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National Restaurant Association - Colorado governor to address innovation conference

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Colorado governor to address innovation conference

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper will speak at the National Restaurant Association’s first Restaurant Innovation Summit in Denver this October.

As a pioneer of the brewpub movement that has since swept the country, Hickenlooper knows firsthand the importance of embracing new concepts and ideas to keep a business on top.

He opened Colorado’s first brewery in a restaurant in 1988.

Hickenlooper has said he didn't know anything about starting a business before opening his brewpub. After visiting a microbrewery in California, he decided that kind of business would be successful in Colorado.

Wynkoop Brewing Company helped revitalize the lower downtown section of Denver, and Hickenlooper went on to open more than a dozen restaurants in Colorado and elsewhere before starting his political career. He served nearly eight years as mayor of Denver and was elected as Colorado’s governor in 2010.

Pete Meersman, president and CEO of the Colorado Restaurant Association, first worked with Hickenlooper to change state law to allow beer brewing in restaurants. Years later, the CRA supported his bids for mayor and governor.

“Gov. Hickenlooper is known as the ‘Father of the Brewpub’ both in Colorado and internationally,” Meersman said. “He has always been an innovator and a friend of the hospitality industry.”

Hickenlooper also is a member of the Colorado Foodservice Hall of Fame.

As governor, he has pledged to make Colorado the most innovative state in the nation through creating a welcoming environment for technology companies and other innovative businesses.

“The governor’s forward-thinking approach toward business innovation and experience running restaurants will provide a unique perspective to our attendees as they meet to examine technology-related policy,” said Scott DeFife, the NRA’s executive vice president of policy and government affairs.

According to the NRA’s 2013 Restaurant Industry Forecast, 54 percent of restaurant owners said they'd invest more in technology in 2013. The summit, which will be held Oct. 23-24, will feature sessions on mobile engagement, enabling in-store customer interaction, maximizing out-of-store interaction and leveraging big data. The sessions will help attendees decide which innovation investments will provide the biggest return for their organizations and customers.

Register here to attend the conference.

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