AGENDA: The Big F&B Forum 2017

Posted under Events, The Big F&B Forum.
by Crystal Chesters | Published 2 years ago

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Monday 30 October, The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina

8.00: Registration & networking

8.30:  Welcome address: Catering News Middle East

8.35: Address by Expo2020: What is Expo doing to support F&B businesses in the run up to 2020?

  • Darren Tse, Head of Catering, Cleaning and Waste, Expo2020


8.55: Expert session: Trends in the F&B industry

  • Anurag Bajpai, Partner and Head of Retail, KPMG

9.10: Panel discussion: Stand and deliver
The food delivery market has undergone a transformation over the past five years, driven by increased smartphone usage and an influx of third-party online ordering, discovery and delivery services. Valued at AED12.9 billion, the home delivery and takeaway market in the UAE alone is growing at a rate of 6% annually and this is set to continue for at least the next five years. How can the F&B industry capitalise on the opportunities delivery presents?

  • Danielle Salam, Founder, The Salad Jar
  • Kutlu Kaan Haliloglu, Managing Director, Talabat
  • Mahmoud Harb, Director of Operations, Cravia
  • Najib Yaacoub, Operations Manager, The Noodle House
  • Sajan Alex, Vice President – Tablez Food Company, Restaurant Division, LuLu Group

9.50: Panel discussion: Necessity is the mother of innovation
With a host of American brands in the Middle East and a limited number of independent, creative concepts, the market is crying out for local innovation. What are the barriers to innovation? How can entrepreneurs communicate their concepts to consumers? What makes a brand successful on the market? As the region sees more and more restaurant closures, will landlords be forced to lower rents and offer freer rein to restaurateurs to innovate?

  • Sarah-Jane Grant, Director, LXA
  • Naim Maadad, Chief Executive, Gates Hospitality
  • Ryan Hattingh, Partner, Atelier EPG
  • Farah Sawaf, Owner, Soul Communications
  • Markus Thesleff, Founder, Whissle Group
  • Vikrant Rohatgi, Head of Strategic and Commercial Intelligence, KPMG

10.30: Expert Session: Chewing the VAT
How will the introduction of VAT impact the Middle East’s F&B businesses?

  • Guilherme Aires Pinho, Director Client Services, TMF Group

10.55: Cream of the crop
European cream manufacturer Debic unveils three new products for the Middle East market

11.05 Coffee Break

11.20: Panel discussion: The Middle East has got talent?
Restaurateurs crave a talented workforce that understands the F&B industry and will stay with and progress through the company, however too often, low-paid, demotivated staff are poached quickly and are difficult to replace. How does the UAE compare to other regional countries when it comes to service? Would a professional awarding body such as The Michelin Guide attract talent to the region? Are there enough training bodies providing courses? Are we bringing up a work-shy generation of millennials?

  • Sacha Daniel, Operations Director, Solutions Leisure Group
  • Abdul Kader Saadi, Managing Director, Glee Hospitality Solutions
  • Patrick White, Director of Operations, Gates Hospitality
  • Ziad Kamel, Founder, Couqley UAE
  • David Simon, General Manager, The Palace Downtown Dubai
  • Dean Murphy, Operations Manager, Jumeirah Restaurant Group

12.00: Expert session:  Food safety concerns for 2018
Food safety for small and medium-sized businesses

  • Abdulhadi Chalak, Country Manager (UAE), Boecker Public Health


12.15: Panel discussion:  Producing the goods
The Middle East’s supply chain is dominated by a few big names, which means prices are high, quality could be better and creativity and authenticity of menus is limited. Meanwhile, restaurateurs are facing increasing consumer demand for traceability and sustainable products and packaging. How good is the local produce available in the region? How can suppliers work better with businesses to offer quality, value and traceability? How can we become more sustainable with regards to produce, packaging and materials?

  • Sudqi Naddaf, Executive Chef, Kempinski Mall of the Emirates
  • Aijiro Shinoda, Brand Chef, Atisuto
  • Steve Pyle, CEO, Chef Middle East
  • Sascha Triemer, Vice President of F&B, Atlantis The Palm
  • Elena Kinane, Managing Director, Greenheart Organic Farm
  • Bruno Van Vaerenbergh, Senior Culinary Specialist Friesland Campina Foodservice,  Creative Pastry Chef Debic

12.55: VIP Interview: Strategies for expansion in the Middle East

Natasha Sideris is founder and managing executive of tashas, which currently has 16 tashas restaurants in South Africa and three in the UAE. She opened her first restaurant in the Middle East in 2014 with local partners and sees huge opportunities for growth and success in the region. What are her strategies going forward?

  • Natasha Sideris is founder and managing executive of tashas

1.25: Lunch and networking


2.30: Close of forum

For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Fred Dubery:

For speaking opportunities, contact Patrick Ryan: and to register your interest in attending the event, email Mark Anthony Monzon:

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