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founder & managing partner




James Hacon is an internationally recognised restaurant industry commentator, speaker, writer and consultant. He has worked with more than 50 companies in 30 countries from independent Michelin starred restaurants to multi-national hotel companies and QSR brands. Growing up in the industry he lives and breathes it everyday, with an extensive network of the industries biggest and best names.

With a background in operations, development and marketing as an executive, consultant and investor in foodservice and hospitality brands, he is able to bring a unique perspective and outstanding understanding of the hospitality sector. He his applauded for his straight talking approach and rare ability to simplify complex tasks and challenging tasks. 

As a consultant he works with brands to structure a strategic development approach and framework to help them achieve their goals, supported by insightful research, a focus on customer journey mapping and thought-invoking stakeholder engagement.

Given his global perspective, direct approach and unparalleled insight into the restaurant and hospitality sector, he is regularly called upon as an industry commentator for TV, radio and news, having featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, ITV News, Radio Australia, BBC Radio 4, The Sunday Times and an array of industry publications. His speaking experience includes events for the United Nations, hospitality associations around the world - and Restaurant Marketer & Innovator, the event he co-founded that looks to define the future of eating and drinking out.


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;

  • UN Future Food Summit Dialogues | New York

  • UN COP 26 Dialogue | Glasgow

  • Future Hospitality Investment Summit | Riyadh & Dubai

  • 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



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