attended the annual MCA Restaurant conference on Wednesday 20th September at
the London Marriott Hotel in Mayfair, London. It aims to give an insight into
restaurant operations and provide attendees with the opportunity to network
with the highest level of operators.
The MCA Restaurant Conference
is an important annual event for senior executives involved in the UK branded
restaurant market. This year did not disappoint, with a vast array of topics
for discussion on offer. We enjoyed hearing about food delivery by award
winning service provider, Deliveroo.
They talked about their emerging 'Deliveroo Edition' concept and their journey
to becoming multisite businesses. It was also fantastic to hear from a panel of
larger operators who discussed their future opportunities and current
structural challenges. Dave Coplin, the former Chief Envisaging Officer at
Microsoft, was fascinating to listen to - his speed of thought was particularly
impressive! His viewpoint on innovation, and the opportunities hospitality can
create by embracing technology, was truly enlightening.
innovation, rent is always a hot topic with restaurant professionals,
particularly in London. Some landlords are now looking for 'more than rent'
when choosing their occupiers, in order to add value to their real estate. This
must be encouraging for the independent operators who could potentially benefit
from a possible 20-30% reduction in rent roll.
Optimism is still driving thinking and
development with the larger branded operators. Jinlong Wang, the CEO of PizzaExpress,
one of the UK's most iconic dining brands, are looking to create a new
category - 'Dinnertainment'. On the back of strong like-for-likes, Steve
Holmes, CEO of Azzurri Group,
delved deep into the importance of authentic brand extension through Instagram
and take-home propositions.
Whilst the industry, no doubt, faces significant
structural challenges it was a pleasure to hear it remains a hot bed for
entrepreneurs, aspiring restauranteurs and constant innovation. Thank you to
the MCA for putting on another worthwhile Restaurant Conference.