The Global Restaurant Investment Forum 2017 (GRIF), being held from 10-12 April 2017 at Fairmont The Palm in Dubai, will welcome restaurateur Stuart Gillies, chief executive officer of Gordon Ramsay Group, as its keynote speaker in a live-on-stage interview.
Gillies will address GRIF’s audience of more than 300 F&B industry professionals and reveal why and how Gordon Ramsay Group embarked on a new direction, expanding into casual dining and entering new markets to achieve profitability amid a challenging economic environment.
Speaking ahead of GRIF, Gillies commented: “Hard work, clear focus and positivity were some of the key elements which achieved this.
“The business focused on what it did best whilst adapting to the ever-changing demands of the public by diversifying. Additionally, we invested in our teams and brought in a number of specialists who added value to the quality and talent within.”
At GRIF, in a session entitled ‘Growing Global: Getting it Right’, Gillies is expected to offer his advice to restaurateurs looking to develop their own concepts.
Drawing on his experience with Gordon Ramsay Group, where Gillies is responsible for brand protection and strategic growth globally, he said: “Stay in your own lane, do what you do well, then build on that. Also, focus on your team as they are your most valuable assets.”
Jonathan Worsley, chairman of Bench Events, the organiser of GRIF, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Stuart Gillies to our roster of international speakers at GRIF and look forward to providing a platform for our delegates to discuss and debate key business trends, challenges and opportunities.
“Restaurant brands globally have an increasingly discerning yet price-sensitive consumer to cater to in a competitive marketplace, so the ability to adapt and change can be critical to success.
“We are eagerly anticipating the new concepts that will be presented in this year’s GRIF Deal Den and excited to learn more about brand development and expansion from our expert speakers.”
GRIF, the annual networking and intelligence event for the international restaurant and hospitality community powered by Michelin, features a stimulating conference programme that gets to the core of investing in the restaurant and food service industry.
Sessions planned for 2017 include Shape of the Industry; A Macroeconomic Overview; Creating a Food Culture; Adding Value as an Investor; Scaling up and Sustaining Growth; Pros and Cons of the Franchise Model; Evaluating an Investment; and Demystifying Restaurant Design.
Paul Campbell, Founder, Hill Capital Partners, who is speaking on the session entitled ‘Adding Value as an Investor’, echoed Gillies’ comments regarding the importance of talent.
“When it comes to success, the quality of the underlying restaurant offer is fundamental – the food and beverage, the service and the décor. But as businesses scale, the quality of the management team leading the business becomes by far the most important factor,” said Campbell.
GRIF will also address the various ways in which hotels can approach F&B, from in-house operations to franchising to leasing.
Ahead of this session, speaker Stefan Breg, director of F&B Europe, Africa and Middle East for Starwood Legacy Hotels, Marriott International, said that to find the right solution, hoteliers needed to leverage their market knowledge and do the same with a broad range of stakeholders, from owners to suppliers.
“In the Middle East, the biggest challenge for hoteliers is the growing and evolving competition from free-standing restaurants and other hotels.
“Sometimes our biggest challenge is to realise that we, as hoteliers, already have the potential to be leaders in the restaurant and bar market, as we do already in the UAE, and our aim is to replicate this leadership across our portfolio.”
GRIF will also present culinary tours, taking place at new Dubai dining hotspots, vibrant networking receptions, a three-hour Franchise Masterclass hosted by Babette Marzheuser-Wood, partner, Dentons and the GRIF Deal Den, featuring presentations on new concepts seeking investment.
In addition to the high-level agenda, GRIF 2017 will present the second edition of the Global Restaurant Awards, which give recognition to the businesses behind the world’s leading restaurants and brands.
Nominations are now open in categories including Restaurant Franchisor of the Year, Food Excellence Award, New Concept Award, Restaurant Technology Award, Legend Award and Global Restaurateur of the Year.