2017 Programme

DAY TWO - Tuesday 11 April 2017

8:30 - 9:15

Networking

BREAKFAST NETWORKING

9:15 - 9:30

WELCOME REMARKS

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    Jennifer Pettinger-Haines
    Managing Director Middle East - Bench Events

    Jennifer Pettinger-Haines

    Managing Director Middle East - Bench Events

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    Jennifer has been a member of the Bench Events team since November 2008. Originally from Australia, she has a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Sydney. Prior to joining Bench Events she spent two years as a project manager in London for a conference company. She is presently working from Dubai as project manager of the successful Arabian Hotel Investment Conference. Currently she is focusing on programme development and speaker acquisition in addition to overseeing AHIC’s operations.

Welcome from Host Sponsor

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    Olivier Granet
    Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer - AccorHotels Middle East & Africa

    Olivier Granet

    Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer - AccorHotels Middle East & Africa

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    Olivier Granet is the Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer of AccorHotels Middle East since January 2016. In January 2017 he took also the responsibility of Africa. He oversees the overall AccorHotels’ diverse portfolio of internationally renowned luxury, upscale, midscale and economy hotels in these regions, and is responsible for the development of the AccorHotels network in the Middle East and Africa. This includes more than 178 operational hotels with over 40,000 rooms across twenty-eight countries, and more than 160 properties under development that will bring over 37,000 additional rooms.
    Olivier’s previous role was Senior Vice President of Development at AccorHotels Middle East. Since he moved to Dubai in 2011, Olivier oversaw the signing of over 90 new partnership agreements across the region; reaching a rate of one new signature every two weeks.
    He is a 16-year veteran of the hospitality industry, having joined AccorHotels in 1999 as Chief Financial Officer for Central Europe, based in Budapest. Moving to Paris in 2002, Olivier was appointed Vice President, Corporate Finance, in charge of integrating the German hotel chain Dorint and developing synergies with Club Méditerranée and Groupe Lucien Barrière. He served as AccorHotels’ Executive Committee General Secretary in 2006, and Chief Financial Officer for Accor Services in 2007 and 2008. Olivier took on the role of Senior Vice President, Strategy in 2009, before moving to Dubai two years later to head up AccorHotels’ regional Development team in the Middle East.
    Prior to joining AccorHotels, Olivier worked with Deloitte & Touche for ten years, initially as an auditor and later as a Manager in the Corporate Finance Department, holding positions in France and abroad.
    He has a degree from the Grenoble Institute of Political Studies (Sciences-Po Grenoble) and an MBA from ESSEC Business School in Paris.

9:30 - 9:45

EXCLUSIVE GRIF GLOBAL TRENDS REPORT

Where is the change in trends evolution from 2016-2018? What key opportunities and challenges can restaurateurs expect going forward? Assessing the global landscape for growth

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    Charles Banks
    Co Founder - thefoodpeople

    Charles Banks

    Co Founder - thefoodpeople

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    Charles is a food and drink trendologist as well as a fourth generation foodie! He and his business thefoodpeople are passionate about staying ahead of the curve when it comes to food and beverage trends. 

    Charles has spent the past 25 years in the food industry working across all sectors including food service, fine dining, hotels, food brands and food retailing.

    thefoodpeople, established for over 10 years, are a global trends agency, specialising in the food and beverage sector. At the heart of the business is a team of food trend spotters that are united in their passion and natural curiosity for food and drink trend spotting and their quest to understand the part that food and beverage plays in our social culture.

    thefoodpeople operate globally from London and Sydney with brands, retailers, manufacturers, hotel chains, food service operators to make sense of food and beverage trends and what they mean to their business.

9:45 - 10:00

CONSUMER DATA

An in-depth look at consumer search and spend in the last year. What are people looking for and how is it affecting restaurant performance?

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    Rohin Thampi
    Regional Director – Middle East and Africa - Zomato

    Rohin Thampi

    Regional Director – Middle East and Africa - Zomato

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    Rohin is the Regional Head for Zomato's businesses in the Middle East and South Africa. Zomato is a restaurant search and discovery app, which provides in-depth information for over 1 million restaurants and enables millions of users every day to decide what & where to eat in over 10,000
    cities across 23 countries. In addition, Zomato also allows users to order food online and make online table reservations in select geographies.

    Rohin has been an integral part in ensuring that Zomato touches over 10 million users lives on a monthly basis in the UAE. He has played a critical role in building the foundation for Zomato in Dubai, and has been instrumental in it's expansion in the UAE. Rohin has been with Zomato since
    2012, when it was in it's infancy and has been a key member in fueling it's explosive growth. He has a 360 degree understanding of how Zomato operates and is a true embodiment of Zomato's spirit. This has given him an opportunity to gain deep insights into the changing trends in the F&B
    industry making him a leader in this sector.

    Rohin has been part of the core leadership team in Zomato and has held various positions at Zomato, from being the CEO of UAE to Global Head of Zomato Book - Zomato's table management system. In his current role as the Regional Director for the MESA region he overlooks all operations in UAE, Qatar, Lebanon and South Africa.

    He is an avid football fan and can be found in the office wearing his Arsenal jersey on match days.  He also enjoys rock music and can be found at the next comnicon event.

    Rohin holds a Bachelor of Technology in Mechanical Engineering and graduated from IIM Ahmedabad with a PGDM in 2009.

10:00 - 10:20

WHAT’S HOT IN THE RESTAURANT WORLD

An in-depth look at current industry trends and consumer behavior. What’s hot in the global market? What are people looking for? How do you form an investment strategy around the multi-generational consumer?

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    Simon Taylor
    Head of Business Development Restaurants, Condé Nast International Restaurants -

    Simon Taylor

    Head of Business Development Restaurants, Condé Nast International Restaurants -

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    Simon Taylor brings 20 years of luxury hospitality experience to Condé Nast
    International Restaurants, overseeing the growth and development of restaurant
    license partners in exciting new markets around the world.
    First class service environments have been at the heart of Simon’s hospitality career.
    In the early millennium, Simon spent three years travelling and working on cruise ships
    in The Caribbean and The Mediterranean, before opening a premium health club in
    Hampton, West London, in 2003.
    Following his London experiences, Simon returned to sunnier climates in Abu Dhabi,
    working with a well established expatriate private members’ club as Head of Food and
    Beverage. Overseeing a large team of 200, the operation quickly expanded to support
    the private fine dining of sheikhs, and events spanning over 8,000 people. Simon’s
    entrepreneurial spirit showed through by improving and implementing new outlets
    during his role, and the club continued to grow from strength to strength.
    Simon’s next role took him back to London, to the international marketing offices of
    Bacardi Global Brands. During his successful 8-year tenure, he was at the heart of a
    new department that created and managed Visitor Centres, Brand Homes and
    Archives for the portfolio of the family-owned Bacardi company. He oversaw projects
    totalling US$75m of capital investment to improve the hospitality infrastructure of
    iconic brands including Martini, Bombay Sapphire, Dewars Whisky and Grey Goose.
    Notable Brand Homes include Le Logis for Grey Goose in France, and the awardwinning
    customer experience at the new Bombay Sapphire distillery in Laverstoke,
    Hampshire, UK.
    The vision of Condé Nast International restaurants lies in extending the iconic
    multimedia brands of Condé Nast to global restaurants, bars and café concepts.
    Simon’s international experience in the creation of luxury hospitality environments is
    invaluable to the onward growth and extension of the Condé Nast International
    Restuarants portfolio.

10:20 - 10:30

SPOTLIGHT ON THE MIDDLE EAST

What are the key trends emerging in the Middle East market? What models are being used successfully to drive growth, from franchising to the creation of local concepts?

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    Nada Alameddine
    Partner, Business Development - Hodema Consulting Services

    Nada Alameddine

    Partner, Business Development - Hodema Consulting Services

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    Nada Alameddine joined Hodema in September 2010 as the Regional Director of Sales & Marketing. Today she is a Partner at Hodema handling business development inside and outside Lebanon. She garnered 18 years of experience in various top management positions in the Sales & Marketing, Event Management, Food & Beverage and Nutrition & Food Technology at Marriott Hotels in Lebanon, Czech Republic and France where she joined on task force for the opening of the Paris Marriott Rive Gauche. In 2007, she joined Hilton Beirut as an opening Director of Sales & Marketing for 15 months then relocated to Hilton Regional Sales Office in Cairo, Egypt. During Lebanon’s July 2006 war, she worked as a Logistics Officer/International Consultant of the World Food Program (WFP) at the United Nations for two months. She graduated from the American University of Beirut (AUB) with a Bachelor in Science, major Nutrition & Dietetics, and pursued higher studies in Dietetics from AUB Medical Center. Since 2001, she teaches courses related to sales, nutrition and hospitality at Université Saint-Joseph in Lebanon.

10:30 - 11:00

Networking

COFFEE BREAK

11:00 - 11:20

REVOLUTIONIZING THE TRADITIONAL RESTAURANT BUSINESS MODEL

Jonathan Downey shares his experiences as a pioneer of street food markets in one of the world’s most vibrant food destinations. Hear how he is transforming the traditional business model for restaurants, what this means for businesses and investors, and how these revolutionary principles can be applied universally.
 

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    Jonathan Downey
    Co-founder - London Union

    Jonathan Downey

    Co-founder - London Union

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    Since leaving his career as a corporate lawyer in 1999, Downey has become a highly influential voice in hospitality - opening over 20 bars, clubs, restaurants and a hotel in London, Ibiza, Chamonix and Melbourne. In 2015 he was named by Debrett’s/Sunday Times as one of the 20 most influential Brits in food and drink and received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Spirited Awards in New Orleans.

    In 2012 Downey brought his drinks expertise to Street Feast, a street food night market founded in east London. Downey has since organised several events and street food arenas under the Street Feast brand (including Model Market, Dinerama and Hawker House) all over London; taking derelict and disused spaces and filling them with food, booze, music and vibes.

11:20 - 11:50

CREATING A FOOD CULTURE / ‘FOODIE’ DESTINATION

Looking at established ‘foodie’ destinations and how a food culture can create business and contribute to local tourism. How have food destinations evolved, and how have they turned out? How can they keep up with industry trends? Gazing into the future for food destinations and the new regions that are standing out in the restaurant scene.

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    Michael Ingemann
    Executive Chairman - Claus Meyer Holding; Director, Melting Pot Foundation

    Michael Ingemann

    Executive Chairman - Claus Meyer Holding; Director, Melting Pot Foundation

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    Michael is the executive chairman of Claus Meyer Holding, an operator and investor in high-end restaurants and food companies in the US and Scandinavia (such as Restaurant Noma and Studio in Copenhagen).  He is a director in Great Northern Food Hall and Agern Restaurant – two ventures that are due to open in New York’s Grand Central Terminal this spring, and in Restaurant Gustu in La Paz, Bolivia.  He is also a director in the Melting Pot Foundation, a charitable organisation that utilizes culinary empowerment and education to combat poverty in Europe and in North and South America.   Finally, Michael is an investor, mentor or board member in a number of start-ups, such as Fooducer, a Danish VC-backed platform with a unique approach to linking food suppliers with their customers.

    After completing his MBA from Dartmouth College in the US, Michael spent a number of years with the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, and as founder/CEO of an online media group in Scandinavia. In addition to his food related ventures, Michael is a managing partner in Corpro that advises private equity firms and corporate management teams across Europe on strategy, operations and M&A related issues.

    Michael is Danish, but has lived in London for the past 15 years.

In conversation with

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    Ali Borhani
    Founder & CWO - Incubeemea

    Ali Borhani

    Founder & CWO - Incubeemea

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    Ali Borhani is the Founder and the self-styled "Chief Welding Officer" of Incubeemea, which advises Senior Executives in Fortune 500 companies and allows them to enhance the value of their activities in the MENA region. Through his journey in the corporate world and start-ups, he has learned from both success and failure.

    Until 2010, he was the Director of Corporate Strategy & Business Development at Bosch Siemens in MEA, where he guided the strategic direction of the distributor network in 25 countries. Before that, he was the Regional Sales Manager for Philips Consumer Lifestyle, and its Business Excellence Manager. At Philips, Ali grew sales by 45% in less than three years and built a solid distributor network that has allowed the business to continue growing ever since.

    His credible and deep insight into Iran’s business opportunities, challenges and realities has anchored Incubeemea as the “Go To” advisory firm for MENA and Iran markets. Incubeemea published the industry’s 1st, Iran Hotel & Hospitality Report in 3 issues in 2015 and provides strategic advice to some of the leading restaurant and F&B operators in the country.

    Ali’s expertise and smart, often unconventional, but always culturally correct and incisive strategic thinking have assisted Incubeemea’s clients to outperform and break through barriers in some of the most demanding frontier markets.

    He mentors budding entrepreneurs in the region and has also worked with a number of not-for profit causes, NGOs and public private partnerships organizations, such as Gavi the Vaccine Alliance and The Mowgli Foundation.

    Ali is a frequent speaker, panelist and also a contributor to local and international publications such as Trend MENA, Gulf Business, The Wall Street Journal, Monocle and Esquire magazine.

    Ali's very strong interest in people is best illustrated by a quote from world-famous choreographer Pina Bausch: "I'm not interested in how people move, but what moves them."

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    Mattias Kroon
    Food Writer -

    Mattias Kroon

    Food Writer -

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    Mattias Kroon is the director and curator of several food festivals in the Nordic region and internationally, he also acts as consultant to government tourist boards and companies on issues relating to gastronomy and communication.

    He is an international food critic and magazine editor since 15 years. After following closely the rise of the Nordic food movement he wrote the New Nordic Food manifesto in 2011 on behalf of the Nordic Council of Ministers. He has written and collaborated on many award winning books and was awarded "Best International Journalist" by acclaimed Italian food forum Identita Golose in 2014.

    As a founder of Hottesttables.com he is seeking to re-invent the game of foodie-curated restaurant guides in social media - with modern, stylish, short and quickly updated advice on where to eat right now in major cities around the world.

    He lives in Paris, France and you can follow his adventures on instagram.com/mattias.kroon

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    Gwendal Poullenec
    Director International Development - Guide MICHELIN

    Gwendal Poullenec

    Director International Development - Guide MICHELIN

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    Currently in charge of Sales Operations, Partnerships and Development of the MICHELIN guide, Gwendal Poullennec has been a main actor of the international development of the guide over the last 10 years. He successful led launches of the Michelin Guide to Hong Kong, Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo, today the city with the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world. Gwendal also led the digital strategy of the guide with the launch of the Michelin Restaurants online booking website in 2012.

    Gwendal graduated from the French business school Essec in 2003   

11:50 - 12:25

BRAND CASE STUDY

A look at an innovative and inspirational brand and what they are doing differently.

VAPIANO

Mario Bauer shares his learnings on Vapiano’s explosive international growth; how they successfully achieved international roll out in 32 countries on all continents using different models, from Franchising, Joint Venture to Corporate.

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    Mario C Bauer
    Executive Board Member - Expansion, Partnerships & New Markets - Vapiano

    Mario C Bauer

    Executive Board Member - Expansion, Partnerships & New Markets - Vapiano

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    Mario C. Bauer is member of the Executive Board of Vapiano SE responsible for International Growth & Partnerships within the group as well as member of the Advisory Board for International Franchising.

    He and his team are responsible for almost 200 restaurants in over 30 countries around the globe. “All we do, we do with love to refresh your life” is the vision of Vapiano and his personal daily mission in dealing with Vapianisti (colleagues), partners and guests. Vapiano is a fresh casual, front cooking Pasta – Pizza – Bar lifestyle concept within a Mediterranean ambience.

    While growing up in his family’s restaurant business in Vienna, Austria, he developed from a young age an entrepreneurial mindset by founding several startups such as Bagel Station (bagel & coffee shop concept) or Papernomad (sustainable ipad sleeves). His latest adventure is Curtice Brothers, an organic boutique ketchup production in Tuscany.

    Mario has a true international mindset, and is constantly travelling. Per year, he spends 300 nights abroad, and spends more time in an airplane than an average pilot.

JAVA HOUSE

East Africa’s leading chain of coffee houses – hear how they introduced gourmet café culture to Kenya, expanding the brand both on a national level and abroad. 

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    Ken Kuguru
    Group CEO - Java House

    Ken Kuguru

    Group CEO - Java House

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    MBA, Michigan Ross School of Business

    B.S., Wake Forest University

    Ken Kuguru joined Java House in April 2016.  The Java House Group is East Africa's largest restaurant company including leading restaurant brands Java House, 360 Degrees Artisan Pizza and Planet Yogurt. The Java House Group operates regionally across East Africa, with over 65 branches and 2000+ employees

    Prior to Java House, Ken Kuguru worked at Philips Electronics in Shanghai, China. At Philips, Ken served in the Consumer Lifestyle division as the head of Kitchen Appliances for Greater China including Taiwan and Hong Kong, as well as the Marketing director for Asia Pacific Consumer Lighting Division

    Ken Kuguru is a 2003 graduate of the Michigan Ross School of Business, and a 1998 graduate of Wake Forest University.  His language skills are in English, Mandarin, and Kiswahili.

    Ken is an avid, albeit it high-handicapped, golfer.

What other brands have excited you that you would like to hear from? Submit your nominations for inspiring brands to join this session.

12:25 - 12:45

REDEFINING F&B - A GLOBAL STRATEGY

A one-on-one interview with Amir Nahai, CEO Food & Beverage for AccorHotels, on his strategies for the development of the group’s global F&B offering. With almost 8’000 restaurants and bars around the world, what plans do they have going forward in the roll out of new concepts and how are they transforming the hotel F&B space?

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    Crystal Chesters
    Group Editor, Hospitality - BNC Publishing

    Crystal Chesters

    Group Editor, Hospitality - BNC Publishing

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    Crystal Chesters has been in the Middle East for three years editing some of the region’s leading hospitality publications. She is currently Group Editor, Hospitality at BNC Publishing, responsible for monthly B2B titles, Hotel News Middle East and Catering News Middle East.

In a one-on-one conversation with:

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    Amir Nahai
    Chief Executive Officer Group Food & Beverage - AccorHotels

    Amir Nahai

    Chief Executive Officer Group Food & Beverage - AccorHotels

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    Amir Nahai is American. He holds a BA in Government from Dartmouth College and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

    Amir was previously a partner at Bain and Company’s New York office. He has more than 15 years of experience with the strategy and management consulting firm in the hospitality, gaming, media/entertainment and technology sectors. Throughout his career, he has supported clients across the globe and has worked out of multiple offices in the US (Boston, New York, Los Angeles), Asia (Singapore, Thailand, India, China) and Europe (Paris, London).

    He joined AccorHotels, as Chief Executive Officer Group Food & Beverage and Group Executive Committee member, in September 2015.

12:45 - 13:00

TOP 5 THINGS EXCITING THE MODERN FOOD CRITIC

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    Mattias Kroon
    Food Writer -

    Mattias Kroon

    Food Writer -

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    Mattias Kroon is the director and curator of several food festivals in the Nordic region and internationally, he also acts as consultant to government tourist boards and companies on issues relating to gastronomy and communication.

    He is an international food critic and magazine editor since 15 years. After following closely the rise of the Nordic food movement he wrote the New Nordic Food manifesto in 2011 on behalf of the Nordic Council of Ministers. He has written and collaborated on many award winning books and was awarded "Best International Journalist" by acclaimed Italian food forum Identita Golose in 2014.

    As a founder of Hottesttables.com he is seeking to re-invent the game of foodie-curated restaurant guides in social media - with modern, stylish, short and quickly updated advice on where to eat right now in major cities around the world.

    He lives in Paris, France and you can follow his adventures on instagram.com/mattias.kroon

13:00 - 14:00

Networking

LUNCH

14:00 - 14:30

GROWING GLOBAL: GETTING IT RIGHT

A conversation with chef and restaurateur Stuart Gillies on his experiences running one of the world’s most famous restaurant businesses. Hear about how he and his team turned the business around from a slowdown following years of global growth; how they overcame the challenges and took the group in a new direction, expanding into casual dining and entering new markets. With huge opportunities for growth and success in the pipeline, what are their strategies going forward?

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    James Hacon
    Development Growth and Brand Strategist -

    James Hacon

    Development Growth and Brand Strategist -

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    James Hacon is a tenacious restaurant leader based in the UK, specialising in growth, development and brand strategy. Having built up considerable experience working with more than fifty companies in the hospitality, tourism and leisure sector in six countries, he is now Brand Strategy Director at Thai Leisure Group and continues to work with a select group of investors and operators. His brand experience includes some of the biggest and best names in the restaurant sector from independent Michelin-starred properties to national and international groups.

In a one-on-one interview with

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    Stuart Gillies
    Chief Executive Officer - Gordon Ramsay Group

    Stuart Gillies

    Chief Executive Officer - Gordon Ramsay Group

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    Stuart Gilles assumed the position of CEO of Gordon Ramsay Group in 2016 and continues to play a key role in the company’s strategic growth and concept development.

    He began his career training as a chef in the UK before spending 3 years in Stockholm and a year in Rome working as a Chef at the Lord Byron Hotel.

    Returning to the UK in 1993, Stuart worked at Le Caprice for 3 years before moving to New York to work for Daniel Boulud for a further 2 years. Stuart returned to London to join Gordon Ramsay at Aubergine before launching Teatro Restaurant as Head Chef. He then moved to work alongside Angela Hartnett as Head Chef at her Michelin starred restaurant at The Connaught.

    Following this Stuart became Chef Director for Boxwood Café at the Berkeley Hotel, the Savoy Grill and Heathrow Terminal 5’s Plane Food before becoming Managing Director of the company in 2011.

    Now CEO of Gordon Ramsay Group, the global collection of restaurants can be found in locations such as London, Bordeaux, Versailles, Hong Kong, Dubai, Las Vegas, Italy, Singapore and will continue to grow in 2017.

14:30 - 15:00

ADDING VALUE AS AN INVESTOR

Growing and realising your investment - once you have invested how do you build the value of your restaurant so you increase ROI on performance and exit? How do you determine the best way to internationalise, how do you catch the synergies of multiple brands? 

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    James Hacon
    Development Growth and Brand Strategist -

    James Hacon

    Development Growth and Brand Strategist -

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    James Hacon is a tenacious restaurant leader based in the UK, specialising in growth, development and brand strategy. Having built up considerable experience working with more than fifty companies in the hospitality, tourism and leisure sector in six countries, he is now Brand Strategy Director at Thai Leisure Group and continues to work with a select group of investors and operators. His brand experience includes some of the biggest and best names in the restaurant sector from independent Michelin-starred properties to national and international groups.

In conversation with

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    Paul Campbell
    Founder - Hill Capital Partners

    Paul Campbell

    Founder - Hill Capital Partners

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    Paul has been involved in the creation, development and sale of a number of the UK's most highly regarded leisure businesses.

    In the 1990’s he founded, grew and successfully sold a 100 site sports facility and fitness club business, before joining the Board of PizzaExpress PLC. Following the sale of PizzaExpress in 2003 for £278m, he founded and floated restaurant developer The Clapham House Group PLC, later selling the business to Nando’s Group Holdings Limited.

    Paul now runs a portfolio of investments through his own LLP, Hill Capital Partners – and also invests in and advises a number of private equity funds. 

    Paul is currently invested in and a Non-Executive Director or Chairman of several fast growing businesses in the hospitality sector including Hawksmoor, Tortilla, Vinoteca, The Alchemist, Gusto and Hickory’s. He is also an investor in and on the Boards of two hotel business, Halcyon Hotels and Resorts and Palladian Hotels and Resorts and is Chairman of urban fitness club operator Gymbox.

    He is also a seed investor in several early stage restaurant and leisure businesses.

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    Michael Ingemann
    Executive Chairman - Claus Meyer Holding; Director, Melting Pot Foundation

    Michael Ingemann

    Executive Chairman - Claus Meyer Holding; Director, Melting Pot Foundation

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    Michael is the executive chairman of Claus Meyer Holding, an operator and investor in high-end restaurants and food companies in the US and Scandinavia (such as Restaurant Noma and Studio in Copenhagen).  He is a director in Great Northern Food Hall and Agern Restaurant – two ventures that are due to open in New York’s Grand Central Terminal this spring, and in Restaurant Gustu in La Paz, Bolivia.  He is also a director in the Melting Pot Foundation, a charitable organisation that utilizes culinary empowerment and education to combat poverty in Europe and in North and South America.   Finally, Michael is an investor, mentor or board member in a number of start-ups, such as Fooducer, a Danish VC-backed platform with a unique approach to linking food suppliers with their customers.

    After completing his MBA from Dartmouth College in the US, Michael spent a number of years with the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, and as founder/CEO of an online media group in Scandinavia. In addition to his food related ventures, Michael is a managing partner in Corpro that advises private equity firms and corporate management teams across Europe on strategy, operations and M&A related issues.

    Michael is Danish, but has lived in London for the past 15 years.

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    Laurent Plantier
    Founder - FrenchFood Capital

    Laurent Plantier

    Founder - FrenchFood Capital

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    Laurent Plantier is the co founder of FrenchFood Capital, a newly created Capital Development Fund investing in Food companies who reinvent our food experience. This multi-sectoral sector specific positioning starts with the premise that a Food revolution is underway, a revolution of usage, experience and knowledge which affects all companies in the food value chain.

    / If champions, able to reach an international critical size, are to emerge, we need to provide them with funding, networks and a triple innovation, business sector and international business development support.

    Before Laurent headed Alain Ducasse Entreprise from 1998 to January 2015 as Chief Executive Officer and partner. He is an ardent supporter of the asset light strategy: "For a company that does not have substantial capital like ours, but a high reputation, relying on separate ownership of hotel operators who want to outsource catering, is a tremendous advantage to expand our business throughout the world." For more than a decade, Alain Ducasse Entreprise has passionately dedicated itself to the pleasures of gastronomy. Every day, they welcome customers seeking delicious moments to share, a combined experience of wonderful foods, remarkable wines and top quality service. Cooking and hospitality are both at the very heart of their craft.

    Laurent Plantier started his career as an asset consultant to buy companies in difficulty. As a true entrepreneur, he buys a small industrial company he will manage for 5 years. He then applies to the M. I. T. to do an MBA at Sloan for two years. As a successful M.B.A graduate, he takes over the Hotel chain Chateaux & Hotels Collection with Alain Ducasse, and partners with him in the creation and development of Alain Ducasse Entreprise. Laurent enjoys sharing his 20 years experience with others helping them develop start-ups and creating jobs and opportunities for the most in need.

    "I like now, as a new challenge, to help and mentor entrepreneurs in the food businesses to develop their venture.' Laurent said. He is a motivational speaker and mentor and is truly passionate about changing the food industry and making major changes in the food industry globally. He enjoys mentoring, team building and establishing new businesses. He speaks English and French.

15:00 - 15:30

SCALING UP AND SUSTAINING GROWTH

Opening new sites is one thing but how do you keep the doors open and growth consistant? What you need to know when expanding on a national and international level.

Moderated by:

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    Babette Marzheuser-Wood
    Partner - Dentons

    Babette Marzheuser-Wood

    Partner - Dentons

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    Babette is rated as a top 10 global franchise lawyer. She heads up the European Franchise team at Dentons. She specialises in international franchise and concession agreements and IP-driven joint ventures.

    Babette has transactional experience in over 100 countries. Recent deals include work in all major emerging markets (Russia, India, China, Brazil and South Africa) as well as in the Middle East and Africa. She also advises clients on franchise agreements and other innovative structures for international expansion in the global marketplace.

    Babette has particular expertise in the restaurant, hotel, leisure, retail and sectors. She is dual qualified in Germany and the UK.  She is recognised as one of Europe’s leading experts in hotel and leisure franchising with a particular emphasis on German speaking Europe. Babette is recognised as a leading expert in international franchising by Chambers Global which says she is “highly regarded for her experience in the hotel and leisure industry”. She is also recommended by The International Who’s Who of Franchise Lawyers, Chambers UK and Legal 500 for her franchise expertise. She is listed as a recommended country expert for Germany in Chambers Global.

    Babette’s research on the role of franchising in the European hospitality industry has attracted widespread media attention. Babette is the author of “International Protection of a Franchisor’s System”, Vancouver 2004. She has written the European section of Butterworth’s Franchise Laws.

    She lectures regularly around the world on franchise law and was part of a team of lawyers that advised the Russian Government on the use of franchising to kick-start small businesses. She is an associated editor of the Franchise Law Review.

    Babette is a member of the ABA Forum on Franchising, the IBA Franchise Committee and the IFA.

    She is dual qualified in both Germany and the UK.

In conversation with

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    Kieran Mallon
    General Manager – F&B - Al Futtaim Retail

    Kieran Mallon

    General Manager – F&B - Al Futtaim Retail

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    Kieran is in the Leadership Role for Food and Beverage at Al Futtaim and is tasked with the creation of a large and profitable restaurant business as part of Al Futtaim Retail division.

    Kieran has been in the Middle East for nearly ten years and has opened over eighty restaurants across a range of casual dining, fast casual and quick service brands in each GCC country and with all the major mall developers. During his career, Kieran has been involved in over 240 new openings and created the Frankie & Bennys restaurant brand which now has over 250 restaurants in the UK.

    He has made a significant contribution to the restaurant market during his time in the Middle East, as Vice President of the restaurant division of Alshaya where he was instrumental in bringing Shake Shack, PF Changs, Texas Roadhouse, Pinkberry, Potbelly and Cheesecake Factory to the region and also during his time as COO Restaurants at Landmark, expanding Carluccios, Max Chicken and Zafran restaurants and acquiring the Nandos and Jamba Juice franchises.

    Originally from the UK, Kieran held a variety of operational roles such as Regional Director Whitbread, Managing Director of Le Petit Blanc and Executive Director for Metropolitan Restaurants as well as marketing roles including Marketing Director for Sodexho UK and Ireland and Marketing Controller for The Restaurant Group.

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    Jason Myers
    Chief Executive Officer - Busaba Eathai

    Jason Myers

    Chief Executive Officer - Busaba Eathai

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    Jason Myers leads the award-winning restaurant group Busaba Eathai, the UK leading Thai casual dining brand. Busaba was opened in 1999 by restaurateur Alan Yau in Soho, creator of Wagamama, Yauatcha and Hakkasan. Fifteen years on the brand has rolled out across London, with Busaba continuing to expand. The first international Busaba opened in Dubai in early 2015, with a plan in place to open many more over the coming years. Funding for Busaba’s next stage of development is in place and Myers leads the roll out across the UK and Middle East. 
    Recently Busaba was included in the Top 25 of Zolfo Cooper UK’s fastest growing eating and drinking out businesses and shortlisted for this year’s CGA Peach Hero Awards in the Evolutionary Brand category, to add to its many accolades over the year.

    Myers has extensive F&B experience in both the UK and Internationally. He has worked in international markets as Jumeirah Restaurants Managing Director, oversaw all Caprice brands and Noodle House, also VP of Jumeirah Hotels F&B worldwide – being credited for the strategic creation of Jumeirah pioneering stand-alone restaurant group RnB. Myers has held Director positions with S&N, Barracuda, Spirit Group, Greene King, Gondola Group, Ignite group, and Jumeirah International, before he took up the role as CEO of Busaba Eathai. 

    Myers was also the spokesperson for Jumeirah, key note speaker, government advisor and holds 3 non-executive roles for a number of F&B companies as well as an IT based app business. 

    Accolades include: 
    •    Power No. 1 2013/2014 the Caterer Middle East 
    •    Voted in the Top 20 Most Influential Brits in the Middle East 2013/2014
    •    Spokesperson on all F&B issues for Jumeirah 
    •    Government Advisor 
    •    Non-Executive in the Middle East, UK, and International businesses


    Busaba awards: 
    •    Shortlisted for CGA Peach Hero Awards 2015
    •    Top 25 of Zolfo Cooper UK’s Fastest Growing Eating and Drinking Out Businesses 2014
    •    Listed on London Stock Exchange’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain 2013
    •    Included in 2012 and 2013 Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For
    •    Best Restaurant in 2011 Restaurant & Bar Design Awards
    •    Featured in Time Out: London’s 50 Favourite Restaurants 2011
    •    Featured in Top 20 Employers in Hospitality 2011
    •    First place in Time Out: London’s 10 Favourite Restaurants 2009
    •    Second place in Time Out: 50 Best London Restaurants 2008
    •    Best chain in LondonEats.com Restaurant Awards 2006
    •    Best cheap eats in Observer Food Monthly 2004

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    Mark Nelson
    Managing Director – Concessions & Franchising - Casual Dining Group

    Mark Nelson

    Managing Director – Concessions & Franchising - Casual Dining Group

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    Nick Schapira
    International Strategy & Development Director - Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group

    Nick Schapira

    International Strategy & Development Director - Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group

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    Nicholas has spent the past 10 years working in business and concept development for companies in the retail and restaurant industries. During this time he has set up and developed the international strategy and platform for Richard Branson’s Virgin Vie At Home, driving the brand expansion from the UK into international markets. This was followed by move to the Jamie Oliver Group in 2007 where he moved in to a concept and development role, and helped to develop concepts with Jamie Oliver such as Recipease and Jme. Nicholas’s focus was in the strategy and planning of new business venture. Later in 2011 Nicholas moved within the Jamie Oliver Group to Jamie’s Italian International as International Business Development Director, where he has spent the past 5 years continuing to develop and take the Jamie’s Italian restaurant brand internationally into new markets such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Brazil, Turkey China, Canada, Sweden, Indonesia, Malaysia and India. He has also been charged with the international development of further Jamie Oliver restaurant concepts such as Barbecoa and Jamie’s Deli.

15:30 - 15:40

INVESTMENT TRENDS IN AFRICA

A look at what is happening in the African market. Do restaurant investment trends in the region match industry performance, returns and changing consumer behaviour?

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    Soumobroto Ganguly
    Deputy Managing Director - Genesis Group Nigeria

    Soumobroto Ganguly

    Deputy Managing Director - Genesis Group Nigeria

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    Soumo Ganguly is Deputy Managing Director of Genesis Group - one of Nigeria's largest food service, hospitality and cinema groups. Mr Ganguly joined the group in early 2016 and has direct oversight of all business units as well as central and staff functions of marketing, sales, finance, HR, IT and  procurement. Prior to Genesis, he was a consultant covering consumer media, entertainment and food retail, digital marketing and sports, as well as private equity and in M&A. He has worked with KPMG, Navis Capital, Infosys and Milestone. Prior to consulting, Mr Ganguly was a transaction coordinator for the law firm of Reed Smith. He obtained his BMP from Asian Institute of Management (Manila) and BA LLB from National Law School Of India (Bangalore).

15:40 - 16:00

Networking

COFFEE BREAK

16:00 - 16:30

DEMYSTIFYING RESTAURANT DEVELOPMENT

Ensuring ROI by investing across all phases of the development process, from functional interior design, to preopening marketing and operational planning. A look at the opportunities and challenges across the restaurant development process and an investor’s perspective on how to get the most return. 

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    Harry McKinley
    Editor - Supper Magazine

    Harry McKinley

    Editor - Supper Magazine

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    An experienced journalist, Harry McKinley is editor of Supper Magazine, the quarterly industry title exploring global hotel F&B. Supper is a companion title to Sleeper, the world’s leading publication for hotel design and architecture, and organisers of AHEAD: the Awards for Hospitality Experience and Design.

    In his role at Supper, Harry frequently travels to creative new hotel and hospitality projects and speaks regularly at international events on F&B, design and global hospitality trends.

    Previous beats include serving as editor of PositiveLuxury.com, a platform backed by Karen Hanton MBE exploring the CSR credentials of leading lifestyle brands. Here he worked closely with F&B and hotel organisations, helping to develop how sustainability reputation can be relevant to a consumer audience and charting the shifting importance of brand values in the luxury sector. 

    Harry also headed up the launch of a new print and digital title in the UAE. At MOJEH Men (and the already established MOJEH), Harry worked with some of the world’s leading hospitality names to communicate on developments within the industry and shape consumer perception across the Middle East and internationally.

In conversation with 

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    Toufic Akl
    Partner, Operations - Hodema Consulting Services

    Toufic Akl

    Partner, Operations - Hodema Consulting Services

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    Toufic Akl joined Hodema in November 2011 as a Consultant then was promoted to Senior Consultant & Offshore Manager. Today, he is a Partner at Hodema handling operations and heading a team of consultants in charge of Hodema projects inside and outside Lebanon. Toufic has over 14 years of experience in the hospitality industry, during which he has held top managerial positions in renowned hospitality related institutions – Operations Manager of six Food & Beverage brands at the Hospitality Development Company in Qatar and Outlets Manager at the InterContinental Hotel in Toronto, Canada.

    Toufic has also worked as the Operations Manager of several Food & Beverage brands in Lebanon and abroad, with Boubess Group. Throughout his career, he has been responsible for opening over 30 restaurants, as well as designing kitchens and central kitchens for F&B groups. Toufic has also served the Lebanese Army as the Food & Beverage Controller of Yarzeh Officers Club restaurant.  He holds a Bachelors degree in Advanced Studies in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, Switzerland.

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    Naim Maadad
    Chief Executive Officer - Gates Hospitality

    Naim Maadad

    Chief Executive Officer - Gates Hospitality

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    With over 28 years in the hospitality world across Australia, Asia, & the Middle East in various senior management roles, I have launched & operated some of the world’s best Hotels, Resorts, Spas & Lifestyle Food & Beverage Concepts.

    My career has exposed me to some of the best properties around the world and I was fortunate to partake & orchestrate several amazing openings & operations.

    Covering a wide spectrum of positions within senior leadership, including the role of Managing Director for both Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas and The Anantara Group respectively. During my time with these exclusive properties, I was instrumental in nurturing sound relationships with owners, securing the best possible locations, negotiating and formalising contractual agreements, and appointing teams to infuse and reflect the ethos of the brands.

    Being based in the ME over the past 18 years, I have witnessed tremendous industry growth, gained a deep cultural understanding & have been endorsed by principals & organizations alike.

    In 2012, I have established “Gates Hospitality” A homegrown Hospitality Company representing handpicked Concepts catering for the affluent life stylers.

    Gates Hospitality, the parent company of well-known homegrown brands such as; Ultra Brasserie, the internationally acclaimed concept; Reform Social & Grill Dubai, The Black Lion, Bistro Des Arts and ownership of Six Senses Zighy Bay.

    Continuing the successful growth of Gates Hospitality’s portfolio; 2017, has seen the launch of the highly anticipated; Folly by Nick & Scott, as well as Publique, Dubai's premier "Apres Ski chalet". Via Veneto Osteria e Cucina will be revealed early Q2 of 2017.

    In principal, GH expertise that are extended are indicative but not limited to; Hospitality Guidance | Asset Management | Pre-opening Foundation | Day-to-day Operational Success.

    My philosophy & approach are simple, connecting likeminded investors, operators & brands to define concepts, successful portfolios & continue on shaping the hospitality industry.

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    Dr Nnaeto Orazulike
    Founder & Group Managing Director - Genesis Group Nigeria

    Dr Nnaeto Orazulike

    Founder & Group Managing Director - Genesis Group Nigeria

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    Dr Nnaeto Orazulike is the Founder and Owner of Genesis Group Nigeria, a hospitality group which has been in existence for 25 years and is involved in contract Catering, Hotels, Restaurants, Cinemas and Snack Production, Real Estate Development and Oil and Gas Services.
    Dr Nnaeto Orazulike is also a member of the Broad of Directors in Fidelity Bank Plc a position he has held for 8 years.
    He obtained his B.Sc in Accounting from the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus and his Executive Education Degree in Harvard Business School, Boston M.A USA. He was also honored with a Doctor of Science Award (Honoris Causa) from the University of Port Harcourt in 2015.

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    Robert Polacek
    Chief Creative Officer + Partner - Puccini Group

    Robert Polacek

    Chief Creative Officer + Partner - Puccini Group

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    As Chief Creative Officer and Partner, Rob oversees the diverse interior architecture and design practice of Puccini Group, contributing a unique vision to the firm’s interdisciplinary consulting mission. With a degree in architecture from Catholic University of America, Rob is recognized for his ability to understand the interactions between the user and the built environment, creating aesthetically and functionally successful restaurants and hotels that visually reflect a brand’s culture. Rob’s 15 year tenure creating sophisticated and noteworthy spaces allows him to easily navigate the challenges of complex projects and find solutions that bridge the connection between owner and brand. His emphasis on innovation and thought leadership in every project permeates the Puccini Group studio and ensures the success of countless hospitality spaces across the globe for clients such as Four Seasons, Jumeirah, Fairmont, St. Regis, and Ritz-Carlton. A sought after industry expert, he is invited to speak at Hospitality forums and is regularly published in design media.

16:30 - 17:00

HOTEL F&B

Homegrown vs franchising vs leasing, how to get hotel F&B right to get maximum return for owners. With leasing outlets becoming more popular, how do you strike the right balance between the right tenant that adds value, the right price and guest experience? Of those who are doing it in house, who is innovating and doing it right?

Moderated by:

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    Duncan Fraser-Smith
    Director,Global Food and Beverage - The First Group

    Duncan Fraser-Smith

    Director,Global Food and Beverage - The First Group

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    Having spent the past 6 years in the Middle East region in key food and beverage roles within the hotel industry, Duncan has a wealth of experience in this region.

    Duncan spent 3 years in Doha, Qatar, developing the hospitality operations for Qatar Sports City and the Cultural Village.  Most recently his role as Group Director of Design, Food and Beverage for Middle East, Africa and Asia, involved creating and developing over 150 different food and beverage concepts for InterContinental Hotels Group, one of the largest hotel companies in the world, so Duncan is well recognized and respected in the hotel and restaurant industry within the Middle East/GCC region and internationally.

    Duncan’s 20 years in the hospitality industry, spanning Asia, Australia and the Middle East, have seen him developing both edgy brand defining concepts and establishing, both stand alone and hotel based outlets from deconstructed bars, cafes and lifestyle outlets through to contemporary steakhouses and high street fine dining .

    Duncan has a unique approach to developing hotel food and beverage operations by identifying the mix of offerings falling under the three categories of , Core, Impulse and Destination and to make strategic, long
    term decisions on the correct use of each individual space.

In conversation with 

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    Ramzy Abdul-Majeed
    Founder & Managing Director - Whissle Hospitality Group

    Ramzy Abdul-Majeed

    Founder & Managing Director - Whissle Hospitality Group

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    Ramzy has over 20 years global experience with a strong financial background as a Chartered Accountant from PriceWaterhouseCoopers in London. Subsequently at Société Générale in London in the late 1990s as a Fund Manager, Ramzy managed over US$300m of publicly listed private equity funds with a focus on the Middle East and Eastern European markets.

    Prior to settling in Dubai in 2004, Ramzy spent four years as the General Manager of Investments & Risk Management for Xenel Industries, one of the largest conglomerates in Saudi Arabia that also holds significant interests through joint ventures, alliances and direct investments in a variety of sectors globally. He was enticed to move to Dubai to assist with heading up the Strategy team at National Bank of Dubai. Having gained a reputation as the numbers man with an in-demand “Midas” touch, Ramzy, together with partner and longtime friend Markus Thesleff, co-founded Whissle, and together continue to bring a new dimension to the rapidly expanding hospitality scene in Dubai.

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    Andrew Morrow
    General Manager, F&B Development and Operations - Roya International

    Andrew Morrow

    General Manager, F&B Development and Operations - Roya International

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    Andrew has a remarkable career spanning 22 years. A chef by trade, Andrew started his career with Hyatt Hotels and rose to head chef working in some of the world’s most iconic hotel properties and independent restaurants including stints at Bather Pavilion, Mission Hill Family Estate and Hayman Island to name a few.

    After more than ten years leading kitchen teams to success on three continents Andrew turned his sights in 2008 to the UAE and more of an operations role. A tenure at Emirates Palace was instrumental in setting Andrew up to help launch a new food group and the development of three new brands for the UAE market. Having gained an in-depth understanding of operational food and beverage requirements, Andrew brings to Roya an exceptional portfolio of specialist knowledge and experience in all aspects of the hospitality food and beverage industry whether from menu planning, creation and engineering to an ability to comprehensively review back of house operations and services.

17:00 - 17:30

AIRPORT F&B

what is the benefit of having a presence in airports? What are the challenges? What makes a brand attractive to airports, what are their criteria when choosing a concept? 

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    Simon Taylor
    Head of Business Development Restaurants, Condé Nast International Restaurants -

    Simon Taylor

    Head of Business Development Restaurants, Condé Nast International Restaurants -

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    Simon Taylor brings 20 years of luxury hospitality experience to Condé Nast
    International Restaurants, overseeing the growth and development of restaurant
    license partners in exciting new markets around the world.
    First class service environments have been at the heart of Simon’s hospitality career.
    In the early millennium, Simon spent three years travelling and working on cruise ships
    in The Caribbean and The Mediterranean, before opening a premium health club in
    Hampton, West London, in 2003.
    Following his London experiences, Simon returned to sunnier climates in Abu Dhabi,
    working with a well established expatriate private members’ club as Head of Food and
    Beverage. Overseeing a large team of 200, the operation quickly expanded to support
    the private fine dining of sheikhs, and events spanning over 8,000 people. Simon’s
    entrepreneurial spirit showed through by improving and implementing new outlets
    during his role, and the club continued to grow from strength to strength.
    Simon’s next role took him back to London, to the international marketing offices of
    Bacardi Global Brands. During his successful 8-year tenure, he was at the heart of a
    new department that created and managed Visitor Centres, Brand Homes and
    Archives for the portfolio of the family-owned Bacardi company. He oversaw projects
    totalling US$75m of capital investment to improve the hospitality infrastructure of
    iconic brands including Martini, Bombay Sapphire, Dewars Whisky and Grey Goose.
    Notable Brand Homes include Le Logis for Grey Goose in France, and the awardwinning
    customer experience at the new Bombay Sapphire distillery in Laverstoke,
    Hampshire, UK.
    The vision of Condé Nast International restaurants lies in extending the iconic
    multimedia brands of Condé Nast to global restaurants, bars and café concepts.
    Simon’s international experience in the creation of luxury hospitality environments is
    invaluable to the onward growth and extension of the Condé Nast International
    Restuarants portfolio.

In conversation with

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    Mark Angela
    Group Chief Commercial Officer & CEO Eastern Europe & Middle East - SSP Group

    Mark Angela

    Group Chief Commercial Officer & CEO Eastern Europe & Middle East - SSP Group

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    Mark joined SSP in February 2012 as Chief Executive Officer of its UK and Ireland division and in April 2014 he was appointed Chief Commercial Officer for the SSP Group and in May 2016 also took responsibility as CEO to SSP’s Eastern Europe and Middle East.  Mark began his career in merchant banking with Schroders before moving into the FMCG pharmaceutical sector, working at ICI (now Astra-Zeneca) and Colgate-Palmolive in a variety of international marketing and then management positions. Mark then joined Greene King Pub Company as Managing Director and was a board member of Greene King PLC before spending four years as Chief Executive Officer of Pizza Express Restaurants. Mark holds a degree in modern languages from Cambridge University.

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    Nick Schapira
    International Strategy & Development Director - Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group

    Nick Schapira

    International Strategy & Development Director - Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group

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    Nicholas has spent the past 10 years working in business and concept development for companies in the retail and restaurant industries. During this time he has set up and developed the international strategy and platform for Richard Branson’s Virgin Vie At Home, driving the brand expansion from the UK into international markets. This was followed by move to the Jamie Oliver Group in 2007 where he moved in to a concept and development role, and helped to develop concepts with Jamie Oliver such as Recipease and Jme. Nicholas’s focus was in the strategy and planning of new business venture. Later in 2011 Nicholas moved within the Jamie Oliver Group to Jamie’s Italian International as International Business Development Director, where he has spent the past 5 years continuing to develop and take the Jamie’s Italian restaurant brand internationally into new markets such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Brazil, Turkey China, Canada, Sweden, Indonesia, Malaysia and India. He has also been charged with the international development of further Jamie Oliver restaurant concepts such as Barbecoa and Jamie’s Deli.

18:30 - 21:00

GALA NETWORKING RECEPTION AT FOLLY BY NICK AND SCOTT

A fabulous evening networking reception at newly opened folly by Nick and Scott.  Comprised of an indoor dining area and open, interactive kitchen, as well as stunning outdoor bars and terraces, folly by Nick and Scott - conceived in partnership with Gates Hospitality - offers an informal take on modern fine dining, in a relaxed yet sophisticated atmosphere. Guests will sample the contemporary menu, executed with technical skill and finesse and driven by quality produce and ingredients to the perfect networking evening. 

Buses have been arranged to take you directly from Fairmont, The Palm at the close of the conference