Ideation Hospitality COO Scott Campanella will join Chef Jose Garces and Ballard Brands CDO Davis Mesa in a keynote panel at the Restaurant Franchising and Innovation Summit being held March 20-22 in Coral Gables. The trio will share how they’ve created a franchise opportunity that addresses the future of the restaurant industry.

Although Jose Garces is known around the globe as a James Beard Award-winning chef and owner of nearly 20 restaurant brands, the author and TV star understands the future of the restaurant industry is bringing high-quality experiences to the masses whether it be via virtual brands, limited-service concepts, home delivery or online cooking classes. The strategy led to the creation of his first fast casual brand, Buena Onda, abaja-inspired taqueria that he’s now franchising, thanks to his partnership with Ballard Brands, which owns over 21 restaurants, including WOW American Eats and nearly 175 units of PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans.

The partnership dates back to 2018, when Ballard Brands and Garces created Ideation Hospitality, for which Garces serves as chief culinary officer.

“We have been working towards a national expansion strategy that capitalizes on both of our strengths,” said Ideation Hospitality COO Scott Campanella, who will join Garces as a keynote speaker at the Restaurant Franchising and Innovation Summit, March 20-22 in Coral Gables, Florida. “This strategy is realized as we couple Ballard Brands experience in the QSR market with Jose’s culinary expertise and uncompromising dedication to hospitality.”

During “Catch the wave! How strategic alliances can impact a brand’s growth strategy,” the duo, along with Ballard Brands Chief Development Officer Davis Mesa, will share how they’ve created a franchise opportunity that offers a chef-created menu in a limited-service setting that is upscale enough for cocktails but also focuses on to-go and and delivery service models.

“The synergies between Ideation and Ballard Brands create a unique partnership capitalizing on our culinary and franchising expertise,” Mesa told FastCasual. “We hope by sharing our story we can help pave the way for other organizations to do the same.”

“I’m really excited for this experience to connect with the franchise community,” Garces said. “My hope for attendees is that they come away inspired to think outside of the box as they look for ways to grow their brands and concepts.”

Buena Onda is a special moment in the story of Ideation Hospitality, according to Campanella.

“This dynamic partnership brings together each others’ strengths allowing for a positive impact on all of our businesses,” he said in an email interview with FastCasual. “Ideation brings best in class operational management and practices allowing Chef to focus the culinary execution and Ballard brings their deep-rooted knowledge and reputation in the franchise industry to create a one of a kind franchise opportunity. My hope is to continue the exchange of ideas knowledge so that everyone walks away with something they can put into action.”

Paul Ballard, owner and founder of Ballard Brands & Ideation Hospitality, said he was honored for summit attendees to learn from his leadership team.

“The Restaurant Franchise & Innovation Summit is a vital resource for the fast casual industry,” he said. “Ballard Brands has been involved with the conference since it began, providing a great base to help us grow our brands. We’re honored to not only ‘pay it forward’ by emerging concepts and brands, but to introduce the newest member of our franchise portfolio, Buena Onda.”

Register here for the summit.

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Founded in 2000, Networld Media Group is a leading business-to-business (B2B) media communications company specializing in digital media, associations and events in the tech, banking, retail and food service industries. Online properties include,,,,,,,, and Annual events include the Fast Casual Executive Summit, the Restaurant Franchising & Innovation Summit, the Bank Customer Experience Summit (BCX), the Interactive Customer Experience Summit (ICX) and the Self-Service Innovation Summit.

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