Saudi Arabia Hospitality Investment Conference

21-22 January 2020 | Riyadh Airport Marriott Hotel


GRIF KSA SHIC – Day 1 SHIC – Day 2

Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) Saudi Arabia - Tuesday 21 January 2020

At-a-glance →

08:30 - 09:00

Registration opens and networking breakfast


09:00 - 09:15

Welcome remarks

Jennifer Pettinger-Haines Managing Director Middle East , Co-Founder, GRIF – Bench Events

Hesham Al Rabah Vice Chairman – Saudi Event Management & Marketing Company- SEMARK Group

09:15 - 09:40

Insights into the modern saudi food service consumer

Who is the Saudi consumer and how different is it to other countries? What are the important demographics and differences in eating out behaviour? Importance of Market Segments and their future. Is KSA ready?

Jochen Pinsker Senior Vice President Foodservice Europe – The NPD Group Inc.

09:40 - 10:00

Riyadh’s Restaurant Market: Current and Future Prospects

Evolving consumer preferences are reshaping the food and beverage (F&B) industry in Riyadh. Coupled with the government's commitment to expanding and modernizing the sector while creating opportunities. We take a look at the current restaurant landscape and how we expect it to change in the near future. 

Alexis Marcoux-Varvatsoulis Foodservice Consulting Lead MENA – JLL

10:00 - 10:30

How is hotel F&B evolving in KSA?

What are some of the exciting trends to be aware of and how are the big brands working to remain competitive?  What are some of the different business models emerging?

Stefan Breg Group Strategy Director – KEANE

In conversation with

Christian Abell Vice President Food & Beverage MEA – Marriott International

Chadi Farhat Chief Operating Officer, Middle East & Europe – SBE Group

Christian Gradnitzer Senior Director of F&B Operations EMEA – Hilton

10:30 - 11:00

Homegrown Saudi concepts and operators who are changing the shape of the market

Where do they see the opportunities for growth and how have they seen the consumer evolve?

Ahmed Darwish Marketing Director – The Foodies

In conversation with 

Basma Elkhereiji Group CEO – The Social Group

11:00 - 11:20

Best practice in Saudisation in the restaurant sector

What are sector specific strategies which can be implemented to ensure meaningful results and the long-term success of your Saudisation strategy.  What can be learnt from others?   

Prince Alwaleed Bin Nassir Al-Saud Founder & President – Qoot

11:20 - 12:00

What Saudis want from the f&b sector - maximising your return on human capital for a better bottom line

Why it needs to be a top down concern and built into the fabric of a business - looking at best practice in creating a company culture that retains and inspires its workforce through all levels of the business as it grows.

Sunjeh Raja Director & CEO – International Center for Culinary Arts (ICCA Dubai)


Sarah Ahmed Chef & TV Presenter – National Geographic

Mohammad Alawi Renowned Saudi Mall & Retail Space Specialist

Mohammed Alsaadawi Social Media Influencer & Chef Restaurateur

Hanadi Alsulahem Professional Chef – Marriott International

12:00 - 13:00



13:00 - 13:30

Harnessing the power of social media across your business

From restaurant design to recruitment social media is changing the restaurant business is so may ways.  How do you harness it to be a powerful tool rather than just another marketing channel?  Where do influencers fit into the marketing mix and how can you leverage them to your advantage? 

Simon Ritchie Editor – Caterer Middle East

In conversation with 

Arwa Alhoraibi Co Founder / General Manager – Almataem co.

Ahmed Darwish Marketing Director – The Foodies

Georgie Woollams Founder & Managing Director – Katch International

13:30 - 13:50

Case study v & 18|89 fast fine pizza- where the experience economy meets technology

Leveraging Technology to enhance profitability and customer experience - How is technology transforming the restaurant industry? What are the smart ways to invest in technology to ensure you receive maximum ROI? 

Benjamin Calleja Chief Executive Officer – Livit Design

13:50 - 14:10

Case study on food waste

How is it being addressed in a matter effective on the bottom line as well as for the environment?

Zekirija Elezi Corporate Director, Hotel Operations – Dur Hospitality

Tjalling van den Burger Business Development Manager MEA – Winnow Solutions

14:10 - 14:30

Understanding the plant-based food revolution which is transforming the restaurant sector globally

Sustainability in the food industry and the plant-based food revolution.

Helen El Mettouri Regional Director – KEANE

In conversation with

Tommaso Chiabra Co-founder – Neat Burger