James R. Walker

Rocket Restaurant Group

James Walker, CFE, is an accomplished expert in corporate turnaround and revitalizations; and an industry-leading authority in the restaurant delivery channel. Walker specializes in mergers & acquisitions, domestic and international development, operations, franchising, and new product development.

With more than 30 years of broad based, senior level, management experience in the hospitality and retail industries, Walker has served as President, Chief Development Officer, as well as in Senior Operations and New Product Development positions, for brands such as Baja Fresh®, Cinnabon®, Johnny Rockets® and most recently Subway®. As the North American Vice President for Subway®, Walker oversaw their 28,000 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada. He has conducted business in more than 65 international markets, including such emerging markets as Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Pakistan and Mongolia. In 2019 Walker also was appointed to the Board of Advisors for Ireland’s Rocket Restaurants Group, which includes Eddie Rocket’s chain of American diners and ROCKET’S fast casual restaurants.

Walker holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and has received certificates and diplomas from a number of Culinary Institutions and colleges, including Yale’s School of Management, and Harvard’s Business School. A life-long learner, Walker is currently enrolled in MIT’s “Artificial Intelligence: Implications for Business Strategy” program. In 2017, he was a Reader’s Pick for the Nation’s Restaurant News “Power List” of notable restaurant executives. In 2016, he was also awarded the President’s “E” Award by President Obama for Excellence in Furthering American Business Internationally. In February 2015 the International Franchise Association (IFA) conferred the designation of Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) to Mr. Walker.

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Global Restaurant Industry: What does the future look like?

The Global Restaurant Industry is evolving faster than ever before. What does the future look like? What will brands need to do in order to remain competitive? What roles with Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Consumer Facing Technologies play? Is the current wave of third-party delivery-based business sustainable? We’ll review these elements in more during our time together.