The line-up of speakers refreshingly comprised of all females and included a number of leaders who I had heard much about previously, such as Nisha Katona, Founder of Mowgli and Thomasina Myers at Wahaca, as well as operators starting off on their entrepreneurial journey, such as Eve Bugler from BabaBoom, who has just opened her second site.
About 95% of the 220 strong audience were women, and much like the speakers, the attendees were a diverse bunch, from those considering taking the leap into the world of entrepreneurship to those who already had, alongside a wide variety of professionals.
I was particularly interested to hear restaurant operators’ views on soaring rents, rates and rising wages. Operators are increasingly aware of customers’ changing demands and the importance of being ready to adapt and react to these changes. Operators highlighted the need to offer an experience to the customer rather than simply a good meal, proving that the ability to diversify has never been so important to success in a such a competitive market.
I found it to be one of the most interesting and
insightful conferences I have been to for some time.
- Simon Chaplin, Head of Pubs & Restaurants
The uniqueness of this conference was the way in which each speaker addressed the room with openness and honesty. The speakers shared how they run their businesses, their plans for the future, their views on topical issues and also commented on the state of the industry as a whole. Whilst successes were highlighted, failures certainly did not go unmentioned and that made the speakers relatable. They shared the pressures it brings, both to personal and family life, the mistakes they had made and things they would do differently. It came from the heart and made them human, resonating with everyone else in the room.
All in all, I took away many lessons from the day. It was great to be part of an environment where women were wholly supportive of each other. Thanks go to Ann Elliot for organising such a terrific conference and to all those that participated in making it such a worthwhile and inspiring day.