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The Food Business Summit

Mon 11:00 AM to 3:15 PM
Topic: Marketing and Sales

The Wake Tech Small Business Center presents the Food Business Summit. This virtual summit is designed to help food businesses who want to maintain and grow their business. Our goal is to help you think and plan for a long-term strategy to build business prosperity.

Food Business Summit

Mon., Sept. 21, 11 A.M. - 3:15 P.M.


Keynote: Building Community (11 A.M. - Noon) Two powerful community builders, Jill Willett, founder of Triangle Food Makers, food entrepreneur, and Director of Apprenticeship Programs at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School and Maggie Kane, Executive Director of A Place at the Table in Downtown Raleigh will be kicking off the conversation. Their focus will be on building and activating your vision for your food business. Community collaborations and connections and more. You do not want to miss this important conversation.

Speakers: Jill Willett, Maggie Kane

Sessions 2 & 3 will be split and will be focused on Specialty Foods & Restaurants

Specialty Foods, Session 1: Positioning and Branding on the Shelf (12 - 1 P.M.) Join Sherry Barefoot and Cathy Ma of Got to Be NC to discuss branding, product positioning, and exporting your food based product. There are many resources to help you navigate the specialty foods world in a successful way to get your products on the shelf. This session will help you understand how to best position your product for purchase on the shelf.

Speakers: Sherry Barefoot, NCDA & Got to Be NC; Cathy Ma, NCDA

Restaurants/Food Trucks Track, Session 1: Branding and Storytelling (12 - 1 P.M.) Kristen Baughman of Tabletop Media Group and Amie Thompson of Creative Allies will be sharing important best practices for how restaurants, food trucks, food stalls, and food carts can connect with their customers and communities to tell the story of who they are and what their food means to them. This session will help you understand the heart of telling your restaurant food story and why it’s so important.

Speakers: Amie Thompson, Creative Allies; Kristen Baughman, Tabletop Media Group; Moderated by: Margo Metzger, NC Restaurant and Lodging Association

Specialty Foods Track, Session 2: Pricing, Scaling, and Investors (1 - 2:15 P.M.) Understanding how to scale a specialty foods business is vital to long-term sustainability. Getting on the shelf is often the easy part and many businesses don’t structure themselves for staying on the shelf. Mike Hockenberry, food entrepreneur and investor and Neal McTighe, food entrepreneur, founder of Nellino’s Sauce, and SBTDC Director will talk through best practices for scaling, pricing, and what to do to get and stay on the shelf.

Speakers: Neal McTighe, SBTDC; Mike Hockenberry, CEO of Disruptive Enterprises, KetoLogic, FBOMB, & trumacro; Moderated by Sue Ellsworth of Piedmonth Food & Agricultural Processing Center (PFAP)

Restaurants/Food Trucks Track, Session 2: Pricing, Sales, and Understanding What Makes my Restaurant Profitable (1 - 2:15 P.M.) The profit margin in the restaurant world is small and keeping a restaurant profitable can be tough. Join Dani Black of Bigger Tables for an important training on how to price and understand what makes your restaurant profitable. Dani works with many food based businesses and restaurants in working through common profitability challenges. Walk away with a better understanding of how to evaluate your current profitability and plan for the future.

Speaker: Dani Black, Bigger Tables

Closing Session: Grit: How I Made it Happen (2:15 - 3:15 P.M.) When the going gets tough, the tough keep going. Or is it the persistent? Our ending session is going to highlight a few local rockstar food entrepreneurs who keep it going. They are smart, resilient, and rise to the challenge of food. They will share their stories and what tools they’ve used to build their businesses.

Speakers: Preeti Waas, Cheeni Raleigh; Alex Brandwein, Brandwein's Bagels; Mike De Los Santos, Mike D's BBQ

Register here. Session links will be sent on Friday, September 18th and Monday, September 21.

Fee: No Cost

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