partner & managing director




I help grow hospitality brands through structured strategic development, supported by insightful research, customer journey mapping and thought-invoking stakeholder engagement.


With a background in operations, development and marketing, both brand and agency side, I bring a unique set of skills and an outstanding understanding of the hospitality sector.


This experience has been gained working with more than 50 companies in 10 countries; Australia, France, Germany, Malaysia, New Zealand, Spain, Thailand, UAE, UK and USA.


I feel very privileged to be given a platform to share my opinion and industry insight as a regular contributor to industry and consumer publications and regular speaking engagements.


Here are a selection of projects James has worked on during his career, as a consultant, with a brand or agency;

Acquisition Due Diligence

Client: US Investment Fund

Brand and marketplace due diligence for the £85m acquisition of a large UK restaurant operator by a US Investment Fund. Analysing and reporting on the brand's position in the market, customer perception, quality of proposition & central team structure.

F&B Marketplace Analysis

Client: International Hotel Group (5,000 + properties)

Delivered a major food and beverage marketplace trends report for one of the largest hotel groups in the world, supporting their strategy development and subsequent brand partnership deals.

International Strategy Development

Client: FMCG brand developing a QSR concept

Supporting the development of an international expansion strategy, gaining broadest key stakeholder buy-in to defining the brand and documenting the brand and operational standards. 

Brand Portfolio Development

Client: Multi-Concept Restaurant Group (20+ Site)

 Developing the strategy for a multi-concept restaurant group, defining each brand and it's place in the marketplace before setting about refining the product, proposition, people and promotional strategies. 

5 Year Strategy Facilitation

Client: FTSE 250 Pub Group

Strategy facilitation for a major pub group to define their 5 year strategy; marketplace analysis, inspiration tours, development workshops & business wide communication. 

Brand & Product Development

Client: Independent Luxury Lodge

 Working with the owner of an award-winning luxury lodge to develop the brand and product, leading to significant increase in occupancy. 

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Conceptualisation of Kids Proposition

Client: Casual Dining Brand (10 sites)

Developed an award-winning insight-based children's dining proposition, culminating in a brand partnership with National Geographic Kids. Category sales increased by 549%.

Takeaway Strategy

Client: International Restaurant Brand (230 UK Sites)

Developing a takeaway strategy with key stakeholders & supported proposition development, defining bundles, packaging, marketing & routes to market.

Brand Repositioning

Client: FMCG Brand with 100+ Hospitality Outlets

Working with the UK franchisee of a large multi-national FMCG brand supporting the translation of new international brand standards to the UK through creation of a new lifestyle-focused visual identity.

One Customer Viewpoint Development

Client: Multi-Concept Restaurant Group (20+ Site)

Developing a strategy to integrate 11 systems into a one-customer viewpoint CRM, with significant segmentation triggering automated loyalty, enhanced targeting for email campaigns, outbound call lists generation, VIP management & customer intelligence.

Set-up of Central Reservations

Client: Multi-Concept Restaurant Group (20+ Site)

Setting up a central reservations team, increasing inbound group call handling from 34% to 91% and initiating outbound calling. Delivering the change programme with systems, internal communication & reporting.

Launch of Hotel & Restaurant Group

Client: Multi-Site Hospitality Group (3 Sites)

Pre-opening & operational leadership of a boutique hotel & two restaurant outlets from launch to sale. Winner of multiple national awards including Best New Hotel in New Zealand & being listed as a Top 50 Restaurant.

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James Hacon is one of the most prolific hospitality speakers and emcees, with an upbeat style and a special ability to inspire an audience.

He has spoken at dozens of high-profile events across the globe, including;

  • Global Restaurant Investment Forums Dubai, London, Amsterdam & Riyadh

  • Propel Conferences & Study Tours London, Chicago, New York & Las Vegas

  • Restaurant Marketer & Innovator London, Dublin, Tallinn, Dubai & Amsterdam

  • European Foodservice Summit Zurich

  • UK Hospitality Conferences London & Manchester

  • MAPIC Food Milan

  • Marco Pierre White Annual Conference Bristol

  • eTourism Summit San Francisco

  • Innovation in Brand Strategy Conference Amsterdam

  • Bahrain Restaurant & Hospitality Forum Manama

  • Social Media Tourism Symposium Sydney

  • NZ Restaurant & Bar Conference Auckland

  • The Annual Hotel Conference Manchester