Eating Out Analyst
turned Food & Drink Fashionista
My first encounter with the industry was in the mid '90s, when for a decade, I worked in nearly every foodservice position imaginable whilst studying at college and then university. From hosting, managing and front-of-house work to salad prep, assisting chefs, to waiting tables. It was the most intense and challenging period in my life, but I consider it fundamental to who I am today. I learned plenty. How to multitask like a madwoman, deal gracefully with difficult customers, the value of teamwork and empathy for other people who work in foodservice industry. Whether it was the fast-paced nature of restaurants, or the service element, or simply my love of good food - that is where my passion for the industry was born. Unsurprisingly, my final MBA thesis was on the chameleon-like nature of the foodservice industry for which I received a university distinction.
After graduation, I joined the world of corporate where I was privileged enough to work as an insight expert for several leading blue chip brands. Interrogating data, trends and research might not be the most glamorous job of all, but I am a left brain thinker who enjoys connecting the dots, converting seemingly unrelated information into powerful stories that harness a strategy. After all, “without research and data you are just another person with an opinion” according to W.E. Deming.
It was in my last role at Britvic, leading soft drink manufacturer in the UK, that I rediscovered the Eating Out industry all over again, but this time through the lens of insight and analytics. When I was not tracking brands on spreadsheets, I interviewed restaurant customers and leading operators as well as fine purveyors of epicurean experiences such as chefs and mixologists. My job was to understand every aspect of the Out-of-Home industry performance, investigate food and drink innovation trends, and report/advise relevant stakeholders on potential opportunities or threats. I was hooked! My hunger and love for the industry was re-ignited.
I am a passionate advocate for the Eating Out market with in-depth industry and category experience & network. The businesses and companies driving the out-of-home food market face opportunity and threat in equal measure. Following an eating-out revolution over the last 15 years and post-recessionary recovery, the market continues to experience sustained growth. Yet it has never been more competitive, as entrepreneurs and start-ups vie against the more established players and corporates, to meet the seemingly endless appetite of the British public who want to try new eating-out formats and experience new heights.
This blog is about sharing food for thought with fellow food fashionistas, industry leaders, aspiring entrepreneurs or foodies looking for some inspiration. This is the most dynamic, consumer-driven, experiential sector of all, so let’s dig in.