The National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show has announced that Alexis Ohanian—venture capitalist, founder of Seven Seven Six, co-founder and former executive chairman of Reddit, and best-selling author—will headline the 2022 event as the keynote speaker. With his vast knowledge and experiences in today’s new business realities, Ohanian will shed light on how embracing disruption can amplify growth, personally and professionally. The National Restaurant Association Show will be held May 21–24, 2022, at McCormick Place in Chicago, with Ohanian’s keynote, presented by American Express, taking place on Saturday, May 21 at 2:00 p.m.
“We are thrilled to welcome Mr. Ohanian as this year’s keynote speaker at the National Restaurant Association Show,” said Tom Cindric, president of Winsight Exhibitions. “Over the past two years, our industry has been impacted by significant disruptions. By sharing his futuristic viewpoints, our goal is that Mr. Ohanian will inspire our attendees to not only embrace but also create disruptions and fully capitalize on the emerging opportunities that will evolve our businesses and the foodservice industry as a whole.”
Ohanian’s keynote will address many of the disruptions that are impacting the foodservice industry today. During the session, he will navigate the potential effect of crypto currency, sharing basic concepts and thoughts about how foodservice professionals can prepare for the shift. He will discuss how web 3.0 is changing the future of business and how it will translate to the foodservice industry. With an unrelenting commitment to make the world a better place, Ohanian will also speak to the power and importance of diversity within the industry.
The session’s moderator, Starr Marcello, deputy dean of MBA Programs at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, will guide the conversation with Ohanian through expertise in entrepreneurship and innovation. Prior to serving as Deputy Dean, Marcello led the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation where she invested in the successful and dramatic expansion of the entrepreneurial ecosystem at the university. Marcello has helped hundreds of students, faculty, staff, and community members launch the next generation of high-impact ventures, including the founding teams of Grubhub, Braintree Venmo, Simple Mills, and Tovala. She is also passionate about advancing diversity in entrepreneurship and often speaks on this topic.
As a tech founder and venture capitalist, Ohanian embraces—and often creates—disruption, beginning with an epiphany that becoming an attorney was not his destiny, to co-founding Reddit [reddit.com] in his University of Virginia dorm and launching the venture upon graduation. Reddit.com ranks among the most popular websites and social platforms in the United States. It was initially funded by Y Combinator in 2005 and sold to Conde Nast in 2006. Ohanian returned as executive chairman in 2014 to help lead the turnaround of the now independent company.
In 2016 Ohanian left to co-found Initialized Capital—a seed-stage venture fund and built it to $100B in market value through early investments in companies like Coinbase, Opendoor, Instacart, Patreon, and Ro.
In 2020, Ohanian resigned from the Reddit board in protest and left his role at Initialized Capital to launch Seven Seven Six, a new firm built like a technology company that deploys venture capital. Since launch, Seven Seven Six has quickly grown its total assets under management to over $750M and has been at the forefront of emerging technologies and trends, leading competitive investments in companies across sectors including software, crypto, healthtech, food tech, climate tech, and space tech.
In addition to Ohanian’s keynote address, the National Restaurant Association Show will hold a featured session, presented by Uber Eats, titled “Restaurants in the Hot Seat” on Monday, May 23 at 1:00 p.m. to examine the future of restaurants and how consumers’ behaviors will continue to evolve. Led by Technomic and guests from top foodservice operations, the session will address these topics in a new and fast-paced debate. Operators will also share how they’re putting valuable Technomic industry and consumer insights into practice, along with actions needed to tackle today’s and tomorrow’s challenges in order to win big in business.
The National Restaurant Association Show is the place to find creative new solutions to today’s challenges in the restaurant industry, from the latest food and beverage trends to emerging technologies to operational innovations that will boost the bottom line. The Show’s expert-led education program will feature timely sessions and deep-dive workshops to help build the future of the industry, with focuses on ghost kitchens and virtual brands, foodservice technology, culinary insights, operations solutions, new consumer trends, wellness, workforce recruitment and development, and more.