“I like to think of myself as the organisational brain for the creatives - be it designers or chefs.” Food and beverage strategist and Supper magazine’s consulting editor, Heleri Rande is this year’s Eat Theatre curator and here she gives a taste of what’s to come…
What industry themes will the Eat conference touch on?
The cross-over between independent and hotel restaurant design; the B take-over in F&B in both offering and profit and loss for hotels; food-tech as an enabler of restaurant design; re-inventing afternoon tea through product design; designing for a Michelin starred chef; high street restaurant franchises making deals with hotels.
What can visitors expect from the Eat conference?
Something that is recognisable for our returning visitors, but totally new to first-timers. Stay tuned for speaker announcements.
Why is it a must-attend part of the show?
Just like Sleep has been an integral part on every hotel designer’s schedule, Eat should become that as well. Hotel public spaces and F&B have gained a tremendous importance in the hospitality industry over the last few years, as in most cases they’re the first impression of the space when a guest walks in. In the Eat Theatre, many of these hot topics will be discussed, pioneers will be telling their stories and new connections and ideas will be borne. No designer should miss this opportunity.
What does this year’s ‘recognisable and new’ show theme mean to you?
We’re very much in a world of transition right now - politically, environmentally, socially - and this all gets captured in the spaces that get built around us. For me the theme can represent so many things - how the old becomes new but still keeps its integrity, how historical buildings are being turned into modern hotel spaces and restaurants, yet capture the past through design. A great example is the recently opened Soho House Amsterdam and its palette of rich blues, greens and ochres drawn from the pantheon of Dutch golden age artists such as Vermeer and Rembrandt, and the post-impressionist works of Van Gogh.
What are you looking forward to in the coming years?
It will be interesting to see how far technology will go in restaurant design and operations. We are seeing some developments in the hotel space, and not always positive ones, so I am curious to see how the F&B side adapts. There are cases of artificial intelligence being used for smart design - but without the human element it will not work. Interestingly, not everybody gets that.
How is the hospitality industry evolving?
Travellers spend increasingly less time in their rooms so everything that happens outside is becoming hugely important. A good night’s sleep is essential, but most activities take place elsewhere. Food knowledge is also playing a crucial role as guests are more aware of their likes and dislikes and are making increasingly more conscious decisions on where to stay based on the F&B offering and public spaces than the rooms per se.