The third annual Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) brought together investors, owners, franchisors, and senior hospitality professionals from across the globe from 14 to 16 March at The Address Dubai Mall.
The three-day event included conferences, roundtable and panel discussions, culinary receptions and other knowledge-sharing platforms together with several senior-level networking opportunities and the inaugural Global Restaurant Awards.
According to Jennifer Pettinger- Haines, managing director of Bench Events Middle East, the organiser of GRIF, this year’s event marked an important growth milestone for the event underlined by a strategic partnership with the Michelin Group.
“It was the first year for GRIF to be powered by Michelin, and this has marked the start of an exciting chapter in the development of GRIF,” said Pettinger- Haines.
“Moreover, it provided a platform for the industry to come together and take stock. Discussions were upbeat, and globally the eating-out industry seems to be performing well.”
Day one featured a Franchise Masterclass by Babette Marzheuser-Wood, partner at international law firm Dentons, followed by culinary tours hosted by Emaar and Nakheel.
The conference was officially inaugurated at new DIFC restaurant Intersect by Lexus with an evening hosted by The Cutting Edge Agency and LXA.
The second day of the event on 15 March included a session on ‘Trends and Innovation’ by Michael Ellis, international director, MICHELIN Guides and presentations on the latest F&B trends in the American, Middle Eastern and Asian Markets.
A conversation with Britain’s youngest head chef Luke Thomas took place in the afternoon, followed by case study discussions with Pascal Aussignac, executive chef & co-owner of Gascon Connection. In the evening there was a reception at Japanese restaurant, OKKU.
On the final day of the event, a panel of judges evaluated new investment concepts at the “GRIF Deal Den’ and the event culminated with the first ever Global Restaurant Awards.
Held Burj Al Arab, Dubai, the Global Restaurant Awards was developed through a partnership with Connecting Travel, an international travel and tourism business community for industry professionals.
The Awards provided a platform to acknowledge the brands and concepts that have had the most significant impact on the global culinary landscape, and to celebrate the stakeholders, investors and architects behind these.
The winners included Berners Tavern in London for the Design Award, while the Food Excellence Award went to Hakkasan Group.
The Hotel F&B Excellence Award went to Hotel Metropole in Monte Carlo, and the Sustainability Award was given to UMASS, Massachusetts.