Eating Out Analyst turned author and entrepreneur!

My first encounter with the industry was in the mid '90s, when for a decade, I worked in nearly every foodservice position imaginable whilst studying at college and then university. Whether it was the fast-paced nature of restaurants, or the service element, or simply my love of good food - that is where my passion for the industry was born. Unsurprisingly, my final MBA thesis was on the chameleon-like nature of the foodservice industry for which I received a university distinction.

After graduation, I joined the world of corporate where I was privileged enough to work as an insight expert for several leading blue chip brands. I enjoyed connecting the dots, converting seemingly unrelated information into powerful stories that harness a strategy. After all, “without research and data you are just another person with an opinion” according to W.E. Deming.

It was in my last role at Britvic, leading soft drink manufacturer in the UK, that I rediscovered the Eating Out industry all over again, but this time through the lens of insight and analytics. When I was not tracking brands on spreadsheets, I interviewed restaurant customers and leading operators as well as fine purveyors of epicurean experiences such as chefs and mixologists. My job was to understand every aspect of the Out-of-Home industry performance, investigate food and drink innovation trends, and report/advise relevant stakeholders on potential opportunities or threats. I was hooked! My hunger and love for the industry was re-ignited.

I am a passionate advocate for the Eating Out market with in-depth industry and category experience & network. Hospitality has never been more competitive, as entrepreneurs and start-ups vie against the more established players and corporates, to meet the seemingly endless appetite of the British public who want to try new eating-out formats and experience new heights. These customers are becoming more discerning and crying out for personalised choices. ‘One-size-fits-all’ satisfies no one and those who provide only for the mass market are suffering. During all my research, I realised that an individual experience must be the future and my book Bespoke was created to inspire and inform those in the industry looking for guidance on guest-centric offerings.

At the same time I noticed a gap in the market. As the decline in alcohol consumption continues and consumers fret about their sugar intake, there were no sophisticated soft drinks which could meet their needs. My career took another turn as I embraced entrepreneurship and created Kolibri – the world’s first bottled soft drink with sweetness tailored to taste. This gives back control to the consumer so that it is a bespoke drink for each individual, every occasion, every time.

This blog is about sharing my knowledge and enthusiasm for all that is, and should be, bespoke in hospitality. There is a wealth of articles in the Trends section and links to my book and our first products, Kolibri drinks. Take a look and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Enjoy!

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Kamila Sitwell

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