This year’s GRIF (Global Restaurant Investment Forum) has come to a close and we are delighted to report its highlighted events. With topical debates surrounding the global F&B industry, people were left inspired and with plenty of “food for thought.” GRIF 2015 surpassed expectations, and provided real insight into investment within a fast-paced and evolving global industry. Combining a thirst for gastronomic education with dynamic networking receptions, guests were entertained and educated at this thought-provoking and enlightening conference.
Day One kicked off with the Culinary Tour, where guests travelled to some of the hottest venues in Dubai. Starting with Peruvian attraction Coya Dubai, participants sampled a selection of palate teasing dishes, whilst listening to guest speaker Diego Salazar, a journalist and food critic from Lima. The tour then headed to the Beach Canteen for a showcase of the Dubai Food Festival at its finest.
The finale of the gastronomic tour saw Jumeirah Restaurant Group Dubai (JRG Dubai), one of GRIF’s Gold sponsors, host guests for an exclusive culinary journey through some of the company’s homegrown signature outlets: D&A, Tortuga, Pierchic. Operating and franchising a portfolio of more than 50 restaurant and bar brands, JRG Dubai concluded with the GRIF opening reception at Perry & Blackwelder’s Original Smokehouse (P&B’s). Guests indulged in deliciously unique BBQ dishes such as slow-smoked Mesquite brisket; Applewood-smoked turkey breast and their signature P&B’s pulled brisket and Texas sausage sandwich.
The Conrad, downtown Dubai hosted the forum for the conference two days, where guests partook in a diverse schedule of informative talks and presentations, combined with workshops and round table discussions. A selection of some of the most decorated industry experts shared their knowledge and experience in restaurant design, franchises and F&B concepts resulting in passionate and honest presentations that inspired the audience. Entertained by Michelin-starred chefs Todd English and Heinz Beck, the audience was able to ask controversial questions to the heroes of the kitchen. With plenty of samples to try from the food stalls scattered around The Conrad, there was always somebody on hand to share their success story and how they entered this fast-paced industry!
The host of the second Networking Reception was Clé Dubai, a spectacular night combining food, signature drinks and live acts from Cirque Eloise. To top it all off, Chef Greg Malouf gave a fascinating talk explaining how Clé Dubai was setting the pace towards unlocking the experience of contemporary Middle Eastern cuisine.
Overall, the constant hum of networking and introduction of solid business contacts was the highlight of GRIF 2015. The high level agenda sparked interest and debate and the conversations continued through the night to the evening receptions. The real experience of concepts in the exhibition hall, coupled with bespoke mentoring sessions, energized round table discussions and high calibre participants, made for the perfect mix for this growing forum.
Plans and ideas for GRIF 2016 are already underway, and this event is fast becoming an industry ‘must attend’ event.