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Restaurant Revitalization Speaker Series


The restaurant industry suffered devastating losses in 2020. With these harsh realities in mind, the WBC EmPWR Program at The NIIC developed the Restaurant Revitalization Speaker Series. Each virtual event features an Indiana restaurant industry expert and will be on a Monday or Wednesday this month, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Visit for more information.

Register here for each event:

MAYHEM with Thor Wood July 12, 2021, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m

MIRACLES with Mary Corinne "MC" Lowenstein July 19, 2021, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m

MARKETING with Bradley Houser July 21, 2021, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m

MENU with Brandon Gump July 26, 2021m 12:30 p.m to 1:30 p.m

MANAGEMENT with Justin Lance July 28, 2021, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m

The 2021 State of Restaurant Industry Report, published by The National Restaurant Association, January 26, 2021, reported "key findings regarding the impact of coronavirus on the restaurant industry include:

• Restaurant and foodservice industry sales fell by $240 billion in 2020 from an expected level of $899 billion.

• As of December 1, 2020, more than 110,000 eating and drinking places were closed for business temporarily, or worse, permanently.

• The eating and drinking place sector finished 2020 nearly 2.5 million jobs below its pre-coronavirus level."

The Restaurant Speaker Series focuses on five key areas: Mayhem, Miracles, Marketing, Menu, and Management.

Mayhem—human resources--get and keep the right people, July 12, 2021, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., featuring Thor Wood, Founder and CEO at SnapShyft. Wood is the Founder and CEO of SnapShyft, a Staffing-as-a-Service technology startup headquartered in Indianapolis, IN, U.S.A. The #1 most reliable staffing solution in the market, SnapShyft was founded by a leadership team with over two decades in foodservice & hospitality, 14 years in executive recruiting & staffing, and over 20 years in operations, finance, accounting, and HR. The SnapShyft platform has been featured in Business Insider, Modern Restaurant Management, TechCrunch, Success Magazine, Xconomy, Yahoo! News, Buzzfeed, Bar & Restaurant, Hospitality Tech Magazine.

Miracles—pivot and make it work, July 19, 2021, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., featuring Mary Corinne "MC" Lowenstein, Director of Marketing at Hop River Brewing Company. Lowenstein thrives on developing and marketing community engagement opportunities through experiences based on leisure activities and personal interests. She said her passion grows in providing and promoting positive interactions and connecting people through a common interest. She is also a Founder of the Northern Indiana Brewers Association and Beer Trail Passport.

Marketing—communicate your brand story, July 21, 2021, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., featuring Bradley Houser, Founder and CEO of EatHere Indy. Houser, Founder and CEO of EatHere Indy, is an entrepreneur and economic driver with a passion for high-growth opportunities. He is a media and tech leader in Indiana's fast-growing food/tech industry. EatHere Indy is headquartered in Indianapolis, with one mission: To bring diverse communities together through shared food experiences.

Menu- food concepts and planning, July 26, 2021, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., featuring Brandon Gump. Gump is the Chef and General Manager at Tri-Lakes Restaurant in Columbia City. He is also the owner of Rowdy Rooster Artisan Meats, a new charcuterie producer in Fort Wayne set to open in the late summer of 2021. Over his 15-year career in the restaurant industry, he has managed various restaurants and bars as well as served as a consultant to restaurants. He says the most significant issue in restaurants is consistency. Brandon focuses on building consistency and ultimately profitability for the restaurants he serves.

Management—create the magic through operations, hospitality, and culture, July 28, 2021, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., featuring Justin Lance, Regional Director of Operations at City BBQ. Lance is a successful role model with over 25 years of experience in the restaurant industry. His tenure includes multiple promotions at high-growth brands such as Bahama Breeze, Don Pablo's, and City Barbeque. Over the years, he and his teams have produced a talent pipeline, leading to internal promotions for teammates at the GM, department director, multi-unit leader, and new store opening levels. He excels in sales growth, people development, and building relationships with the guests in his restaurants.


Event Schedules

Due to ongoing precautions during the COVID-19 Pandemic, events may be subject to changes, attendance restrictions, or cancellations. Please check with the event host and or venue for any events you are planning to attend. 

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