Marketing Strategies for Your Restaurant Brand

Clay Dover
Chief Marketing Officer
Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers

Clayton M. Dover

Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers

Chief Marketing Officer


A 20-year veteran of the Restaurant Industry, Clay Dover serves as Chief Marketing Officer, Fry Cook and Cashier for Raising Cane’s Chicken Finger Restaurants.  Based in the Dallas Restaurant Support Office, Dover oversees the second fastest growing restaurant chain with over 175 restaurants in 18 states and has been responsible for the strategic marketing, brand development and overall creative advertising of Raising Cane’s since 2008.


As CMO, Dover oversees the brand direction, marketing, creative, advertising, digital marketing, promotions, community relations, and Raising Cane’s has enjoyed five years of positive same restaurant sales growth and aggressive unit expansion from 62 restaurants in 2008 to over 175 currently.  His diverse background has been able to leverage his experience in helping a regional restaurant company become an industry powerhouse.  Raising Cane’s over the past few years is near or at the top of many industry ranking lists including growth, performance, and execution.  In 2012 Raising Cane’s was ranked #1 as the best overall quick service restaurant chain in the Nation by Sandelman and Associates.


Dover brings diverse restaurant marketing experience, creativity, hands-on knowledge and intuition to Raising Cane’s. Previously, Dover served in a variety of senior marketing and leadership roles in restaurant chains such as Metromedia Restaurant Group, APEX Restaurant Group, Chili’s Grill and Bar, Houlihan’s Restaurant Group, Marie Callender’s and others.  Additionally he serves on several industry boards including the National Restaurant Association Marketing Executives Group, and writes a regular column for Nation’s Restaurant News titled “CMO Perspectives”.


Dover’s recognitions includes The 2001 Nation’s Restaurant News’ Outstanding Promotions Award, 2007 Chain Leader Protégé of the Year Award, 2008 Cheers magazine award for Beverage Excellence, 2008 Cheers magazine Best Chain Spirits Program, 2009 Dallas Business Journal’s 40 under 40 Award, has earned 7 ADDY awards in digital media advertising & won a 2011 Telly’s award for online advertising campaigns.  Dover was awarded the 2012 CMO of the Year award by the American Marketing Association in Dallas, which recognizes marketing excellence across all industries, not merely restaurants.

Stacey Kane
Global Director of Buzz

Kane joined Amrest in August 2013 as Global Director of Buzz. She works with with the leadership of over 740 restaurants with over 9 brands in 12 countries around the world. Kane enthusiastically believes that the way to drive sales is by giving consumers something to talk about. Her previous position was as Vice President of Marketing for California Tortilla, a 40 unit restaurant chain that used creative promotions to garner international press. Stacey Kane joined California Tortilla as Director of Marketing in 2007 after spending 11 years as a top-level media buyer on the Subway Restaurant account. She currently sits on several boards, including the Share Our Strength’s Marketing Advisory Board and the National Restaurant Association’s Marketing Executives Board. Kane was also named as one of the Top 20 Movers and Shakers within the Fast Casual Restaurant Industry for 2012 and 2013. She is the mother to a brilliant college bound daughter, Kendall and spoiled Yorkie rescue, GG. Always the communicator, Kane’s voice has been heard on the radio during runs with WJFK, WHFS and WWRC.

Rachel Phillips-Luther
VP of Marketing
Zoes Kitchen

Rachel Phillips-Luther is Vice President of Marketing for Zoës Kitchen, a leading Mediterranean fast-casual restaurant.  Rachel drives brand strategy and oversees national marketing initiatives for the brand, which has expanded to more than 110 locations in 15 states since its launch in Birmingham, Alabama in 1995. Her extensive background in hospitality marketing combined with her innovative and strategic approach to brand strategy has directly contributed to the success of Zoës, which was recently named one of the Top 50 Breakout Brands of 2013 by Nation’s Restaurant News.


After studying communications at Southern Methodist University, Rachel began her career at global PR agency Fleishman-Hillard. From there, she found her calling in the restaurant industry, working across several categories,  including Sambuca and Champps Entertainment. Most recently Rachel served as the Vice President of Brand and Innovation at Kona Grill before finding her home at Zoës Kitchen.


A fan of Zoës long before joining the team, Rachel lives Zoës through celebrating life with family and friends with better-for-you, fresh recipes and loves to read and travel. When she’s not working or stirring up fun with her four boys, Rachel makes it a priority to give back to the community by working with HS boys through the Young Men’s Service League where she serves as the Vice President of Boys Initiatives and inspires young men to find a cause that speaks to them and to give back through service and demonstrate the qualities of a leader to all they meet.  Her belief that happiness directly correlates with success has shaped her career and inspired those around her.


Rachel’s personal motto is a reflection of her desire to deliver goodness.  “Be one who nurtures and builds, understands and forgives, who looks for the best and leaves brands better than I found them.  Simply put- To be the change and use the power of storytelling to introduce the world to brands that will impact their lives positively.”  

Rachel resides in McKinney, Texas with her husband Mike and sons Garrett, 15; Ryan, 13; Chase, 5; and Jack, 2. 

Chris Tomasso
Chief Marketing Officer
First Watch Restaurants, Inc.

Chris Tomasso is the Chief Marketing Officer for First Watch Restaurants, Inc., the largest and fastest-growing daytime-only restaurant company in America. Based in Bradenton, Florida, the company currently owns or operates more than 130 restaurants in 16 states with annual sales exceeding $140 million.  He is a brand visionary whose experience includes growing and guiding some of the most recognized brands in the hospitality industry.

In his current role, he is responsible for the development and execution of First Watch’s strategic marketing plans and oversees the company’s marketing, public relations and culinary R&D.  He was directly responsible for launching a complete re-branding effort that included a new brand positioning platform, including a new company logo and tagline and a new building prototype which has set the stage for the company’s aggressive growth plans.

Prior to joining First Watch, Tomasso served as Vice President of Marketing for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (NASDAQ CBRL) a Fortune 600 company which at the time owned and operated more than 500 restaurants and had annual sales of more than $2.2 billion. He had direct responsibility for the brand development, advertising, marketing, culinary R&D and public relations functions for the company.


Prior to Cracker Barrel, Tomasso spent more than 10 years in various capacities with Hard Rock Cafe International culminating in the position of Vice President of Worldwide Marketing for one of the world’s most recognizable brands. While at Hard Rock, Tomasso was an integral part of the team that orchestrated successful brand extensions including the partnership with the Seminole Tribe of Florida to open and operate the Hard Rock Hotels and Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood as well as the portfolio of live music venues the company currently operates.   

Tomasso is a graduate of the University of Central Florida, with a degree in journalism and specialization in advertising and public relations.  He currently gives back to his alma mater by serving on the Board of Directors of the UCF Alumni Association. He also is a Board Member for the National Restaurant Association’s Marketing Executives Group (MEG) and sits on the Marketing Advisory Board for Share Our Strength’s Dine Out for No Kid Hungry.

Sat, 5/17: 1:30 PM  - 2:30 PM 
Room: S404abc 



Are you marketing your restaurant for success? The National Restaurant Association's Marketing Executive Group (MEG) members share how they succeed at everything from social media to brand evolution. Hear them detail take-away strategies you can tailor to your brand and begin applying to your concept right away to stay ahead of the marketing curve.

Education Tracks

Profitability & Entrepreneurship