Ghost Kitchen
On-trend Concepts
01-03 March, 2023
Beurs van Berlage


Featured speakers
More speakers to be announced soon, stay tuned!

Peter Backman

Founder of Arena

Peter is an expert on the structure and dynamics of restaurant delivery, dark kitchens and virtual brands in the UK, across Europe, and in other major international regions and countries including the USA and India. He enlightens senior executives who make significant decisions in the sector.

His forthright and challenging views are based on data-driven insights. He has been involved, as a consultant within the foodservice sector, for over 30 years blending his knowledge with a deep understanding of its trends and challenges.

He regularly speaks at conferences worldwide and his views are sought by television, radio, and the press. Peter has many innovations to his credit having been the first person to define the structure of the eating out market in the terms which are now widely used by the industry, as well as the most extensive database model of the foodservice sector.

Peter is the author of “Restaurants also sell food” – published in London, Toronto and Chicago

He is a founder and past Chairman of Arena, the UK pan-industry networking organisation that he was instrumental in setting up twenty five years ago. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality.

Mubarak Jaffar

Mubarak JAFFAR
Co-Founder & CEO,
KLC Virtual Restaurants

Co-Founder & CEO of KLC Virtual Restaurants, a multi-brand virtual restaurant company operating more than 50 virtual brands across a network of over 20 cloud kitchens in Kuwait, UAE and Qatar. 

Former partner at Talabat, one of the largest online food delivery platforms in the MENA region that was sold to Rocket Internet in 2015.

Partner at Faith Capital, a Kuwaiti based venture capital fund which focuses on e-commerce business that have high growth potential. 

Graduated with a degree in Management from Royal Holloway University of London in 2011 and obtained a Master’s degree in Management in the MENA Region from SOAS University of London in 2012.

Pete Cook

President & Publisher,
OnTrend Concepts

Rishi Nigam

CEO and Co-Founder,
Franklin Junction

Rishi Nigam is a Georgia native with over 20 years of diverse hospitality industry experience.  He is the CEO and co-founder of Franklin Junction, a disruptive restaurant e-commerce platform known for pioneering the Host Kitchen® model, which allows any kitchen to optimize excess capacity in existing infrastructure by becoming a host for proven restaurant brands.  This intersection unlocks new risk-free revenue streams for hosts while presenting a rapid capital-free expansion opportunity for brands.

Prior to the launch of Franklin Junction, Mr. Nigam helmed the turnaround efforts for an award-winning airport concessionaire as they achieved record profitability and completed a buyout of the founders.  The foundation of Mr. Nigam’s executive career was built on spearheading the hospitality and retail strategy for world-famous live event venues hosting NASCAR, MLB, NFL, NBA, and NCAA events.

Mr. Nigam is a frequent speaker at conferences and cited regularly by major publications as a thought leader in the industry.  He has been recognized by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as a Top Forty Under 40, named one of QSR Magazine’s Top Digital Disruptors, and is a Business Insider Food Tech Power Player.  Mr. Nigam is a member of the Forbes Executive Council and was inducted into the Culinary Institute of America’s Society of Fellows.  Mr. Nigam resides in Duluth, Georgia with his wife and serves on the boards of Make-A-Wish Georgia and the Global Foodservice Hospitality Exchange.

Stephan Leuschner

Founder of TrendTalk by RATIONAL Director Ghost Kitchens, Culinary Concepts & Broadcast,

Stephan M. Leuschner, former executive chef and business consultant is  RATIONAL’s expert for foodservice industry and ghost kitchen projects. He is the founder of TrendTalk webinar series, a highly acclaimed international hospitality expert broadcasting platform.

Dec Penfold

Dec's Kitchen

'Founder of Dec's Kitchen, a food consultancy that works with FMCG brands, businesses, and influencers all over the world to create successful food brands and projects. 

A chef by trade and former Deliveroo Development & Operations Chef, Dec has 15+ years of experience in varied roles across the food & hospitality sector. He has delivered a range of impressive hospitality projects, inclusive of pop up food markets, physical restaurants and global dark kitchen

chains. Dec knows what it takes for a restaurant, menu or food project to be effective and is one of the go-to consultancy within the dark kitchen world.'

Eccie Newton

Co-Founder & CEO,
Karma Kitchen

Gini Newton

Co-Founder & CRO,
Karma Kitchen

"Karma Kitchen is an independent UK delivery kitchen operator, backed by leading London-based real estate private equity firm Crosstree. KK was founded in 2018 by Eccie and GIni Newton, previously founders of lunchtime corporate catering company Karma Cans. In 2021, Eccie and Gini were named in the FT's Top 30 Female Entrepreneurs."

Tim Vasilakis

Founder & CEO,
The Athenian UK, Spain & UAE

I was as born and raised in Athens, where I grew up in a typically Athenian neighborhood. Loads of concrete, very urban, very much home. From a young age I was surrounded by all types of Greek cuisine, and I’d very happily eat whatever I was offered (even things that kids wouldn’t usually choose, like Greek lentil soup and all types of fish). I spent summers on Chios, the island in the Aegean where my dad is from. The food was amazing: seafood, salads, vegetables, everything fresh. I remember going fishing with my mum, being on this tiny boat out in the open sea, catching some fish and sailing home, cleaning and cooking it, with fresh veg from my auntie’s farm. Looking back, it was an incredible thing to have experienced.

Fast-forward to me leaving Athens at 18, when I went to study in Edinburgh, then London. It was there that I fell in love with street food, which back in the early 2010s was just starting to be a thing. I loved that you could travel to every continent in the world in a lunch hour and eat all this incredible food. But there was no Greek food at all – finding authentic Greek food in London was really tough. So I started experimenting at home, just to satisfy my own cravings. First were the dishes my mum used to cook at home when I was growing up, then I moved on to perfecting gyros and souvlaki (my absolute favourite).

Spending all that time in street food markets really planted a seed and I thought ‘Why don’t I start a stall?’ I’d always wanted to run my own business, and this was my ‘now or never’ moment. So back in 2014 I ran my first stall at a tiny market in North London, then a month later I moved to Brick Lane, one of the city’s busiest markets. The rest, as they say, is history.

The Athenian has always been about making Greek food accessible to as many people as possible. The idea is for everyone to see modern Athens and Greek cuisine as I see it, to discover Greek food as it really is, and to come on a journey to this amazing city. It’s one that’s not about stereotypical Greece at all, but all about modern Athens, and living and eating the Athenian way. 

Alex Canter

CEO & Founder,

Alex is a restaurant industry innovator, in-demand speaker, and passionate advocate for restaurant operators and workers. He was raised in the kitchen of the world-famous Canter’s Deli in Los Angeles, where he and his team started work on what would become Nextbite. A fourth-generation restaurateur, the restaurant business has been in Alex’s blood for over 90 years. In addition to being the visionary and leader of Nextbite, Alex is active with the Techstars network and enjoys mentoring other restaurant technology entrepreneurs and occasional angel investing. He is a 2019 recipient of the Forbes 30 Under 30, Fast Casual Executive’s Top 25 and a recipient of Nation’s Restaurant News’ 2022 Top 50 Power List. Alex previously led several technology ventures and most recently, Nextbite announced the close of its $120M Series C funding round led by Softbank.

Michael Montagano

Kitchen United

Michael is a seasoned executive with extensive experience raising institutional funding, scaling and achieving exits for venture-backed companies. His background with capital markets range from institutional equity (VC and PE) and debt financings to liquidity events through M&A and IPOs. Most recently, he shepherded PowerFlex Systems from seed-stage to acquisition by a Fortune Global 100, Electricite de France (ENXTPA:EDF). Steeped in the food-tech space, Michael previously helped thousands of restaurants enhance their digital presence and online ordering capacity through an innovative venture-backed tech solution.

Prior to his 10 years leading venture-backed companies, Michael practiced M&A and corporate finance law for one of the world’s 50 largest law firms, Faegre Drinker LLP (then Baker & Daniels, LLP), working primarily with large private equity firms. Additionally, he currently sits on the Board of Directors for Dog Haus World Wide, one of the country’s fastest-growing national restaurant chains.

He received his Masters of Business Administration from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and his Juris Doctorate from Indiana University’s McKinney School of Law.

Michael grew up in a restaurant family, anchored by an Italian restaurant and a neighborhood grocery store and butchery founded by grandparents. Michael resides in Pasadena, California with his wife, Dr. Bethany Montagano, and son, Joey, a proud Polytechnic Panther.

Meredith Sandland

CEO - Author,
Empower Delivery

Meredith Sandland is the co-author of the award-winning book “Delivering the Digital Restaurant: Your Roadmap to the Future of Food.”  Their follow-up guide is due out this winter on Amazon.

Meredith Sandland is the CEO of Empower Delivery, a SaaS company that enables delivery-centric restaurants to manage end-to-end deliver transactions through one platform that combines the consumer journey, the product journey and the logistics journey to orchestrate the activities of all.

She is formerly the Chief Operating Officer at Kitchen United, where Meredith created the business model, raised two rounds of capital, and was the public face of this Google Ventures-backed Ghost Kitchen start-up, which recently closed its Series C.  

Previously, as Chief Development Officer at Taco Bell, Meredith reignited unit growth after the 2008-2009 recession to build 1000+ Taco Bells and add over $1 billion in annual sales to the brand.  She was responsible for the creation of the urban Taco Bell Cantina concept, the launch of Taco Bell's new prototype designs, the development of the Taco Bell international franchising strategy, the digitization of Taco Bell's market planning strategy, and the development of a new buildout supply chain. 

Prior to becoming an operator in the restaurant industry, Meredith spent over a decade at Bain & Company, consulting on strategic diligence of leveraged buyout targets in technology, retail and restaurants for private equity firms. She sits on several boards in the restaurant and restaurant tech space. 

Nic Cann

Founder & CEO,
Blobfish International

Nic Cann is the Founder of Blobfish International, a global product sampling company that assists in helping Dark/Ghost kitchen sites generate more revenue and increase their restaurant owners reviews and positive comments through the gifting of free products. 

Ben Schultz


Ben is the current CEO of 360 KBOX GLOBAL

Along with this, Ben holds a long-standing Board Position as the Director of Strategic Business Development at the Boston Global Group, and is a nominated ambassador for the FSHD foundation.

Ben has a diverse specialisation focused on the Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure sectors. Ben’s commitment to these sectors for the past 22yrs has provided him with a wealth of industry knowledge and valuable experience in strategic planning and growth execution.

Ben’s achievements include:

  • Master of Business Administration (currently completing)
  • Ground up build of a highly successful consulting business providing an average client growth of 15-22% Purchased and operated a large format hotel in Sydney’s CBD
  • Group General manager of Temujin hotels (5 venues) by the age of 24.
Rebecca VIANI

Rebecca VIANI
CFE, Partner
Head of International Dev. & Franchising Advisory WhiteSpace Partners Ltd.

Rebecca currently leads the international expansion and franchising practice at Europe-based advisory firm, WhiteSpace Partners, working with and advising some of the world’s most well-known restaurant brands on market entry, international expansion and franchising strategies. With over 15 years in the industry, she has worked with and advised a diverse range of groups, from emerging franchise brands to Fortune 500 companies. Her specialization in Europe and the Middle East comes from close to 10 years living and working in the regions in a variety of capacities, consistently focused on foodservice and franchising. 

A Certified Franchise Executive (CFE), Rebecca regularly contributes to the industry as a guest author and speaker and is passionate about mentoring young professionals. 

Andrew Maxwell

Founder & Director,

Andrew Maxwell is the founder of Boojum, Ireland's largest chain of Mexican fast casual restaurants. He is passionate about perfecting the intersection of hospitality and technology.

Andrew believes that technology should enhance the customer experience and that personalization, frictionless ordering, and convenience are key factors to achieving a great digital experience.

A technology evangelist, he is now an affiliate partner of Clustertruck, America's first delivery only kitchen. Vertical integration is the only solution to profitable prepared food delivery. 

Dustin MARES

Dustin MARES
Meal Outpost

  • Meal Outpost- Co-Founder & CEO
  • Kitchen United- Director of Enterprise Partnerships
  • Platterz- Launch Team & Vendor Relations
  • National Catering- 30yr family catering co. 

Co-Founder and CEO of Meal Outpost, a F&B licensing platform that provides growth brands a transparent, seamless, and efficient way to connect and integrate with Host Restaurants with a focus on Catering. 

Growing up in the restaurant industry, Dustin began working with his family's national catering company at an early age.

Starting his career building delivery markets in 2013 & 2014, he joined Yelp's Restaurant team continuing to build delivery partnerships for EAT24 which was acquired by Grubhub. From Yelp, he joined Platterz, a catering focused tech platform where he was on the market Launch team and led Vendor partnerships.

Leading up to Meal Outpost, Dustin was at Kitchen United where he was Director of Enterprise Partnerships working with many of the largest restaurant brands not only in the US, but across the globe on their Ghost Kitchen strategies.

Danny Wright

CEO & Founder,
Collab Coffee

CEO of Collab Coffee, Global Operational Partner to Coffee Brands driven by Celebrities, Major Influencers & Corporate Entities.

Karan Tanna

Founder & CEO,
Ghost Kitchens India

Karan Tanna, Founder & CEO at Ghost Kitchens, graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Automobile Engineering and embarked on his professional career as the Assistant Manager at General Motors and later as a Research Analyst at McKinsey and Company. As entrepreneurship was always on top of his mind he launched a restaurant named Goodies, further he partnered with Kutchi King, a QSR chain and influenced its’ growth to 300 chains in 3 years. Post this he founded and established Yellow Tie Hospitality as India’s first organized franchise management company which had a portfolio of 10 brands with 100+ stores across Pan India Karan has been recognized by Forbes 30 under 30. He also made it to the list of GQ’s 50 Most Influential Young Indian as well as the Entrepreneur 35 under 35. A Founding member and First National Head of NRAI Youth Committee, he served at the apex organization to highlight improvements about how restaurant industry runs in India. Karan wanted to create a larger impact by reducing the unpopular high attrition rate of restaurant industry. He decided to do this by solving the problem of thousands of restaurant owners of not being able to leverage food delivery. Hence, he established Ghost Kitchens which would go on to create 25+ specialized food delivery brands and its proprietary tech platform which could be leveraged by restaurants to become profitable by generating incremental food delivery orders. Under his leadership & ambition Ghost Kitchens has grown to have 150 Brands, expanded throughout India in 40 cities with 1100 Internet Restaurants. Karan aims to influence the lives of at least 10,000 food entrepreneurs and support them with incremental profits from their existing premises. On the personal front he is a cinema buff and enjoys watching movies of all kinds. Karan also follows a lot of OTT content. Besides that, Karan also enjoys interacting with various start-up ecosystems and entrepreneurs hailing from food industry. He is also a seasoned startup angel investor and has a portfolio of 15 + companies.

Mate Kun

Mate KUN
Growth Kitchen

I had a deep passion for sustainability and food since a very young age: I grew up celiac in Hungary with entrepreneur parents focused on preserving nature. 

After various ventures throughout school, I finally launched my first VC-backed startup when I turned 19: a platform similar to what’s now Airbnb Experiences. In hopes of a better entrepreneurial environment, I relocated to the US and later to London, where I worked for various startups in Product and Sales, did business school, and a few years of management consulting, working with large food companies. 

This is where I realized I want to get back to routes - building a business that makes the food sector a lot more transparent and sustainable. As step one, we focus on enabling delivery-first restaurants to scale and become better; up to the point where they can become a viable, healthy, and sustainable alternative to the chore of cooking.


Co-Founder and CEO,

Ashwin Kamlani is the Co-Founder and CEO of JUICER, bringing dynamic pricing to the restaurant industry.  Armed with a technology background from Accenture and PwC and a Masters from the Cornell Hotel School, Ashwin built his career as an innovator and thought leader around e-commerce in the hotel industry for 20 years.  He launched JUICER in October 2021 with other tech leaders from the hospitality and travel industries to help restaurants implement effortless data-driven dynamic pricing to increase revenue and profitability.  JUICER is already working with enterprise restaurant groups and has a global footprint covering the US, Europe, and the Middle East.


Figure 8 Logistics

Scott Landers began his lifelong fascination with water and food in Northeast Texas, where he was born and raised on the sixth-generation Landers Family Farm. He has since worked as a civil engineer, product director, and independent consultant to water and food organizations.
Scott co-founded Figure 8 Logistics in 2019, where he currently works as a sustainability engineer. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Engineering from MIT and lives in New York City

Stephen Dutton

Stephen DUTTON
Research Manager,
Euromonitor International

Stephen Dutton is a research manager and expert in the hospitality and travel industries, with a unique niche in restaurants and dining. As an analyst, he is responsible for market sizing and forecasting, data analysis and writing insightful reports on key market developments. Stephen has been quoted in the BBC, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Der Spiegel, among others. In the past year, he has delivered conference presentations on global consumer trends and the future of work and travel. Stephen holds an M.A. in International Affairs from the George Washington University in Washington, DC and has been at Euromonitor since 2015.

Massimo Noja De Marco


In 2017 Massimo along with Jeffrey Kalt founded Kitchen United with the first outpost in Pasadena California. Since leaving KU in 2020, Massimo has focused on bringing automation into the Food Space, with Piestro and Miso Robotics, while developing Soigne’, an End to End Solution for Operators, providing a white label tech stack from the Ordering Platform to a specialized dedicated Drivers Network.

Because of his constant pursuit for Innovation in the Food Industry, Massimo made the Top Ten in the 2020 Nation Restaurant News Power List of Restaurant Leaders changing the industry, placing at # 7. The list focused on technology and innovation, and featured individuals bringing game changing solutions and unrivaled creativity to the biggest issues facing restaurants today.

Massimo was recently voted in NRN Readers Pick as one of Most Influential CEO’s in America in 2021 and 2022.

Massimo will be announcing his new appointment at the International Ghost Kitchen Conference.

Matthias Schneider

Co-Founder & Managing Director,
CloudEatery GmbH

Meet Matthias, the visionary founder and managing director of CloudEatery - a dynamic and innovative cloud kitchen and virtual brand business based in Frankfurt, Germany. With over 25 years of experience in the food service industry, Matthias brings a wealth of expertise and knowledge to the table. As the co founder of CloudEatery, he is responsible for the development of new concepts, overseeing operations and driving sales and marketing efforts.

Before launching CloudEatery, Matthias served as the global head of food services at Deliveryhero, where he played a crucial role in driving the company's footstep in the ghost kitchen space. With his extensive experience in food delivery and digitalization, Matthias is well-equipped to navigate the rapidly evolving landscape of the food industry.

Under Matthias' guidance, CloudEatery has emerged as a leading player in the German cloud kitchen space, with a strong focus on delivering high-quality food experiences through cutting-edge technology and innovative business strategies. With his unwavering commitment to excellence and a relentless drive to succeed, Matthias is poised to take CloudEatery to new heights in the years to come.

Sam Martin

Peckwater Brands

Sam Martin is the co-founder and CEO of Peckwater Brands (PWB), the delivery franchising experts. PWB helps restaurants and kitchens of all sizes benefit from the fullest demands of the market by streamlining the process of embracing virtual brands and multiple-franchise solutions. Working with partners across the hospitality spectrum, they can transform any kitchen into a multi-franchise operation, integrating with their existing operations and opening them up to vastly increased demand across different brands and cuisines. Sam worked in executive positions at Uber and Amazon before co-founding PWB in 2019.  

Remo Gianfrancesco

Co-Founder & Managing Director,
CloudEatery GmbH

Meet Remo, the talented founder and managing director of CloudEatery - a leading cloud kitchen and virtual brand business based in Frankfurt, Germany. With over 20 years of experience in the food service, catering, and supply chain management industries, Remo is a seasoned professional with a wealth of knowledge and expertise.

Managing finance, procurement, tech, investor relations and real estate at CloudEatery, Remo is responsible for ensuring that the company has the resources  and infrastructure it needs to succeed. With his extensive experience and expertise, Remo is well-equipped to handle the complex and multifaceted challenges of running a cloud kitchen business.

Before joining CloudEatery, Remo served as procurement director in multiple European markets at Compass Group - the largest global food catering organization. In his assignments, he played a key role in the company's success, working tirelessly to streamline its procurement processes and improve its overall efficiency. With his deep understanding of the food industry and his unwavering commitment to excellence, Remo is a valuable asset to CloudEatery and a driving force behind its success.

Sriram Subramanian


I grew up on Army Campuses, taught myself a bunch of sports and at the age of 11 landed up as one of five young sailors to qualify for an Olympic Solidarity Course from India. This prepared me well to take a long winded road to eventually become an SaaS-preneur! I am passionate about solving problems for small businesses (and App companies that sell to SMBs) and using open source as a force for good. At ShoppinPal, my team and I are committed to leveraging our integration platform to enable SMBs to stay sustainable and profitable - even in times of global uncertainty.

We offer leading Cloud Platforms and Apps a low-cost, highly scalable, 100% secure, single point solution for all their integration needs which has helped our customers get to market 10X faster. ShoppinPal is seed funded, profitable and has solid unit economics. We are a focused, niche player operating in a USD 200 Billion, highly fragmented industry that is in Sunrise stage, and growing at 50%+ CAGR. We are experiencing accelerated growth driven by the prevailing demand for data automation across Food, Retail and adjacencies.

Specialties: integrations and app ecosystems, entrepreneurship, product management, leading globally distributed high caliber dev teams, in-depth understanding of payments and internet technologies, enterprise software security, distributed systems and networks.

Gary Moore

Regional VP of Franchise Operations,
Dine Brands Global

Gary Moore currently serves as the Regional Vice President of International Franchise Operations for Dine Brands Global's Middle East and South Asia (MESA) market. Throughout his 11+ years at Dine Brands, Gary has worked with franchisees and key stakeholders to help fuel international growth for Dine's two world-class brands, Applebee's and IHOP.

Prior to joining Dine, he held positions at Yum! Brands Dubai, Coca-Cola International, and Minor Food Group, all of which helped him to develop as an industry leader.

Most recently, Gary has played a significant role in Dine's expansion into the ghost kitchen space, helping to secure partnerships with innovative companies like Kitopi, Food Panda, and JustKitchens.

Gary graduated from Ulster University and currently resides in the United Arab Emirates.

Thomas Eliopoulos II

Founder & CEO

American-born entrepreneur with Lebanese and Greek family background, Thomas is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
In 2020 he founded Nourish which is the world's first global booking platform for customized in-flight meals. Projected to grow into a $21B market by 2027, the commercial in-flight services industry has seen no major innovations, entrants, or business model changes in nearly 30 years. Nourish is pioneering an emerging logistics sector for commercial aviation to improve the customer experience for travelers everywhere.
Nourish is based in the United Arab Emirates. 

Alan Honan

Regional Vice President of EMEA,

Alan is the Regional Vice President for EMEA at Wingstop, one of the fastest QSR brands in the US. Alan spent fourteen years at KFC in Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Spain and the Middle East with AmRest and Americana. As GM for Europe with Alan opened the Spanish, Portuguese and Italian markets and spent two years in the “delivery-only” kitchen business.

An Irish National and a former professional rugby player Alan lives in Dubai with his family.

Anu Kankane

Head of Delivery-Only Kitchens UK,
Uber Eats

Currently Head of Delivery only Kitchens (UK) at Uber, Anu comes with extensive experience of working in leading consumer tech businesses across the UK and India. Prior to joining Uber, she has established and scaled various business units at Wayfair and Ajio. Anu started her career with General Electric in corporate finance and holds an M.B.A. degree from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore where she graduated with high honors. 

Jon Register

Founder & CEO,

Jon Register is the founder and visionary behind Virturant, a cutting-edge technology company specializing in Virtual Restaurant solutions. With a background in computer engineering and a passion for innovation, Jon has established Virturant as a leader in the Virtual Restaurant industry.

Since founding Virturant, Jon has been dedicated to developing immersive brand experiences that revolutionize the way people interact with restaurants. Under his guidance, the company has grown from a small startup to a global enterprise, serving clients in a variety of territories.

Jon's entrepreneurial spirit, technical expertise, and commitment to delivering exceptional restaurant brands have earned him recognition as a prominent figure in the Virtual Restaurant community. He has been featured in numerous publications and has spoken at conferences around the world.

In addition to his work at Virturant, Jon is an avid supporter of the tech industry and is dedicated to fostering the next generation of Virtual Restaurant leaders. He is a mentor to young entrepreneurs and is committed to making technology accessible to everyone.

With his unwavering passion for technology and his relentless drive for success, Jon Register is poised to continue shaping the future of Virtual Restaurant for years to come. 

Carl Jacobs

Co-Founder & CEO,

Apicbase is the backbone of multi-site restaurants, dark kitchens and large-scale catering. The platform helps manage critical back-of-house processes such as inventory management, purchasing and menu engineering, simplifying the work for staff and boosting the bottom line. Carl Jacobs is co-founder and CEO of the company since 2017. He has steered it through the seed and series A funding rounds and built Apicbase into the leading F&B management platform it is today in Europe and beyond. Additionally, Carl is startup mentor at Birdhouse where he shares his knowledge with fellow founders of emerging SaaS solutions. Carl is also host of The Food Service Growth Show, a podcast in which he interviews experts in the restaurant industry. 


Lean Kitchen Network

He is the founder of LKN, a business that develops food and drink brands in collaboration with top social media creators, international celebrity chefs, and major consumer brands such as Heinz, Doritos, and Ben & Jerry's.

By utilising data, technology, and insights, LKN optimises brand performance and partners with hotels, bars, gastro-pubs, stadiums, and workplaces to increase revenue and profit by utilising their existing kitchens and labour. LKN is rapidly expanding across the UK and will top 450 locations by Spring, with plans to expand to the USA and Europe in 2023.

Before founding LKN, Faraz graduated from the London School of Economics and worked as a management consultant, focusing on strategy and performance improvement in the hospitality, retail, and leisure industries. He has experience working with Fortune 100 and FTSE 100 clients across the world. Faraz has also founded a technology-driven B2B commerce business in partnership with Apple Computers which is still operating successfully. He is also an investor, board member, and advisor in various start-ups in the UK and USA, primarily in the food tech, plant-based food, data, and health sectors.

Adam Robin

SVP of Operations & Enterprise

Adam has over 23+ years of experience in Food & Beverage / Hospitality (including concept creation, operations, finance, product/technology, real estate, etc...). Adam has focused on the entire spectrum of Food & Beverage services ranging from QSRs, Fast Casual, Upscale Full Service to Fine Dining. Adam is also a Certified Sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers. In his free time Adam focuses on family including traveling with his wife and coaching his 7-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter in basketball, baseball, soccer, and football. Adam loves to be a motivational/inspiring force for his colleagues, often emailing quotes, photos or videos. Adam strongly believes in his values and principles which are synonymous with servant leadership and showing grit!

Laurent Vandervelde

Chief Executive Officer,

As the founder and CEO of EasyOrder as well as the Co-founder of Host Kitchen Brands, Laurent is a passionate food-tech entrepreneur who is on a mission to bring back restaurant profitability. He researched the impact of digital change projects in the European quick service restaurant industry and successfully helped Belgian restaurant chains to drive profits through digital transformation. His background in finance naturally led him to be focussed on data analysis and making data-driven decisions. Combining this background with the low level of digitisation in the restaurant industry enables him to expose growth opportunities for restaurant holders.

Clement Benoit

Clement BENOIT
Investor and Co-Founder,

Clement Benoit is a recognized early stage investor with over 30 tech startups and 14 successful exits under his belt. He launched his first startup at 22 (Resto-In), sold it a couple years later for over $50m, and followed that up with the launch and fast turnaround of B2B delivery platform Stuart, acquired in under 2 years. Not So Dark is his latest project alongside Alexandre Haggai offering the first virtual franchising model for online delivery with turnkey operations that are optimized for speed and cost-efficiency. The company pivots their business model now CLONE (ex Not So Dark)  and has scored a total funding of $105 million. Their focus is to further expand the startup’s virtual food delivery franchise model across the globe. 

Jerome Laredo

President (Co-founder),

Jerome is the President and Co-Founder of Deliverect leading teams responsible for powering the food service industry with technology worldwide. Deliverect’s platform helps restaurants, ghost kitchens, and convenience stores manage digital orders and delivery to boost profits and improve operations. With over 20 years of technology leadership experience, Jerome is an expert in business strategy and international commerce. Previously Jerome was the Senior Vice President at Lightspeed, a leading POS system company, overseeing EMEA and Asia.


Rohan Jetley

Senior Vice President International,
Earl Enterprises and Virtual Dining Concepts

Rohan Jetley – SVP International Virtual Dining Concepts (VDC) 

Rohan Jetley is a seasoned executive with a strong background in the tech-enabled food and beverage industry. He currently serves as the SVP International for Virtual Dining Concepts, where he leverages his expertise to drive growth and expansion in international markets. Prior to his current role, Rohan held the position of SVP International at REEF and later became the CEO for REEF Kitchens Middle East. His leadership and business acumen in this role saw the successful expansion of the company into the Middle Eastern market.

Akshara Walia

Akshara WALIA
Director of Research,
PKF Hospitaliy

Akshara joined the PKF hospitality group in 2016 and is based in Vienna, Austria. As Director of Research, she is responsible for overseeing all research and benchmarking, analytics and knowledge development efforts for PKF. 

In addition to creating value-driven insights for the traditional hospitality sector, she is passionate about investigating innovative approaches to accommodation and serviced living, and strongly believes in the power of data and tech to drive growth and create value across hospitality and allied sectors.

She is well versed with market research and consulting in tourism, leisure, hospitality and food processing, and is also pursuing her PhD in predictive analytics and forecasting for tourism.”

Rens Bekkers

Vegan Burger Brothers

Co-founder of Bright Kitchen and established business mentor having a background in e-commerce/tech startups, Rens offers the overall leadership in the evolution of Bright Kitchen. Before its launch Rens and fellow co-founder Paul experimented with different food concepts and finally introduced the unique Vegan Burger menu that has become a tremendous success; it is now the most ordered vegetarian dish on Deliveroo in the Netherlands. His interests include particle physics, astronomy, electronics, nature and travel. 

Joey Bloemendal

Global Head of Business Development,
Just Eat Takeaway

Joey started in 2016 at, the Dutch brand within Just Eat and is currently steering the Global strategy around new markets and partners. Just Eat is a lead­ing glob­al online food deliv­ery mar­ket­place. With over 680.000 connected partners we offer a wide variety of food choice and with new business models we see models that fuels our mission to empower every food moment. Joey is passionate about food and technology and with his years of experience in the food delivery a true believer that connecting consumers with the right partners will empower every food moment.

David Hitching

Director Global Food Safety,
Just Eat Takeaway

David is the European Manager for Food and Product Safety within Just Eat, including its subsidiaries in each market. Just Eat is a lead­ing glob­al online food deliv­ery mar­ket­place with over 680.000 connected partners offering a wide variety of food choice and with new business models that fuel its mission to empower every food moment. Having gained a wealth of knowledge and experience over the last 28 years, David is a seasoned health and regulatory compliance manager working in the fields of food safety, health and safety and licensing. In the public sector David has worked for multiple regulatory authorities, steering and influencing strategy at local and national level and building engagement with local, regional, national and international business. In the private sector David has headed up Health & safety and Hygiene compliance across both hospitality and retail industries.

Omar Rifai


Omar Rifai is a Co-Founder/ Chief Growth Officer, an end-to-end cloud kitchen and restaurant SaaS solution powering customers in over 20 markets. Grubtech has secured over $20 million in funding since inception, with its Series A led by Addition. 

Grubtech’s product suite was inspired by Omar’s seed investment and board role at Ikcon cloud kitchens, a leading cloud kitchen business operating out of the Middle East acquired by Reef Technologies in 2021.  As Ikcon was in hyper growth mode, it was clear that there was no purpose-built off the shelf cloud kitchen technology and that existing restaurant technology solutions were inadequate, sparking the idea to launch Grubtech to build a comprehensive solution for cloud kitchens which now also serves large scale omnichannel restaurant groups.

Prior to becoming an entrepreneur Omar spent almost 18 years as a private equity, growth capital and angel investor based in Dubai and New York. He has overseen over $1 billion of investments and served as a director on numerous boards of companies across MENA and Turkey including Ikcon, Foodie Brands, (sold to Amazon), Ison Technologies, Turknet, Waternet and Fine Hygienic.


Daniel Simon

Daniel SIMON

Daniel is the Founder & CEO of Mealco, a New-York based food-tech startup on a mission to democratize restaurants. Mealco was recently featured on TIME magazine’s Best Inventions of 2022.

From his years working at restaurants, to being a software engineer, and later working in venture capital - Daniel is passionate about using his experience to revolutionize the way restaurants, brands, technology and customers interact. He holds a in Computer Science and an MBA.

Adam Armeland

CEO & Co-Founder,
Kitchen Hub

Adam is an accomplished entrepreneur and executive with deep experience in service development and multi-brand retail and food service environments. Kitchen Hub is founded on Adam’s vision for convenient access to quality food leveraging new world technology and old world hospitality.  

Prior to Kitchen Hub, Adam held general counsel leadership responsibilities in the development and leasing of trophy office environments including CIBC Square (Toronto), and retail and leisure environments including Premium Outlet Collection EIA and Time Out Market Montreal. Previously, at McCarthy Tetrault, Adam acted as legal counsel for major public sector and private real estate and infrastructure developers on the development of a diverse set of assets including entertainment and retail centres, urban transit infrastructure, universities, and hospitals.

Adam holds a JD/MBA from the University of Calgary.

Mat Abramsky

CBO & Co-founder,
Kitchen Hub

Mat is an experienced executive and board director with particular expertise in building companies that improve urban life and optimize the built environment for tomorrow’s technology and services. 

Mat leads business development, capital, and site selection & design for Kitchen Hub. Prior to Kitchen Hub, Mat was an Associate Partner at Brockton Capital, a £1.5 billion real estate private equity fund in London (UK). He led investments in asset-backed operating businesses in sectors including data centres, co-working, pubs, and urban street markets. Before Brockton, Mat managed a vertically integrated family investment platform focused on retail and student housing.

Mat holds an MBA from the Wharton School, Master of City Planning from the Stuart Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania, and an HBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western University.

Ezio Balarini

Chief Commercial Officer,

Ezio has more than 30 years of industry knowledge. 

As QSRP CCO Ezio is today responsible for Marketing , Procurement and Supply chain , Digital , Communication and Sustainability .

In his professional career Ezio covered various roles at Autogrill being more recently in charge of global marketing and brand management.

He held various international roles in marketing and operations.

Yousif Kurdi

Yousif KURDI
Founder & CEO,

Yousif Kurdi is the Founder & CEO of YourKitchen, a platform which allows restaurants to launch new locations with less risk and more reward. At YourKitchen, they are democratising access to restaurant growth and creating communities of exceptional food brands. Their infrastructure as a service solution is the first in The Netherlands and includes notable partners in hospitality and real estate. Instead of opting for the 100% delivery model, YourKitchen is designed for dine in and takeaway in addition to delivery. Their community first model focuses on creating a strong community between restaurants and eaters. They have sites in excellent locations to provide their customers with quick access to city centers. 

In addition to that, Yousif is the captain of the first ever Saudi National Ski and Snowboarding Olympic team. He led Saudi Arabia to their first ever representation in the Beijing Winter Olympics as a Snowboard Cross Athlete. 

Prior to YourKitchen, I was the Vice President of European Transformations at McKinsey & Company in Amsterdam