CHICAGO, April 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Restaurant Association (NRA), in partnership with Technomic and DigitalCoCo, is pleased to present the 2 nd annual National Restaurant Association Fast Casual Trends & Directions conference, an industry event focused on the fast casual segment. The event will be held May 17th & 18 th, 2013, in Chicago. The conference is designed to deliver a comprehensive look at where the fast casual segment is and where it is headed. The event will bring together key players in the fast casual community, including leaders from the National Restaurant Association's Fast Casual Industry Council. Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises Founder and Chairman Richard Melman, Le Duff America President and CEO Jim Vinz, Boloco Founder and CEO John Pepper, and Cosi Inc. President and CEO Carin Stutz are among the many restaurant operators slated to share their experience and insight. "As the fast casual restaurant industry segment continues to evolve, we will explore the challenges and opportunities unique to this segment at our conference," said James Balda, senior vice president of innovation and business development for the National Restaurant Association. "By approaching key issues and trends through operator insights and research, we will thoroughly examine both current conditions and future trends." "This is a must for all fast casual executives. Attendees will gain a reliable and detailed vision of this fast-growing segment, where it's headed and how to capitalize on opportunities," said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic. Drawing on the wealth of expertise in trend-watching, foodservice knowledge, data collection and customer insight, the teams at the NRA, Technomic and DigitalCoCo have developed a compelling program. This event will provide insights for fast casual executives, as well as casual dining and quickservice restaurant executives who can learn from the success of what is one of the fastest growing segments in the industry. Attendance is limited to restaurant operators and sponsoring organizations.