2021 Agenda

Our 2021 event programme was our strongest yet, packed with industry leader interviews and panels as well as in-depth insight sessions. Highlights included:

DEALS/LANDSCAPE SESSION: Graeme Smith, MD, hospitality & Leisure, AlixPartners

Graeme examined the current shape of the casual dining market and assessed how well it is primed for recovery.


The first minister with a dedicated hospitality brief, Mr Scully presented his hospitality strategy to help the sector ‘build back better’, focusing on reopening, recovery and resilience.

INSIGHT SESSION: Katie Prowse, senior insight manager, Lumina Intelligence

Katie shared the latest insights from Lumina Intelligence’s Eating & Drinking Out Panel, giving an update on restaurant recovery, with forecasts to 2024, market drivers and inhibitors on the horizon and the latest consumer attitudes, behaviours and intentions.

PROPERTY PANEL: Matt Ainger, property director, Big Table Group, Tom Byng, chief development officer, Popeyes UK & Vishal Talreja, property director, itsu

This special property panel session explored which geographical locations were proving most promising, what new considerations operators have for site specifications and just how much rent levels have undergone a reset.


In this Q&A, Paula discussed how the muscle memory of KFC’s chicken shortage in 2018 helped it to better cope with the pandemic and how a distinctive approach to marketing has helped transform the brand’s cultural relevance and sales.

INVESTMENT PANEL: Robin Rowland, operating partner, TriSpan, Darrel Connell, partner, Imbiba & Ali Aneizi, founder, Tamweel Capital. Hosted by Mark Stretton

With post-pandemic recovery now in full swing, this panel looked at the availability of capital to support expansion in the market, and consider the new crop of private equity firms backing the sector.

SECTOR LEADER SESSION: Keith Bird, CEO Marugame Udon Europe

This fast-casual Japanese noodles and tempura specialist from Japan is looking to make a splash in the UK. Part of a global expansion plan to reach 6,000 sites, Keith Bird, explained why the UK market is hungry for a specialist offering at a quick service price point.

OMNICHANNEL PANEL: Jo Fleet, brand director, Hawksmoor at Home, Ganan Kanagathurai, UK CEO, itsu, Matt Ring, director of national accounts, Deliveroo & Nick Liddle, commercial director, Vita Mojo

Increasing numbers of established restaurant operators are leveraging their brand awareness to drive incremental sales as part of an omni-channel strategy. In this panel, we explored the balance of delivery and click & collect alongside dine-in and retail, the opportunity for meal kits and pre-packaged drinks offerings – and why a diverse sales strategy is now a necessity.

SECTOR LEADER SESSION: Jeremy King, CEO and co-founder, Corbin & King

In a fireside chat with BigHospitality editor Stefan Chomka, Jeremy discussed the challenges of opening a major new restaurant in central London during a pandemic, the virtue of grand brasseries, and how to settle rent debts when there are millions of pounds at stake.

INSIGHT SESSION: Karl Chessell, director – hospitality operators & food, CGA

Sharing insights from CGA’s data pool on restaurant market performance and business confidence, Karl explored consumer trends such as omnichannel sales, localisation and technology.

PEOPLE AND CULTURE PANEL: Brian Trollip, MD, Dishoom, Thom Elliot, co-founder, Pizza Pilgrims, Natasha Waterfield, COO, New World Trading Company, Kate Nicholls, CEO, UKHospitality, Greg Hull, global head of hospitality & leisure, Attensi

In this panel we discussed how operators are attracting and retaining staff through a strong company culture and frequent training, how we can encourage young people to view hospitality as an employer of choice, and how the competition for staff is driving up wages.

WORKPLACE ENGAGEMENT & HAPPINESS Lord Mark Price, founder, WorkL for Business

Lord Price presented findings from unique research into how happy and engaged hospitality employees are, relative to other sectors and offer suggestions as to where employers might focus their efforts going forward.

SUSTAINABILITY PANEL: THE RACE TO CARBON ZERO Steven Packer, director of supply chain and IT, Pizza Hut Restaurants, Mel Marriott, founder & MD, Darwin & Wallace, Mark Chapman, founder & CEO, Zero Carbon Forum & Nicola Pierce, director of commercial planning & ESG, BKUK

In this key session, coinciding with the meeting of world leaders at COP26, hospitality’s challenges and progress towards carbon zero were discussed by senior sustainability leaders.

PROCUREMENT SESSION: David Read, chairman, Prestige Purchasing

Covid and Brexit have combined to cause the perfect storm for supply chains. David gave an overview of the current situation, highlight how operators can minimise impact on their business, and forecast the trajectory of food inflation over the next year.


John reflected on how the better burger brand has managed to continue its impressive growth trajectory throughout the pandemic and share exclusive insights into its plans for the future.

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UK Restaurant Market Report 2020/21

The UK Restaurant Market Report 2020/21, from MCA’s insight partner Lumina Intelligence, is the definitive report for the UK restaurant industry. Trusted as the go-to data and insight source for many leading UK operators and suppliers, this report provides you with the detail needed to get ahead of the competition. The report includes detailed analysis of the size of the restaurant market, competitive landscape, menu engineering, consumer insight and future outlook. In addition, in order to stay on top of fast-paced market changes, the report includes an updated consumer insight section every quarter. Katie Prowse will be sharing the details from the latest quarterly update to the report, updating on market recovery, with forecasts to 2024 and the latest consumer attitudes, behaviours and intentions. To find out more about the report, please contact Lumina Intelligence on   enquiries@lumina-intelligence.com

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