Datassential people are awesome.
Meet the team!

Adelin RYAN

Publications & Special Research |

Ann works on both Datassential's custom research projects and syndicated reports. She had written in-depth syndicated reports on everything from the changing K-12 menu to the continued impact of GPOs. Ann has experience using both consumer and operator findings in concert to draw a complete picture of industry challenges and opportunities.

Combining my passion and love for food with great research has been a match made in heaven. I love walking into a restaurant and seeing the indirect product of a specific study or report that I worked on. The foodservice industry is ever changing and working on the cutting edge of industry research means I get an exclusive sneak peek into what the future holds."
Special Data Projects |

Becky is part of Datassential's web development team, bringing new and innovative views for the customer research products. She has several years' experience working with multiple custom development projects and showcasing client support needs.

Data is essential to understanding what was, and to forecast what will be. I am always looking for the "eureka" moment, when I see a trend and can then view it logically, and see why it occurs. Its even more interesting to find a trend, and search for the illogical reasons behind it."
Brian DARR
Custom Research, Monthly Omnibus and Publications |

Brian is part of Datassential's custom research team focusing on foodservice related projects as well as heading up the company's omnibus program and publications efforts. Brian has research and consulting experience across a wide range of areas, including attitude/awareness/usage, consumer behavior, industry trends/ the menu adoption cycle and industry channel studies.
Brian has 25 years of industry experience, with the last 10 years as a Managing Director at Datassential. Brian was instrumental in establishing the Innovators database in MenuTrends, the quarterly TIPS trend report, Datassential's omnibus programs and the company's publications efforts. Additionally, Brian has spoken at a wide variety of industry conferences, manufacturer sales and marketing meetings and operator and retailer presentations.

The industry has changed dramatically in a number of ways over the last 25 years. One area has been the increased need… even demand … from manufacturers, operators and retailers for new tools and better information. That drives all of us at Datassential to provide our clients with the best tools and most complete information to make their decision making easier and more informed "
Caroline TRIAY

Christin GROH

Christin joined the Datassential's MenuTrends team in 2013. With over 15 years market research experience in the food industry, Christin has worked with a number of different food manufacturers. One of her key areas of experience is utilizing syndicated data sources to provide actionable insights to clients.

The part of my job that I enjoy most is mining data and providing actionable insights to clients. Also, who doesn't enjoy talking about food and restaurants all day long?

Claire is part of Datassential's custom research team, working on both foodservice and consumer goods initiatives. Claire has experience in both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, and feels that the two compliment one another. She loves going through free response portion of surveys, notes from focus groups, etc. to find the phrases that make the quantitative numbers pop.

What's interesting about market research is that as researchers you can make numbers tell nearly any story you want, but working with the numbers to bring out the REAL story that will help your client succeed now and continue to succeed in the future, that's what keeps it interesting."
Deron QUON
Client Solutions |

Deron is responsible for client solutions and industry partnerships. Deron has many years of experience providing custom research solutions for food manufacturers, restaurant operators, advertising agencies, and industry associations. He has also helped develop tracking studies and syndicated research platforms.
He is a Co-Founder of Datassential and has a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. Deron holds a BA degree in economics from Yale University.

As different as all of our clients' businesses are, there are a few things that we try really hard to perfect: making the data and insights relevant, making research tools easy to use, and providing great customer care."
Emily TANG
Custom Research |

Emily is part of Datassential's custom research team, focusing on both foodservice and retail initiatives. Emily has worked on projects across a wide range of categories, with specific expertise in concept testing and performance analysis, pricing and placement assessment, marketing strategy, attitude/awareness/usage, and consumer segmentation.
Emily has been instrumental in the growth of Datassential's qualitative research program, with experience across multiple methodologies, including focus groups, in-depth interviews, consumer shop-alongs, intercepts, and CLT testing. Additionally, she has a heavy quantitative background in Chaid, Factor Analysis, Conjoint, and several other approaches. Beyond the analytics, Emily's true expertise lies in her ability to design the right analysis path based on each project's specific goals.

For each study, I really try to design the research to get at the WHY behind the WHAT - rather than making the research fit into any pre-existing mold or template. Datassential has provided me with all the tools I need to do this in just the right way every time."
Chief Technology Officer |

Haroon heads up our Dynamo division, managing a talented team of artists and developers. Haroon has worked on a number of key products including BUZZ, Firefly, and AdVantage – with a singular focus on bringing great data to life. Haroon also works directly on a variety of custom client applications, directing both design and technical development.

Firefly is one of the most important things we're working on right now. We now have a universal platform that the entire industry can benefit from."


Hooman manages an intensive data backend that covers millions of operators, menu items, and survey responses. He helped engineer MenuTrends™ and Firefly™, two of our most data-intensive services. Hooman also lends his expertise to projects that require special data services.

It's truly gratifying to see our research products help the industry predict new trends; we've always been about big data… long before it became a buzz word."


Jack is part of the expanding Datassential client solutions team. Jack has extensive experience building and nurturing relationships with prospective and existing clients by understanding their business challenges, providing the right resources and implementing growth opportunities.

Building long-term client relationships based on mutual trust and respect enables clients to utilize our insightful data, create new ideas and concepts, and generate incremental revenue."
Jack LI
Custom Research |

Jack is part of Datassential's custom research team, working on both foodservice and consumer goods initiatives. Jack has experience across multiple categories and brands, with expertise in market positioning, category entry, price and line optimization, and trend analysis.
Jack also helped develop Datassential's iDEA™ and MenuTrends™ platforms. Jack is available for speaking engagements, and is a regular featured speaker at IDDBA's annual conference.

Even after working on more than 300 industry studies over the past decade, I'm still always discovering something new each time. It's the nuances that fascinate me the most – figuring out how the specific details of each particular scenario work in concert with or opposition against the broader underlying trends. It might sound like a paradox, but sometimes a microscope is the best tool to truly understand the big picture."

Jana heads up Datassential's MenuTrends platform, delving into trends and helping clients better understand the foodservice environment. Jana provides insights to manufacturers, distributers, and operators including sales, marketing, and culinary to support new and current product introductions as well as provide insight on trends impacting their business.
Jana can be found out in the field working with clients, presenting at meetings, and supervising output of core MenuTrends deliverables – TIPS, Foodbytes, MenuTrends INSIDER, as well as core and specialty databases (Food Trucks, Canada, Innovators).

Perk of the job? Getting out and trying restaurants in Chicago, from hidden gem, ethnic independents to chefs currently in the limelight. Amazing seeing (and tasting) the trends we are writing about in action."
Jennifer ARANAS

Jeniffer ROJAS

Jeniffer works with the marketing, sales, and product development teams at Datassential to implement business development initiatives. She helps identify and develop strategic relationships with assigned existing and potential customer accounts. Jeniffer also manages the financial related areas along side with Eliot Cho.

I take pleasure in maintaining and building new relationships with business clients every day. It’s a wonderful experience to work abreast with the many teams that make up Datassential; we all come together in providing all of our individual client’s needs to boost growth in their businesses."


Katie is a part of the publications team with Datassential, responsible for maintaining the IFMA Food Service Landscape and Library as well as researching and contributing to the various publications efforts. With a background from the Culinary Institute of America as well as years in the foodservice industry, she enjoys bringing this experience to the job, where she can put her love of finding the ‘next big thing’ in food into practice.

It’s fascinating to be able to watch the rise and fall of trends in the food industry and to see what’s happening in all arenas, whether it’s the latest trend in fine dining to how K-12 schools adjust to meet legislative needs. It’s exciting to be a part of a team responsible for this.
Kelly NIX
Custom Research |


Leo started as an independent auditor focusing on client accounts reconciliation and then took on the position as the head of our finance department. He is now involve in managing all finance related processes headquartered in our Los Angeles office. Leo has more than 10 years of accounting and audit experience working for multinational firms and some other individual clients.


Maeve is part of Datassential's custom research team, focusing on foodservice initiatives. Maeve has research and consulting experience across a wide range of categories, with specific expertise in trend analysis, opportunity assessment, advertising/marketing effectiveness, attitude/awareness/usage, and consumer behavior.
Maeve heads up Datassential's Health & Wellness practice, and has helped design several of the company's products and publications. Additionally, Maeve has been a featured speaker at many large and small industry events, works closely with industry publications, and participates several industry initiatives.

Participating in industry events is always a great reality check for me. Working with data alone can make it easy to lose sight of the realities consumers, chefs, managers and manufacturers are dealing with on a daily basis. Being able to talk with a wide variety of industry professionals helps me to have a more grounded approach to data analysis and constantly reminds me to find the "so what" in the work."


Mark DiDomenico brings over 22 years of foodservice insights experience to Datassential. He has worked on initiatives spanning the entire menu, from beverages through desserts, supporting innovation and new product development, pricing evaluation, marketing/merchandising and category management. As Director, Client Solutions, Mark is focused on providing relevant, actionable insights to his customers, as well as developing new products and services to help advance the use of market research and insights in the foodservice industry.

I define 'Insight' as a thought, idea or piece of information that causes you to act differently and/or change the way you do business. Insights should be relevant and meaningful, but more so, they should be actionable. Our goal here is to help our customers turn insights into strategies and tactics that drive growth."


Max is part of Datassential’s MenuTrends team, where he works on identifying and analyzing food trends across categories. He creates reports based on individual client needs as well as providing support on the MenuTrends database. Max comes with a background in retail and specifically the fresh produce industry, where he worked on category management and produce analytics.

I enjoy combing through data and finding new insights that can help our clients. It is always a lot of fun when you’re going through the data and you get that ""Aha"" moment that explains what's going on with the information."

Mike is part of Datassential's publications team, managing the company's wide range of TrendSpotting Reports. He combines a passion for researching and synthesizing food trends with Datassential's MenuTrends, Omnibus, and other data-driven platforms in order to give clients a full, accurate, and insightful picture of the latest trends in the foodservice industry. His work at Datassential combines his early education and career in journalism, writing, and political communications with his recent MA in gastronomy from Boston University. He is also the founder of Chicago Food Bloggers, the city's largest food blogger network.

It's important that the food trends we cover at Datassential are backed by extensive research and data -- noticing an ingredient on menus is just the beginning. In developing our TrendSpotting Reports, we track ingredients over time, connect the dots with other food and flavor trends, survey operators and consumers, and research how that trend is appearing on menus and at retail.

Nicole joined Datassential in 2012 after 15 years as Director of Custom Research at the NPD Group, Inc. With hundreds of research studies under her belt, Nicole is a true expert in analytical techniques that are specifically helpful for the food industry – including eater segmentation, discrete choice, menu pricing elasticity, flavor assortment, and more.

It's great to be part of a team knows how to transform data into true insight. The culture here is to always answer not just 'what', but also 'why' – which is essential for gaining a true understanding of market attitudes and behavior."
Nicole COZZI

Renee LEE