MAPIC ‘Unplugged’ – Shouting Foodservice from the Rooftops of London

As the exclusive (and very proud) Foodservice Partner to MAPIC and MAPIC Italy, JLL Foodservice Consulting held the first of the MAPIC ‘Unplugged’ events on the rooftop of Aqua Nueva in central London last night.

The ‘Unplugged’ event kicked off the year long focus of Food and Beverage leading up to the 1st F&B Retail Summit at MAPIC Italy on 16th & 17th May, which will feature a dedicated exhibition area and conference programme for foodservice brands and concepts. The Partner sponsorship programme will culminate at MAPIC 2017 in Cannes, which will have a dedicated F&B focus combining a gastronomy exhibition area and a complete programme of events and conferences focused on International F&B brands.

The purpose of the ‘Unplugged’ event was to act as a preview to MAPIC Italy and MAPIC, giving a taster of the quality of discussions, hot topics and networking opportunities for the great and good of the London foodservice scene. Just under 100 guests ventured to the rooftop terrace of Aqua Nueva, part of the Aqua Restaurant Group with Restaurants in London, Beijing and Hong Kong, a fitting venue given the International focus of the MAPIC Partnership.

A collection of the ‘who’s who’ of the capital’s gastronomy scene saw a combination of established and fledgling foodservice operators, Landlords, Developers and Owners keen to share their foodservice success stories and pipeline projects, Private Equity firms, Architect and Design practices and journalists, all eager to hear the views, opinions and sound bites of our eclectic mix of ‘Unplugged’ speakers.

The ‘Unplugged’ event, as its name suggests was very informal. There was no stage, screen or script. Just a stool and a 10 minute slot for our speakers to get up close and personal with an audience all with a common interest in food. And what a great cross section of speakers we heard from, all speaking with great passion about their experiences:

  • Didier Souillat, CEO, Time Out Markets
  • Alice Keown, Asset Manager – F&B and Leisure, British Land
  • James & Thom Elliot, Founders Pizza Pilgrims
  • Sarah Fox, Head of Restaurants & Leisure, Hammerson
  • Ben Warner, Founder, Benugo
  • Toussaint Watinne, General Manager London, UberEATS
  • Stephen Tozer, Founder, Le Bab

The mix and breadth of speakers reinforced the expansion of F&B across all platforms that continues to see year on year growth in terms of space occupancy, quality and importance. With the increasing pressure on bricks and mortar retailers from the ever increasing growth of online purchases, the carefully planning and delivery of well executed foodservice and leisure has never been so important. Key phrases from the evening echoed the trends that we are seeing: ‘casualisation’, ‘gourmetisation’, ‘elevating the experience’ and the ‘death of the white table cloth’. And it’s not just a UK thing – this is happening across Europe and across the Globe, reflected in the fact that the next round of the ‘Unplugged’ roadshow arrives in Paris on 30th May, followed by Brussels on 8th June. We hope to see your colleagues there.