Former Pret MD heads up Working lunch! line-up

Retailer & buying masterclasses confirmed for lunch! 2013. 

Retail consultant Andrew Walker – the former managing director of sandwich chain Pret A Manger, will share his observations and expertise on the highly competitive lunchtime market during a headline Keynote at this year’s lunch! trade show.

Walker’s session – ‘Maximising your lunchtime opportunity’, will take place on the opening day of the sixth annual lunch! exhibition, which returns to the Business Design Centre in Islington, London, over 26-27 September.  Whilst this will be his first appearance in the Working lunch! Theatre (sponsored by Magrini), Walker is no stranger to the award-winning food-to-go show, having frequently visited lunch! with his “food and buying teams” in order “to keep abreast of developments and to spark creative thinking.”

“I think lunch! is the premier place for food retailers to get an insight into all the food innovation that is happening across the country,” comments Walker, who will be providing lunch! visitors with some insights of his own this time around.

Drawing on over 12 years of experience working at Pret, including four years as director of operations, then four-and-a-half-years as UK managing director (during which time sales grew from £223m to £350m and EBITDA doubled to £58m), he’ll divulge strategies on how retailers can maximise their sales during the “magic two hour [lunch] window”.

“While innovation is hugely important it’s not the only route to success,” says Walker.  “A customer-focused approach to service and planning your menu can be equally important.”

From one big debut speaker to another, day two’s opening Keynote promises to be an equally big draw with food buyers and retailers across the UK.  Andrew Sherick – who up until just a few weeks ago was a senior buyer with M&S Foods, will also be adding lunch! speaker duties to his impressive resume; which includes over 20 years at M&S, and ex-chair of the British Sandwich Association.

Like Walker (who has a stake in first time Innovation Zone exhibitor Pots & Co), Sherick will also be exhibiting at the show, with his newly-launched venture Mr. Sherick’s Shakes; which produces premium pre-packed milkshakes for retail.

As a buyer, Sherick has been a keen supporter of lunch! for many years – calling it “an essential date in [his] diary”.  As a speaker, his ‘Buying Masterclass’ will take a compelling look behind the scenes at the buying process – focusing on successful ways to plan and prepare for important negotiations, and how to set (and meet) objectives.

“After six years with M&S Finance, 15 years with M&S Foods (seven of them as a senior buyer), and now starting up my own business, I hope to add real value – and offer a different perspective – to my audience at this year’s lunch!” comments Sherick.

“We are delighted to welcome such prominent industry figures to this year’s lunch!,” says event manager Chris Brazier.  “It’s a fabulous endorsement of the show that previously high-profile visitors from Pret and M&S – like Andrew Walker and Andrew Sherick – recognise how influential the show has grown that when it came to promote their own businesses – lunch! was their first trade show of choice.”

The British lunchtime market, which was valued at £14.9bn (and rising) in 2012 by foodservice analyst Horizons, offers plenty of opportunities for food-to-go retailers and caterers looking to enjoy a bigger bite of lucrative out-of-home sales.  Flexible, convenient and affordable, food-to-go outlets provide their patrons with an effective way to eat what they want, when they want, without having to comprise on quality or taste.

One operator who has certainly taken advantage of this continuing growth is Vincent Mckevitt, founder & ‘Top Tosser’ at healthy eating chain Tossed.  Having recently secured a funding boost of £1.5m to support expansion, he’s perfectly placed to share his tips on ‘Funding your business for growth’ at this year’s lunch!.

“The food-to-go space is at a very exciting and competitive time,” says Mckevitt.  “There are a number of brands around the 7-15 site mark that have the potential to really scale (Tossed being one), but also a host of challenger brands and street food operations coming through bringing us a range of diverse flavours and cultures.  As always, quality and service and execution of the concept remain key to success.”

Mckevitt is a prime example of how recognising a niche in the market – in this case healthy eating (before it became mainstream) – can add valuable differentiation to a brand.  Combining his love for healthy food, a business qualification, and a sprinkling of confidence – Tossed was launched in 2005.  At the forefront of the growing ‘healthy, fast casual’ market sector – it was the first company in the UK to display all the nutritional and calorific information in store on all their handmade products – today there are 11 Tossed stores in and around London (with another eight planned for the next 18 months).

“I know we say it every year – and it’s true – but this year’s Working lunch! education line-up is looking to be our best yet,” adds Brazier.  “Horizons and Allegra will be back with vital foodservice market updates, and we’ve got big names, who work with Pret, YO! Sushi, EAT. and Subway, still to be announced.”

lunch! 2013 – the UK’s leading, multi-award-winning, trade event for the food-to-go industry, will showcase the latest new food and drink products, packaging, equipment and technologies from 290 exhibiting companies at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London, on 26-27 September.  The full Working lunch! Theatre programme will be confirmed in full in August.

For further information and to register for a free trade pass, please visit www.lunchshow.co.uk (www.eventdata.co.uk/Visitor/Lunch.aspx?AffiliateCode=LUNPR2) and use priority code LUNPR2 where prompted.


Media enquiries & press pass request to:
Emma-Louise Jones, PR Manager
t: +44 (0)1273 645134                 e: [email protected]
Website:              www.divcom.co.uk
LinkedIn:            www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=5009585
Twitter:               www.twitter.com/DiversifiedUK
Facebook:          www.facebook.com/DiversifiedUK

Exhibitor enquiries to:
Chris Brazier, Group Event Manager
t: +44 (0)1273 645123                 e: [email protected]
Website:              www.lunchshow.co.uk
LinkedIn:            www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=3143327
Twitter:               www.twitter.com/lunchexhibition
Facebook:          www.facebook.com/pages/lunch/106355532742317


lunch! won Best Marketing Campaign of the Year at the Association of Event Organisers (AEO) Excellence Awards in 2012, and Best UK Trade Show Exhibition (under 2,000sqm) in 2010 & 2011 (it was named a finalist in both categories in June 2013). 

High resolution imagery is available upon request:

Visitor information: TRADE only

  • Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, London N1 0QH
  • 10.00-17.30 on Thursday 26 September and 10.00-17.00 on Friday 27 September.

Diversified Communications UK Ltd (Diversified UK) is a fast growing trade event organiser and publisher based in Brighton and Nailsworth (Glos).  In addition to lunch!, Diversified UK’s portfolio includes Casual Dining (new for 2014); The Natural Food Show (part of Natural & Organic Products Europe); Nordic Organic Food Fair in Malmö, Sweden (new for 2013, co-located with Natural Products Scandinavia); Ocean Business (including Offshore Survey Conference & Ocean Careers); MARELEC Marine Electromagnetics conference in Hamburg, Germany; camexpo; office*; SITS – The Service Desk & IT Support Show; SITS Europe in Berlin, Germany (new for 2014); Natural Products magazine; and the Natural Beauty Yearbook.

Diversified UK is part of Diversified Communications, a leading international media company with a successful portfolio of sector leading exhibition, conferences, publications and websites. 

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