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Restaurant Leader of the Year Nominees: Creating Success Against All Odds

About This Webinar

Extraordinary leadership during an historic economic and social crisis has earned five restaurant CEOs a nomination for the industry’s top honor, Restaurant Business’ Restaurant Leader of the Year. The nominees for the 2021 award are Jose Cil, CEO of Burger King and Popeyes parent Restaurant Brands International; David Deno, CEO of Outback and Carrabba’s parent Bloomin’ Brands; Rob Lynch, CEO of Papa John’s; Charlie Morrison, CEO of Wingstop; and Todd Penegor, CEO of Wendy’s.

One of the five will be selected by the editors of Restaurant Business as the 2021 Restaurant Leader of the Year. Before the winner is announced in June we’re bringing together this extraordinary group for an exclusive discussion with the National Restaurant Association Show.

Join these successful restaurant chain executives as they reveal the secrets to their successes, their approach to building business during the most challenging year in the industry’s history, and insights on the risks that worked and those that didn’t. Each executive will give their outlook for the coming year and where they see the industry headed as customers come back to restaurants. You won’t want to miss this dynamic session as we introduce the 2021 Restaurant Leader of the Year nominees.


This webinar is approved for 1 Continuing Education Hour by the American Culinary Federation (ACF), and 1 Continuing Education Unit by the Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI). Please contact programming@winsightmedia.com after you've attended the session to request a certificate of attendance.

Who can view: Everyone
Webinar Price: Free
Featured Presenters
Webinar hosting presenter
CEO, Restaurant Brands International
José Cil was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Restaurant Brands International Inc., in January 2019. Mr. Cil has served as President of Burger King since 2014. In his prior roles, Mr. Cil has served as Executive Vice President and President of Europe, the Middle East and Africa for Burger King Worldwide and its predecessor for four years. Mr. Cil also served as Vice President and Regional General Manager for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in Florida, Vice President of Company Operations for Burger King Corporation and Division Vice President, Mediterranean and NW Europe Divisions, EMEA for a subsidiary of Burger King.

Mr. Cil is a director of Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc., Burger King’s largest franchisee.
Webinar hosting presenter
CEO, Bloomin’ Brands
David (Dave) Deno was named Chief Executive Officer of Bloomin’ Brands and a member of the Board of Directors in March 2019 after serving as the company’s Chief Financial and Administrative Officer.

As CEO, he is responsible for developing and executing the company’s long-term objectives, growth strategies, and initiatives for its portfolio of casual and fine-dining brands, which include Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, and Aussie Grill by Outback.

Previously, Dave was responsible for the company’s business analytics and global strategy, as well as all areas of financial planning and reporting for Bloomin’ Brands, including accounting services, corporate tax, treasury, and investor relations. His scope of responsibility also included global supply chain, development, and productivity. He joined the company in 2012 from Best Buy, where he served as President of Asia and Chief Financial Officer for Best Buy International. His hospitality industry career has included more than 15 years in senior level operations and financial positions at PepsiCo/YUM Brands and eight years at Burger King.

Dave earned an MBA from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Macalester College. He has been a Macalester trustee since 1998.
Webinar hosting presenter
President and CEO, Papa John’s
Rob Lynch was appointed as President and Chief Executive Officer in August 2019. Mr. Lynch joined Papa John’s from Arby’s Restaurant Group where he served as President since August 2017, and served as Brand President and Chief Marketing Officer from August 2013 to August 2017. During his time at Arby’s, he led the brand’s dramatic turn-around to strong growth and profitability. Prior to Arby’s, he served as Vice President of Marketing at Taco Bell.
Webinar hosting presenter
Chairman and CEO, Wingstop
Charles R. Morrison has served as Wingstop's Chief Executive Officer since June 2012, and as Chairman of their board of directors since March 2017. Prior to joining Wingstop, Charlie was Chief Executive Officer of Rave Restaurant Group, a publicly traded international pizza chain, from January 2007 to June 2012. Charlie has also held multiple senior leadership positions during his more than 20 years of restaurant experience, including serving as President of Steak & Ale and The Tavern Restaurants for Metromedia Restaurant Group, as well as various management positions at Kinko’s, Boston Market and Pizza Hut.
Webinar hosting presenter
President and CEO, Wendy’s
Todd has served as Wendy’s President and Chief Executive Officer since May 2016.

His vision is to create a company culture where Wendy’s people feel empowered, valued and appreciated to be their very best – a leadership style that has generated predictable, sustainable growth as an efficient growth company. He has also built a strong, collaborative partnership with the franchise community and helped attract new franchisees to join the Wendy’s family to build an even stronger Wendy’s brand.

Prior to his employment with the Company, Todd worked at Kellogg Company, a global leader in food products, from 2000 to 2013 where he held several key leadership positions, including Vice President of Kellogg Company and President of U.S. Snacks from 2009 to 2013, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Kellogg Europe from 2007 to 2009 and Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Kellogg USA and Kellogg Snacks from 2002 to 2007. Prior to joining Kellogg, Todd worked for 12 years at Ford Motor Company in various positions, including strategy, mergers and acquisitions, the controller’s office and treasury.

Todd joined Wendy’s as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in 2013. He was appointed Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer in 2014, then promoted to President and Chief Financial Officer in early 2016.

His connection to Wendy’s runs deep.

Todd’s father was a Wendy’s franchisee in the family’s hometown of Iron Mountain, Michigan, so he connected to the business from a young age and today places great emphasis on creating value for franchisees, as well as customers. It was also during this time in Upper Michigan that he developed his love for the Dave’s Single combo. Today he orders it with a Coke Zero.

Todd has served as a director of Ball Corporation since October 2019, is treasurer of the Michigan State University Eli Broad College of Business Advisory Board and is actively involved with the community by serving on the board of trustees of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. He is also the executive sponsor of Wendy’s Black Employee Resource Group, WeBERG.

Todd was also awarded with the 2018 Gold Stevie Award for Executive of the Year, Food & Beverage. In 2017, he was named the Michigan State University Eli Broad College of Business Outstanding Alumni Achievement award winner.

He earned his Bachelor of Science in Accounting and his MBA in Finance from Michigan State University, where he also serves as a member of the school’s Eli Broad College of Business advisory board.
Webinar hosting presenter
Editor-in-Chief, Restaurant Business
Restaurant Business Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Maze is a longtime industry journalist who writes about restaurant finance, mergers and acquisitions and the economy, with a particular focus on quick-service restaurants. He writes daily about the factors influencing the operating environment, including labor and food costs and various industry trends such as technology and delivery.

Jonathan has been widely quoted in media publications such as the New York Times and the Washington Post and has appeared on CNBC, Yahoo Finance and NPR. He writes a weekly finance-focused newsletter for Restaurant Business, The Bottom Line, and is the host of the weekly podcast “A Deeper Dive.”
Webinar hosting presenter
Editor at Large & VP of Content Innovation, Restaurant Business
Peter Romeo is Editor At Large and Vice President of Content Innovation for the foodservice group of Winsight Media, which includes RestaurantBusinessOnline.com and FoodServiceDirector.com, along with their print reflections.

He also helps to plan content for Winsight’s foodservice-related conferences and expositions, including the National Restaurant Association’s annual convention, the Restaurant Leadership Conference, Restaurant Directions, MenuDirections and FSTEC.

As VP of content innovation, Romeo is also involved in brainstorming new ways of delivering content and generating revenue for the foodservice group.

The multi-media positions cap a 40-year career as a business journalist, including 30 years as a chain-restaurant specialist for such information channels as Nation’s Restaurant News, QSR magazine, and the website of the National Restaurant Association. Romeo’s columns for Restaurant Business earned him two Jesse H. Neal Awards, business publishing’s equivalent of the Pulitzers.

He has been a frequent speaker at industry events, and delivered the commencement address to the graduating class of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, in 2007.

Romeo graduated from New York University in 1979 with honors in history and journalism, and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He resides in the upstate New York town of Olivebridge with his wife, Holly Klokis; three rescued greyhounds; and four slightly nervous cats.
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