Portillo’s General Managers Summit

Transitioning a General Managers Summit to Reflect Company’s Change from Humble Beginnings to a Large Corporation


For their General Managers Summit, an American fast-casual restaurant chain that started outside of Chicago hired Bishop-McCann. With the evolution of the company, this restaurant group selected Bishop-McCann to help them produce a next-level corporate meeting planning experience. Their leadership wanted 2019’s meeting to reflect its past and present success while looking forward to its anticipated growth.

“This was the first time [they] partnered with an outside firm to assist with this meeting. As a small business, they were used to doing everything on their own,” said Bishop-McCann Program Manager, Hosanna Smith. “Our objective was to give the meeting a new, more professionally produced look and feel.”

The company wanted attendees to walk away knowing the transformation the restaurant had undergone. What began as a local Chicago hot dog institution is now a large corporation with many restaurants and catering services in locations soon to be all around the United States. The company’s trajectory was only moving upward.


Over 300 attendees arrived at the Westin North Shore just outside of Chicago, Illinois. Attendees experienced one full day and two half days filled with business presentations, a supplier celebration and trade show, an awards ceremony, networking events, a community-focused activity, and, of course, no small amount of fun for their General Managers Summit.

Bishop-McCann started the General Managers Summit by implementing an interactive mobile app specifically designed for attendees. The group viewed the meeting schedule, connected with others, and posted photos on social media.

One of the biggest highlights was the supplier dinner on Monday night. Coincidentally, the Chicago Bears were playing football that evening. To incorporate the game into the event, we planned a tailgating reception. Attendees viewed their new food truck and the iconic small house where this company originally started selling their famous hot dogs. Showing the humble beginnings highlighted just how far the company had come and the growth they have seen. The game was on the big screen while guests roamed from station to station. These stations included bars, food tents, and fun group games.

During the General Managers Summit, they wanted to make sure there was time to do some team building while also giving back. Attendees went to the “Feed My Starving Children” headquarters and hand-packed nutritious meals. These meals were specifically designed to assist in reversing and preventing undernutrition for children experiencing hunger in the Chicago area. The restaurant group packed the most boxes in Feed My Starving Children’s history. That same evening, the group attended a formal awards cocktail reception and dinner. Exemplary store managers were acknowledged by the president of the company.

Bishop-McCann provided a dedicated account team to partner closely with the corporate group. Our team flawlessly executed each program component, including the mobile app, meeting planning, attendee registration, guest accommodations, food and beverage management, sourcing, and logistics.  


Bishop-McCann delivered the program ensuring that our client partner left the event energized, inspired, and excited about their next meeting. The 2020 General Managers Summit will be held in Las Vegas. Bishop-McCann has been retained to once again lead the corporate event planning, production, sourcing, travel, and event logistics.

“As we moved further into the planning process, our client saw us as a more valued resource, thus increasing their trust in us executing their vision. From this, they realized we could do more for the meeting in 2020,” Smith said. “We connected with them during a major growth spurt, and it is so satisfying to help them with their meetings through this time of expansion as they continue to become the big company they’ve been dreaming about.”

Comments from attendees included:

“Great format. Awesome energy.”

“I wish we did an event like this once a quarter. Amazing team building exercise.”

“Such a great idea! Super fun, and a great way to give back.”

“Loved it! Really promoted teamwork and felt like we were truly a great company to work for! More please!”

“I love the balance of content and fun. It was perfect.”

“App was very helpful keeping us on track. So much better than looking through emails for an agenda.”

“A memorable General Managers Summit!”