About Us

Powered by our purpose, we believe people are the heart of our industry.

We're building an equitable and inclusive restaurant industry, where all faces and flavors have a seat at the table. We do this through education, development, and early-stage investment in people and brands who represent the cultural fabric of this country.


Meet Our Amazing Team

We have 160+ years of collective experience in the foodservice industry.

Founder, CEO
Lauren Fernandez
Former General Counsel of FOCUS Brands turned restaurant operator, Lauren brings nearly 20 years experience in brand licensing; franchising; and consumer product development.
James Kahler
Successful multi-unit operator dedicated to coaching and mentoring business owners and their teams to maximize top line sales growth and bottom line profitability.
Chief People + Culture Officer
Lissa Bowen
Lissa Bowen has over three decades of experience in restaurant operations, talent recruitment, retention, and company culture.
VP, Brand Marketing
Lauren Barash
Lauren brings nearly 20 years of experience in integrated marketing, PR, branding and digital strategy with brands like Moe’s Southwest Grill, Edible and Zaxby’s.
Interim CFO
Sam Patterson
Sam Patterson has over three decades of experience in finance, accounting and technology, and nearly 15 years working in the restaurant industry.

Our Board of Directors

These industry trailblazers help guide us on our path

President + CEO
Roger David
Roger David serves as the CEO of Gold Star Chili and Tom & Chee with a keen focus on training, development and branding.
652979c720f2a123248c144a_Stephanie Stuckey
Stephanie Stuckey
As Chair of Stuckey's, Stephanie Stuckey has led a major comeback driving sales from $2MM to $14MM. Prior to leading Stuckey's she was a trial lawyer, state representative and Director of Sustainability for Atlanta.
647e04b13590d3d69db17c2e_Jeff Heck
Co-Founder + CEO
Jeff Heck
Jeff Heck co-founded Monday Night Brewing more than 10 years ago and currently serves as the company’s CEO.
647e08971c9866f85679f7d3_John C. Metz - Justin Chan Photography
Co-founder + CEO
John C. Metz, Jr.
As executive chef, CEO and co-founder of Marlow’s Tavern, the Woodall and Sterling Culinary Management, Metz is highly skilled at developing and operating successful restaurant companies.
652979d1f93a28fdd361a5c3_Meredith Sandland
Meredith Sandland
Meredith Sandland is the CEO of Empower Delivery. Previously she was CDO at Taco Bell and COO at Kitchen United.
652979b97df726eb56ce53e6_Jennifer Ryan
Jennifer Ryan
As CEO and Founder of BLUEROOT and co-founder and CEO of Croux, Jennifer Ryan is on a mission to fuel local economies beginning with food.

Our Client Partners

The Stories We're Helping Tell


Neal and Samir Idnani

Founders of NaanStop, your favorite place to grab everyday, soulful Indian dishes like chicken tikka masala, dal and rice, award-winning samosas and rosewater lemonade.

Brandon West and Colin Miles

Founders of Fripper's, an artisan meats wholesale company. They're the hot dogs, pepperoni, bologna and bratwurst with easy-to-read, non-scary labels because they're making real, quality food.

Brandon & Colin


Our Values

The "How" Behind Our "Why"


Chart your course for success.

We’re cultivating the future of the restaurant industry where all faces and flavors have a seat at the table. Join our email list to stay in touch.