CDG, Jamie’s & Carluccio’s CEOs confirmed for Casual Dining 2019

The countdown to Casual Dining 2019 has begun, with the announcement of its first raft of expert speakers plus an exclusive preview of new exhibitors.

The UK’s larggest restaurant, pub and bar event of the year, Casual Dining takes place at the new venue of ExCeL London on 27-28 February. Its compelling line-up will include a record 220 exhibitors, plus 50 speakers appearing in 25 free business seminars across two dedicated keynote theatres (both sponsored by Yumpingo).

Among the big names announced today are five CEOs, including Casual Dining Group’s Steve Richards (who oversees brands including Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Las Iguanas), Brewdog’s David MacDowell (CEO of Retail), and UKHospitality’s Kate Nicholls.

Jon Knight, head of Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, whose opening day Keynote last year was widely covered in the national and trade press, will also be back at the show to discuss the brand’s refresh twelve months on.

Plus Mark Jones, who joined Carluccio’s as CEO earlier this year, will be making his much-anticipated Casual Dining speaking debut. He’ll be talking about the Italian restaurant brand’s recent restructure, plus sharing insights from his time at the helm of numerous hospitality giants, including Whitbread, Pizza Hut UK, Yates Group, Grosvenor Casinos, and Mecca Bingo.

As in previous years, essential market updates and insights will be provided by CGA, Simon Stenning (MCA) and Peter Backman.

Thanks to the addition of a second Keynote Theatre for 2019, visitors will be able to enjoy even more great content from some of the industry’s most inspiring business leaders. Event organiser Diversified Communications UK says to expect more headline reveals in the coming weeks.

The move to ExCeL next year marks an exciting new development for the multi-award winning show.

Already known for being a magnet for top buyers from across the casual dining sector (it welcomed 4,800 attendees in 2018), it’s aiming to raise the bar yet again. Its new, larger venue will accommodate even more exhibitors, two Keynote theatres, more specialist show feature areas (including a new Scotland Food & Drink Pavilion, alongside the returning Craft Beer & Cider Zone and Artisan Spirits Lounge) and enable easier navigation for visitors around the busy show floor.

“Casual Dining is the two days a year that multi-site restaurant, pub and bar operators get together, and the continuing support from the industry, as always, has been phenomenal. The move to ExCeL has generated a lot of interest and enthusiasm,” says Eva Ellis, Casual Dining’s event manager.

Alex Reilley, chairman of Loungers, said, “Casual Dining is the only show dedicated to our industry and we completely support the move to ExCeL.'

Exhibition space for Casual Dining 2019 has been selling at an unprecedented rate and it’s well on-track to being another sell-out edition. That’s even with the addition of a 10% increase in stands.

Returning exhibitors include Reynolds, Lamb Weston, Nestle Professional, Kraft Heinz Foodservice, Moy Park Foodservice, McCain Foodservice, Schweppes, Heineken UK – Blade, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland, Fentimans, 3S POS, Ascentia FSE, Quorn Foods, Panasonic, Tevalis, Molson Coors, AAK Foodservice, Kobas Technologies, Harri, Carlsberg UK, Mademoiselle Desserts UK, JJ Food Service, and The Foodfellas.

New names – showcasing everything from tasty sauces to sous-vide slow cooked meats, from more-ish ice cream to Tex-Mex specialities, from continental cheeses to cult spirits – include M&M Walshe Group, Hellmann's, Futura Foods UK, Sino International, Dr. Schär, Rude Health, Lotus Bakeries, Rubies in the Rubble, Izico Food Solutions, Yee Kwan, JV Foods, KTC Edibles, The Crucial Sauce Company, L.A Brewery, Frizzenti, F'real Milkshakes, Spirit Cartel, and The Sweet Potato Spirit Co.

The initial exhibitor list will be available online next month.

Ellis explained, “In addition to extending the floorplan for the move to ExCeL, we’ve also taken the opportunity to fine-tune popular features, expand the seminar line-up, and refresh the show’s look and feel. All whilst retaining the unique and vibrant atmosphere, which makes Casual Dining so special to the industry it serves.

“It’s the destination show that our visitors love coming to – only bigger and better than ever for 2019!”

Brian Keeley-Whiting, MD of Whiting & Hammond, said, 'There's a reason I've been every year and will continue to do so...I love Casual Dining! Congratulations on making it the essential date in the calendar, looking forward to ExCeL!'

It’s a sentiment echoed by many of Casual Dining’s repeat visitors. Mitchells & Butlers, ASK Italian, JD Wetherspoon, Bourne Leisure, wagamama, Carluccio's, Oakman Inns, Compass Group, Fuller’s, GBK, Enterprise Inns, Hard Rock Cafe, Jamie’s Italian, Marston’s, Living Ventures, Nando's, Pizza Hut, Punch Taverns, Sodexo, TGI Friday’s, Greene King, The Restaurant Group, Casual Dining Group, Whitbread, Yo! Sushi, and Zizzi, among others, also attended the launch edition. They’ve been making an annual date with the show ever since.