mike’s Subs as a franchisee in 2003. He and a friend, now business partner, opened their first location in Atlanta shortly after college. They simultaneously started a general contracting firm to build their own store. Their reputation spread as existing franchisees/builders and its uniqueness brought opportunity with it. In less than five years, they were building stores across 15 states, focusing on the East Coast. After completing over 250 new stores and over 800 retrofits for Jersey Mike’s, they were invited to lead the construction and design team for the brand. Since 2014, Rodney has led the team in growing the brand’s unit count to 2,700 stores, opening an average of 300 stores per year over the last three years. Their current projections are pacing to continue their growth toward 300 to 350 stores per year moving forward. During COVID, the team retrofitted 1,800 existing locations in 18 months. Rodney is just amazed each and every day with the unbelievable construction team at Jersey Mike’s.

Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems
VP of Construction

Speaker Tiffany Vassos

Tiffany Vassos

Dave's Hot Chicken
VP of Design & Construction

Speaker Michelle Walsh

Michelle holds the title of director, store design, formats and lifecycle programs at Wawa and is chiefly responsible for store design, any new formats and existing store construction whether remodels or new program cut-ins. Michelle has been with Wawa for 25 years, holding various positions within marketing, supply chain and real estate, and has experience in both design and the operational execution requirements of the Wawa space. She has led various projects in her tenure including the development of the Fresh Channel, Wawa’s commissary, the robust remodel program and the expansion of Wawa headquarters. Currently, Michelle is working on the development of the Travel Center Format and the new prototype development project, seeking to create a prototype design for the next 10 years.

Director, Store Design,
Formats and Lifecycle Programs

Speaker Scott Warrington (1)

Scott currently serves as director of engineering and innovation for Panera Bread. His career started at Yum Brands after graduating from Miami University in 2004. He then earned his master’s degree in engineering from UL Speed School. For 13 years, he worked for several Yum Brands (KFC and Pizza Hut), both on the domestic and international side in equipment and operational engineering. He then moved to Panera Bread in 2014 and has since led the engineering team through many changes. Changes include the introduction of mobile kiosks, app ordering, delivery, new formats and more menu changes than he can count! In 2017, he won the Young Lion Award from Foodservice Equipment Reports magazine and has since contributed to the publication on several occasions. Scott is married with four kids and enjoys outdoor activities, including running, hiking and camping.

Director of Engineering

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Richard Young is the director of outreach at the Frontier Energy Food Service Technology Center, an unbiased, commercial foodservice, research-and-training facility known to most industry insiders as “fishnick.” Trained as an electrical engineer, Richard started his career in alternative energy, changing from energy-generation to energy-efficiency when he joined the FSTC research team over 30 years ago. He is a contributor to the USGBC’s LEED rating system and the EPA’s Energy Star program. Richard has lectured at UC Berkeley and UC Davis and taught a foodservice sustainability class at Diablo Valley College. Richard is a former member of the National Restaurant Association’s Conserve Advisory Council and is a past fellow of the Hobart Center for Foodservice Sustainability. Richard focuses his efforts on translating Frontier Energy’s 34 years of foodservice research into practical information. He has created and delivered over 1,000 presentations and classes during the last 30 years and authored numerous research reports and articles in magazines, newsletters and on the web. He also is the creator and author of the online Foodservice Energy Efficiency Expert (Fe3) training and certification program (

Frontier Energy


headshot 2

David Zabrowski is vice president of Frontier Energy, a consulting firm focusing on driving economic growth while lowering environmental impact, and manager of the Food Service Technology Center, the leading resource for energy efficiency in commercial foodservice. In addition to managing the FSTC, David focuses on connecting with major stakeholders across the commercial buildings sector to create new opportunities for energy optimization through utility and government sponsored programs and industry collaboratives. This effort has been a major catalyst for change in the industry, opening new markets for innovation. David has a passion for food, constantly monitoring (and sampling) the latest culinary trends. He balances his interest in good food with his hobby as an amateur film photographer. David has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif., and 30 years of experience in energy efficiency research.  

Frontier Energy
Vice President


Allison Rezendes

Allison Rezendes

Foodservice Equipment Reports
Chief Content Officer


Lauren Coughlin

Lauren Coughlin

Foodservice Equipment Reports
Managing Editor


Cancellation Policy

Cancellations after Mon., Jan. 15, 2024, will be a full credit towards attending MUFES 2025 or MUFES 2026. For more information, please contact Christine Palmer.

Gain insights into what's working in 2024. Connect and have fun.

The Multiunit Foodservice Equipment Symposium is becoming known as a "can't miss" event. In an intimate setting in beautiful Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

You'll have the chance to hear from industry movers and have personal conversations with a wide range of professionals.

Unwind with golf, cocktails, dinners and plenty of networking opportunities as you refine your game plan for 2024.



"Operators have a lot going on, from labor and supply chain issues to inflation. The FER editors have hand-picked subject matter experts to deliver real-world solutions at MUFES 2024. Our goal is to help you do your jobs better."

Allison Rezendes

FER Chief Content Officer