Jampacked Line-up of Restaurant-Industry Experts Revealed for GRIF Marketplace on 24th June


The Global Restaurant Investment Forum will host GRIF Marketplace, a four-hour virtual conference, on Wednesday, 24th of June, featuring a jampacked line-up of industry experts and solution providers.   


Dubai – : As restaurants and F&B outlets across the globe slowly begin to reopen, it is vital that discussions take place regarding the appropriate next steps for the industry as a whole. In its continued efforts to support businesses in their attempts to re-emerge and recover after lockdown, the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) will host GRIF Marketplace, in collaboration with the Middle East Restaurant Association (MERA), on Wednesday, 24th of June, from 12pm to 4pm GST.

 As it is still not the right time for large groups to meet in a face-to-face setting, the virtual conference will be hosted through GRIF’s online platform, where restaurant owners, operators and investors will gather for four hours of knowledge exchanging, networking and deal making.

 GRIF Marketplace will feature roundtables, live stage sessions, presentations, and virtual exhibition booths, along with popular industry speakers and leaders, who will share their expertise, advice and insights on the most pressing issues and questions, including:

  • How has global restaurant industry coped with COVID?
  • What are the top things you can do to adapt to new regulations and social norms while maintaining brand identity and revenue?
  • The Munch Story – is this the delivery app that the industry has been waiting for?
  • What are the learnings and experience of reopening your restaurant during the pandemic?
  • What is happening in the F&B world of KSA?

 Commenting on the launch of the upcoming event, Jennifer Pettinger-Haines, Co-Founder of GRIF & MD Middle East of Bench Events, said, “The current situation has brought on massive digital transformation and innovation that is going to shape the future of the restaurant industry. After the successful launch of MERA and its webinar series, multiple solution providers, consultants and suppliers reached out, wanting to help the restaurant community. Meanwhile, operators have been keen to discover innovative solutions to make the shift to digital easier.”

 “We have created this virtual space to unite the regional and global restaurant industry players, to not only source solutions, but also have important conversations on topics such as restaurant branding and communication during crises, the evolving F&B landscape of KSA, reopening, and other challenges that the industry is currently facing. We believe it is crucial for the industry to unite, and that’s our aim with GRIF Marketplace,” she added.

 One of the highlight elements of the virtual event will undoubtedly be the launch of Munch, the new food delivery platform that supports local restaurants and is brought to you by The ENTERTAINER. The brand-new standalone platform, which is available for free on both iOS and Android, has been born out of the need for a low commission delivery app that works with restaurants.

 Another highlight will be the participation of Harrison, one of the proud sponsors of GRIF Marketplace. Harrison is a global specialist, multi-disciplinary architecture, interior design and branding consultancy, working exclusively in the hospitality and leisure sectors. The Harrison team has developed a concept project that explores the impact that COVID-19 has had on the way we think about restaurants of the future, which will undoubtedly provide fascinating insights, guidance and solutions for everyone taking part in GRIF Marketplace.

 To round off GRIF Marketplace, the closing keynote speaker will be FoodSheikh, who will give his first-ever live interview, to discuss the launch of FoodSheikh All Stars. Other popular speakers set to feature at GRIF Marketplace are:


  • Christian Abell, Vice President Food & Beverage, MEA, Marriott International
  • Prince Alwaleed Bin Nassir Al-Saud, Founder & CEO, Qoot
  • Peter Backman, Principal, Peter Backman Foodservice Consultancy
  • Mario C. Bauer, Co-Founder & CEO, Love & Food Restaurant Holding; Proud owner of Vapiano Brand
  • Chris Daniels, General Manager, Munch delivery app
  • Michael Ellis – Chief Culinary Officer, Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts
  • Joey Ghazal – Founder & Managing Partner, The MAINE
  • Samer Hamadeh – Creator, Akiba Dori
  • Martin Kubler – Creator & Chief Muncher, JLT Dining
  • Victor Lugger – Founder, Big Mamma Group
  • Babette Marzheuser-Wood – Global Head of Franchise Group, Dentons
  • Paul Wainwright – Director, Asia-Pacific, Harrison
  • Samantha Wood – Publisher, Editor & Consultant, FooDiva
  • Georgina Woollams – Founder & Managing Director, Katch International
  • Ahmed Darwish – Marketing Director, The Foodies inc
  • Amit Nayak – Vice President and Executive Board Member, HAMA
  • David Singleton – Partner, Socius Group


Restaurant owners, operators, investors, and solution providers can find out more about GRIF Marketplace HERE, and organisers invite participants to fill out a special industry survey HERE before the event.



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