Jon Knight, the new head of the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, plans to give us plenty of ‘Food for thought’ in his opening day Keynote at Casual Dining — delving into difficult times, his fresh approach and how to revive a global business. We caught up with him before the show to find out more.
What do you see as key trends for the casual dining sector in the coming year?
I think we’ll see a continuation of restaurants focusing on serving single products, like just serving up a few great bowls of pasta. I think we’ll see even more pop-up concepts, too.
What do you feel is the key for operators, like you, to successfully compete against your competitors?
Continuing to evolve, try new things and push boundaries. I’m all about doing, not sitting around waiting for change.
Who or what inspires you to be even better?
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
It’s better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission!
Describe the Casual Dining trade show in 3 words:
Busy, innovative and food-focused.
How important is the show to you and the sector?
It’s really an essential space for networking and just listening to what’s happening in the rest of the sector, as well as meeting suppliers and seeing products we might not usually see.
Can you tell us a bit about your much anticipated session at Casual Dining 2018?
I’m really excited to be speaking as the new head of the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group. I’m a pretty open guy, so will be speaking quite candidly about our business and what we’ll be looking to do to turn things around.
See Jon at Casual Dining 2018
Food for Thought: 2pm in the Keynote Theatre on Wednesday 21 February.