Summer to The Hub, means two things…. wet weather and the Arena Summer Event! We had both on Monday, as we made our way to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridge, for the annual industry networking event and lunch, in aid of Springboard and Hospitality Action.

This is how every week should start, with a three course lunch and wines from Matthew Clark, surrounded by friends and colleagues from the industry.

The theme of the day was most certainly the rise of delivery services, such as Deliveroo and UberEATS, which, according to YouGov’s morning presentation, is delivering incremental revenue; with 80% of users saying visit frequency hasn’t changed.

This cropped up again in the afternoon Q&A session with Casual Dining Group’s (CDG), CEO Steve Richards. As well as taking us through the transformation and aspirations for his brand’s, including Bella Italia, Las Iguanas and Café Rouge, he also revealed that CDG are currently trialling delivery services with some of their brands, with no impact to outlet visits, and hoping to expand this in the coming the months. Although acknowledging the huge opportunity for operators, and increased choice from a consumers perspective, Steve recognises there are operational challenges with set-up and food quality that need to be considered before jumping on board.

Thanks to Lorraine Wood and the Arena team for a pleasantly insightful afternoon…. despite the rain!

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