The Restaurant Conference will return in 2019. To be the first to hear about our 2019 programme, please register your interest by emailing Ubaidah.Abowath@mca‑insight.com.
9.00 – Registration
9.45 – Welcome – James Wallin, editor, MCA
9.50 – Jon Knight, Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group
Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group chief executive Jon Knight will give insights into his transformation plan to reconnect the brand with its core audience. He will also discuss new growth avenues, including the landmark partnership with workplace caterer, Aramark, and ongoing opportunities internationally and in travel hubs.
10.10 – John Eckbert, Five Guys
John Eckbert, CEO of Five Guys UK and the man who brought the burger chain to these shores, will look back at the key challenges and discuss how the brand will maintain its rapid expansion as it marks its five-year anniversary in the UK.
The brand has grown to more than 80 sites and is on track to open 20 in 2018 alone. In terms of turnover, Five Guys has reached the top 30 UK casual dining brands as of December 2017 (Source: MCA data).
10.30 – Future of the high street panel
• Kate Nicholls, chief executive, UK Hospitality
• Simon French, director, Bixteth Partners
• Simon Wilkinson, chief executive consultant, The Carlyle Group
• Rob Meadows, director, Davis Coffer Lyons
11.00 – Tom Weaver, Flyt
Tom will talk through how digital – and in particular forces like online ordering and delivery – is transforming and disrupting the essence of bricks and mortar hospitality and how what we consider to be a restaurant may fundamentally change.
11.10 – Dennis Deare, Mitchells & Butlers (Miller & Carter)
Dennis Deare, who is heading up the 100-strong Miller & Carter brand at Mitchells & Butlers (M&B), will talk about how it has more than doubled in size over the past two years and spearheaded M&B’s evolution towards a more premium experience. He will also discuss the brand’s international expansion and the wider work M&B is doing around menu psychology and sales / service optimisation.
11.30 – Break
11.50 – Zoe Bowley, PizzaExpress
Zoe Bowley, UK managing director at PizzaExpress, will talk about how the brand is staying relevant and listening to its customers, the plans for the future and how to tap into the experiential market. The brand is on track for 7 new openings in 2018, with further restaurants being rolled out across the Welcome Break estate.
12.05 – Michael Powner, Head of Food & Beverage, Charles Russell Speechlys
Michael will discuss Brexit and the key challenges ahead from a legal perspective.
12.15 – Investor panel
• Graeme Smith, managing director, AlixPartners London
• Jason McGibbon, Bridgepoint
• Darrel Connel, Imbiba
• Robin Rowland, TriSpan
Graeme Smith will host a panel of leading investors in the sector, gauging their views of the restaurant sector.
12.45 – “One to watch” panel
• Eve Bugler, founder and MD, Bababoom
• Rik Campbell, co-founder, Kricket
• Jonathan Recanati, founder of Farmer J
Every year at MCA’s Restaurant Conference we shine a light on those concepts we believe are well placed to make their mark on the sector for years to come.
13.05 – Lunch
14.00 – Karen Jones, Prezzo
In her first speech since becoming executive chair of Prezzo, Karen Jones will discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the Italian casual dining chain and the wider sector.
14.20 – Benjamin Calleja, CEO, Livit
Calleja will share insights from Livit’s work with some of the biggest restaurant brands on the planet. He will look at the use of AI in triggering customer behaviour and share learnings from Livit’s test-lab restaurant in Stockholm.
14.40 – Krister Kristiansen, Attensi UK
How virtual reality, gaming and analytics can engage the smartphone generation and boost customer experience
14.50 – MCA
Simon Stenning, strategic advisor at MCA, and Steve Gotham, director of insight at MCA, will present key findings from MCA’s UK Restaurant Market Report 2018, focusing on the trends, challenges and opportunities shaping the restaurant industry. You can order the report by emailing insight.enquiries@mca‑insight.com or calling 020 7611 0405.
15.10 – Break
15.30 – Rohan Pradhan, Deliveroo
In the past year, a number of brands have launched virtual restaurants brands, including Busaba Eathai, Yoobi, Chilli Banana, Lievita, Proove and Wagamama to name a few. Rohan Pradhan, COO of Deliveroo, will talk about what virtual or delivery-only brands mean for the restaurant sector.
15.50 – Tom Lee, editor, Food Spark and David Jones
Tom will sit down with food innovation expert David Jones to talk about some of the consumer trends that are electrifying the UK.
16.05 – “New Voices” speaker panel
• Hosted by Adam Walford, Partner and Head of Retail & Leisure, Howard Kennedy
• Jo Fleet, MD Flat Iron
• Amber Wood, MD Cosy Club at Loungers
• Richard Ferrier, operations director at Brasserie Blanc
As part of the emerging generation of sector leaders, Jo, Amber and Richard will be sharing some of their career defining moments so far and discussing what the future looks like for the restaurant sector.