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Casual Dining secures stellar Keynote line-up for 2018

Press Release   •   Jan 30, 2018 16:48 GMT

New World Trading Company’s CEO Chris Hill, Yo!’s marketing director Luisa Fernandez, and Dishoom’s operations director Brian Trollip are the latest speakers now confirmed for Casual Dining 2018, which returns to the Business Design Centre in London on 21-22 February.

They’ll be appearing at the event alongside other big names from the Casual Dining Group, Mitchells & Butlers, Jamie’s Italian, PizzaExpress, Pho, and Loungers. Plus, over 200 exhibitors (across three floors at the BDC) showcasing a host of new products, equipment and services.

Chris Hill will be sharing his thoughts on the casual dining pub and bar sector in an exclusive interview, hosted by Peter Martin, VP of CGA, on the show’s opening day. He’ll be discussing his experiences in helping to grow New World Trading Company’s innovative portfolio, including their plans for further expansion, and how an important focus on staff development secured them a top ten ranking on‘The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies’ to work for in 2017.

Luisa Fernandez, who joined Yo! as its marketing director earlier this year (having previously spent over 15 years working in-house at British Airways), will be making her Casual Dining speaking debut the following day (22 February). Using her experience as head of the innovation lab at BA, she’ll examine how other industries are using their customer data to personalise customer experience and how, in turn, casual dining operators can make the ‘power of personalisation’ work for them.

Another second day session highlight comes from Brian Trollip, who has been overseeing the day-to-day running of Dishoom’s operations since 2010. Voted the ‘Coolest UK Restaurant’ in 2016 by Cool Brands, and a new entry onthis year’s ‘The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies’ list, the Indian restaurant group now has six sites and employs over 700 people. Trollip will be talking about their journey so far – focusing on their continued commitment to building a first-class business that operates in a ‘big-hearted’ and generous way.

From exclusive Keynotes and interviews, to research updates and panel discussions – each session at Casual Dining has been tailored specifically to address key business opportunities (and challenges) for casual dining operators. The initial Keynote programme will be available on the show’s website later this month. Speakers confirmed to date (in running order) include:

Wednesday 21 February

  • Peter Backman, Peter Backman Foodservice: Preparing for the future – challenges facing the casual dining sector
  • James Spragg, chief operating officer, Casual Dining Group: Brand evolution
  • Simon Stenning, MCA: Casual dining and the levers of sales growth
  • Mark Smith, MD, Pho: The delivery challenge
  • Chris Hill, CEO, New World Trading Company: interviewed by Peter Martin, VP, CGA
  • Jon Knight, CEO, Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group: Food for thought
  • Susan Chappell, divisional director, Exec co, Mitchells & Butlers: Operating a range of brands and formats – the challenge to stay ahead

Thursday 22 February

  • Graeme Loudon, CGA: The impact of rising food price inflation on casual dining operators
  • Zoe Bowley, MD, PizzaExpress: Keeping PizzaExpress relevant after 53 years
  • Jamie Campbell, CGA: Segment & conquer – looking beyond demographics to understand your consumer
  • Brian Trollip, operations director, Dishoom: Building a big hearted and first-class business
  • Nick Collins, CEO, Loungers: Loungers – no jackets required
  • Luisa Fernandez, marketing director, Yo!: How well do you know your customers – what we can learn from other industries?

Informative, inspiring, innovative, and collaborative are just some of the words these speakers have used to describe the show. For them, like the thousands of visitors that regularly attend, it’s where the industry meets to do business.

“Casual Dining show is an opportunity to mix with all sorts of brilliant people from across our sector, discuss real issues that impact our industry, as well as sharing stories that inspire and energise us to do something differently!” says Mitchells & Butlers’ Susan Chappell.

“It is important to connect with competitors and trade alike to ensure we share best practice and continue to focus on making this sector an attractive place to work and deliver memorable experiences. Casual Dining is a chance to share thinking and discuss the big topics facing the market, as well as to meet both new supplier opportunities and network with industry contacts,” says PizzaExpress’ Zoe Bowley.

Casual Dining returns to the Business Design Centre in London on 21-22 February 2018. Entry to the show’s Keynote Theatre (sponsored by Yumpingo) is free with advance visitor registration. The show’s initial exhibitor list is available to view at

For more information, and to register for a free trade ticket, please visit and quote priority code CD5 (direct link:


Media enquiries & press pass requests:

Please apply for press accreditation here:

Emma-Louise Jones, Head of PR

t: +44 (0)1273 645134




Grace Allwright, group marketing manager

t: +44 (0)1273 645116




Exhibitor & sponsorship enquiries to:

Eva Ellis, Sales Manager

t: +44 (0)1273 645167

Chris Brazier, Group Event Director

t: +44 (0)1273 645123



Casual Dining won ‘Best Tradeshow Exhibition under 2,000sq.m’ at the Association of Event Organisers’ Excellence Awards in 2014 (the year it launched) and 2015. It was a finalist for the same award in 2016 and 2017.

Show logo:

Further high res images are available upon request:

Jon Knight:

Zoe Bowley:

James Spragg:

Chris Hill:

Susan Chappell:

Mark Smith:

Nick Collins:

Diversified Communications UK (Diversified UK) is a fast growing trade event organiser and publisher based in Brighton, Peterborough and Nailsworth. Diversified UK’s food portfolio includes Casual Dining; Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards; lunch!; Commercial Kitchen; Natural Food Show at Natural & Organic Products Europe; GO! Organic Festival (new for 2018); Nordic Organic Food Fair in Malmö, Sweden (co-located with Natural Products Scandinavia); and Natural and Organic Awards. For more information, visit:

Diversified UK is part of Diversified Communications, a leading international media company providing market access, education and information through global, national and regional face–to–face events, digital and print publications and television stations. Diversified serves a number of industries including: seafood, food service, natural and organic, healthcare, commercial marine, and business management. Based in Portland, Maine, USA, Diversified employs over 850 staff, across eight divisions in seven countries. For more information, visit:

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