PizzaExpress and CDG execs to share restaurant transformation secrets

Zoe Bowley, UK & Ireland managing director

Organisers of the Casual Dining Show have unveiled more new speakers for 2018, including MDs and senior directors from PizzaExpress, Mitchells & Butlers, Casual Dining Group, Loungers and Pho.

The event, which returns to the Business Design Centre in London on 21-22 February next year, will now see keynotes from Susan Chappell, divisional director, exec committee, at Mitchells & Butlers, Mark Smith, managing director of Vietnamese restaurant chain Pho and Nick Collins, CEO of Loungers.

James Spragg, COO of Casual Dining Group and Zoe Bowley, UK & Ireland MD at PizzaExpress (main image), will also be sharing their expert insights into the challenges and opportunities of competing in what remains a dynamic market.

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Spragg, who is responsible for the Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Belgo restaurant portfolio, as well as leading some of CDG’s key strategic initiatives, will be giving his take on ‘brand evolution’. James Spragg, COO, CDG - Copy

Prior to taking on the newly-created role of COO at the group last year, he was MD of Bella Italia and Café Rouge – overseeing the French bistro’s successful brand reinvigoration.

He’ll be discussing how CDG is keeping its core brands fresh and relevant for 2018 and beyond on the show’s opening day.

Keeping ‘relevant in a crowded and competitive market’ will also be a central theme in Zoe Bowley’s exclusive Keynote, discussing PizzaExpress’ transformation agenda, on the show’s second day.

Founded decades before the term ‘casual dining’ had been coined, PizzaExpress has been a mainstay on the UK’s high street for over 50 years.

During that time, it has seen off plenty of rivals and embraced new opportunities – expanding into retail and delivery, presenting ‘live’ music and comedy experiences, and launching more than international sites. Recently, it’s just opened its 600th restaurant in Hangzhou Raffles City, in China.

Bowley, a member of PizzaExpress’ UK board since 2011 (first as operations director, then UK chief operating officer, and now MD), will be revealing how a focus on putting their people first and being customer centric has been key to ensuring sustainable growth; both in and out of restaurants and across both home and international markets.

Chris Brazier, group event director at Diversified Communications, said: “This will be the first time that representatives from PizzaExpress, Mitchells & Butlers, Pho, and Jamie’s Italian, who we announced last month, will appear in the show’s theatre. Casual Dining has already established itself as the destination show for restaurant, pub and bar operators, and these new speakers –including some of the most influential individuals working within the sector – just make it even more unmissable,” he says.

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