On the trail of future trends.

This much is obvious: For many, the business model must change.

The last months have shown that the sale of food and drinks does not necessarily have to depend on tables and chairs in the dining room. But how? What is the right concept? The right menu? The right kitchen set-up?

With the support of award-winning editor Michael Jones and Stephan Leuschner from RATIONAL, dive into in a series of the most exciting topics that gastronomy currently has to offer.

In each webinar you'll hear different perspectives from specialists and the opportunities ahead.

What is in for you?
  • Insights into the foodservice industry market
  • Solutions for restaurants, Ghost Kitchens & delivery
  • Best practice cases
  • Top-class industry speakers

Interesting for:

  • Investors and entrepreneurs
  • Restaurant operators and chefs
  • Cloud/Ghost kitchen operators
  • Food delivery companies
  • Caterers
  • Kitchen planners & consultants

TrendTalk Catering:
Evolving an entire industry.

The recent years changed the entire catering industry, whether impact of the pandemic, new ways of working or simply new demands and food trends, catering has to evolve to stay relevant and to successfully compete with restaurants, food delivery or retail options. Meet the experts from the industry live and learn more about the future of catering. This TrendTalk will feature Lloyd Mann, Vice President Culinary of Sodexo, Oliver Fischer, Director Group Culinary at Gategroup, Carl Jacobs, CEO & Co-founder of Apicbase as well as RATIONAL's Martin Wolf and Stephan Leuschner.

TrendTalk Restaurants:
Serving the world sustainably?

With a fresh start in 2024, our coming TrendTalk by RATIONAL will focus on the restaurant industry and which importance sustainability has in today’s agenda. Can restaurants serve the world sustainably?

These and many other questions will be answered by our industry experts Kaj Török, Chief Sustainability Officer of MAX Burgers, the award winning Swedish QSR brand which was the first worldwide to offer a climate positive menu, Andrew Maxwell, Director and board member of Boojum, Ireland’s largest chain of Mexican quick service restaurants and RATIONAL AG’s very own Dirk Friedlein and Stephan M. Leuschner who will discuss their insights how sustainability has impacted the strategy of restaurant chains globally.

TrendTalk will be moderated once again by Michael Jones, award winning writer, Editorial Director of 1473 Media and founder of Encaustum Ltd.

TrendTalk Session 14: When Food cultures meet...

The 14th session of TrendTalk will bring together foodservice experts, entrepreneurs and chefs from all over the world so that food cultures truly meet in this colorful and vibrant event. Meet Tim Vasilakis (The Athenian), Jeff Kipp (REEF Kitchens), Rehan Uddin (Indi-Yang) and Stephan m. Leuschner (RATIONAL AG) on the virtual stage. Moderated again by Michael Jones.

TrendTalk 13: Challenging the Status Quo.

Challenging the Status Quo in our 13th TrendTalk session will be Rishi Nigam, the founder and CEO of eCommerce platform Franklin Junction, renown business analyst and writer Brittain Ladd followed by Ghost Kitchen entrepreneur and founder of Noahs, Daniel Baven as well as Stephan M. Leuschner, founder of TrendTalk and RATIONAL’s Ghost Kitchen expert. Together they will discuss latest trends and challenges which will shape the future of foodservice and Hospitality industry. Moderated once again by award winning author and editor Michael Jones.

TrendTalk 12: Looking over the edge of the plate.

Looking over the edge of the plate will be Carl Jacobs, CEO of Apicbase, a worldwide F&B management platform. He will explain how F&B businesses can scale their operations easily. Amin Sheikh, the founder and CEO of Instazap – Ireland's first super app for instant needs – will share his insights about the future of supply chain and logistics. Dec Penfold, founder of Dec’s kitchen, the man behind many successful F&B operations, explains what it takes to develop a successful culinary concept. And finally, Stephan M. Leuschner, founder of TrendTalk and RATIONAL’s ghost kitchen expert, will share the latest news and an update from the recent International Ghost Kitchen Conference in Amsterdam. TrendTalk will again be moderated by Michael Jones, award-winning editorial director of FCSI's portfolio.

TrendTalk 11: Growing your business dynamically

With an energetic start into 2023, TrendTalk by RATIONAL will return with insights and inspiration how to grow your business within the foodservice industry with new strategies and optimized processes.

Ashwin Kamlani, Co-Founder and CEO of Juicer will tell you how dynamic pricing in F&B can change your future and Syed Sair Ali, CEO of Blink will share his solution how brand operators can reduce their dependency on aggregators. Andrew Martino, founder of Ghost Truck Kitchen will present his success model by operating hybrid ghost kitchens and his simple mission: “to make take-out and delivery better”, followed by RATIONAL’s Stephan M. Leuschner who will present an outlook in trends around sustainability and efficiency in foodservice operations.

On-Demand - Session 10: Ghost kitchens: A safe harbor in stormy waters?

The highly acclaimed TrendTalk by RATIONAL series will go into the 10th round now with the disruptive question: “Ghost Kitchens: A safe harbor in stormy waters?” During the recent month there have been many changes in the food-delivery eco system and new players and concepts are chasing the current leaders. This and the upcoming financial crisis worldwide as well as the fallout of the post-pandemic world have created a lot of questions.

Our featured speakers Pete Cook, founder and president of On-Trend Concepts, Robert Emerson, author and Co-founder at O2O Gourmet, Brandon Kua, Foodservice consultant as well as Stephan M. Leuschner from RATIONAL will bring light into these topics. Our experts will share their visions and concepts, which role ghost kitchens will have in future and give guidance how to overcome the storm.

On-Demand - Session 9: Visionaries of the Foodservice Industry.

Producing good food is one thing. The other is to get that food to the customer as quickly, hot, and comfortably as possible. To know the customer's needs and generate new business ideas as a result. And that is precisely what the latest episode of Trend Talk is about and introduces the "Visionaries of the Foodservice Industry".

Among others, Kristian Tazbazian, Co-Founder and COO of GASTronomous, Shawn P. Walchef, Chief Visionary Officer of Cali BBQ Media, and Haitham Al-Beik, CEO and Founder of Wings, will give insights into their work. RATIONAL's Stephan Leuschner will also once again present new concepts and solutions for food production and delivery.

On-Demand - Session 8: The Evolution of Ghost Kitchens.

TrendTalk Session 8 – “The Evolution of Ghost Kitchens” will have a look on how the Ghost Kitchen world has changed and which models seem to become successful in the near future. Simele Shange from Jozi Cloud Kitchens, South Africa, will return to the TrendTalk and have a look back into one year of successful operations. Melina Michna, Co-Founder of Munich based startup nourisha, shares her story behind an exciting new vegan food delivery model. Daniel Gantenberg, Managing Director of the German restaurant Group Enchilada will talk about the success of his brands and how their brick and mortar restaurants as well as virtual restaurants can coexist. Finally Stephan Leuschner of RATIONAL will discuss how hybrid models may help to increase the rentability of ghost kitchens. Once again the session is moderated by Michael Jones.

On-Demand - Session 7: Creating a better food experience.

This upcoming webinar will feature again a selection of outstanding speakers who will address the burning topics of the foodservice industry of today and tomorrow. Peter Backman, a renowned foodservice and delivery consultant, will highlight the current challenges of restaurant and grocery delivery from global point of view and will provide an outlook of what to expect in the next years. Matthias Schneider, gastro-entrepreneur and founder of CloudEatery will guide us through his vison of a contemporary hospitality solution, focusing on his team delivered a great food experience and fresher quality in a new hybrid concept that combines catering, casual dining and food delivery.

Stephan Leuschner, RATIONAL’s foodservice industry expert, will describe cutting-edge ways for operators to reduce food waste, increase efficiency and optimize the workflow in restaurants. Nigel Bell, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Adande, will focus on the ‘cool’ topic of innovative refrigeration and resource efficiency and discuss his solutions for fighting food waste by using latest technology.

On-Demand - Session 6: The next foodservice revolution

Corona has significantly accelerated digitalisation in the food industry as it has in other sectors. Digitalised hygiene concepts, food preparation and ordering systems are already the new normal. Some companies have long since gone a step further, using robots and reinventing cooking, among other things. What are their experiences? What can others learn from them?

  • Troy Hooper - Founder & CEO Kiwi Restaurant Partners
    With over 25 years of hospitality management in luxury and casual dining, Troy brings a breadth of knowledge and diverse experience.
  • Carl Orsbourn - Best Selling Author/VP Operations, Kitchen United
    Carl is a global retail executive who has worked on disruption from within (BP-owned ampm) and from without (GV-backed startup Kitchen United).
  • Meredith Sandland - Board Member, Author, Speaker & Advisor
    Meredith has spent a decade navigating changing consumer demands and real estate environments for restaurants.
  • Massimo Noja De Marco - CEO at Piestro - Founder at Kitchen United - BOD at Miso Robotics
    Because of his constant pursuit for innovation in the food industry, Massimo made the Top Ten in the 2020 NRN Power List of Restaurant Leaders.

On-Demand - Session 5: Marking the future of ghost kitchens.

After numerous ghost kitchens have established themselves in recent years, Michael Jones looks beyond the horizon in the fifth session. Four proven experts from the food service industry show how they became successful in the ghost kitchen segment and which concepts will remain in the industry in their opinion.

Thierry Rousset, Founder & Senior Franchise Consultant
With over 30 years of experience in Franchising and Foodservice, Thierry has worked at top level positions for some of the largest restaurant franchise networks. In 2012 he founded his own company to offer his broad experience to franchisors of all sizes.

Randy Murphy, Founder and CEO of OrderB4, will answer questions like: What technology solutions are needed in a multi-brand, ghost kitchen environment? Is there an end-to-end platform that can support ecommerce and operations without having to integrate many costly and difficult to manage systems?

Marc Choy, President at Ghost Kitchen Brands
A senior, well rounded development/franchising executive with over 20 years’ international experience. Marc wants to work with brands that are growing and passionate about the impact they have on people’s lives.

Stephan Leuschner will of course return to provide insights about new concepts and address how lean kitchen processes contribute to a successful operation.

On-Demand - Session 4: Retail meets Ghost Kitchens.

The boundaries between supermarkets and Ghost Kitchens are merging closer to each other. When supermarkets no longer just deliver food but also cooked meals? When Ghost Kitchens cooperate with supermarkets and are suddenly visible in the checkout zone.

But is it worth it? What are the prerequisites?

Michael Jones talks about this with

  • Charlie Farr: The gastronomy specialist explains how the Ghost Kitchen markets differ in the various regions, which players there are and what the future might look like.
  • Francesco Cassera: As the owner of Ghost Kitchen, Cassera will discuss the criteria he uses to select his locations and develop his concepts.
  • Benjamin Nothaft: The retail specialist has identified a new trend: More and more supermarkets have discovered the delivery business as an additional business? But how do they equip themselves for this?
  • Stephan Leuschner: As a specialist for Ghost Kitchen, Leuschner knows exactly which technology, which architecture is necessary to work successfully.

On-Demand - Session 3: Roadmap to Growth.

A Ghost Kitchen is always in flux: the menus change, the clientele grows, expansion plans emerge. In the third Trend Talk, Michael Jones shows how to be properly positioned for growth, what to consider when it comes to kitchen equipment and how successful others are on the road. Together with experts from the industry, he discusses growth opportunities and growth risks.

  • Stephan Leuschner will dig deeper into the question what is required to create an efficient setup for your ghost kitchen and how to utilize your equipment best.
  • Find out how Simele Shange and Khalipha Zulu, founders of Jozi Cloud Kitchens, have managed to become the largest ghost kitchen company in South Africa.
  • Randy Murphy, founder and CEO of OrderB4, will answer questions like: What technology solutions are needed in a multi-brand, ghost kitchen environment? Is there an end-to-end platform that can support ecommerce and operations without having to integrate many costly and difficult to manage systems?

On-Demand - Session 2:
How to operate successfully.

Success is dependent on well-planned operations – at least that's what the industry experts in this session think. We will look at the opportunities offered by ghost kitchens from several angles and provide solutions for a wide range of industries:

  • Andrew Twells is a strong believer that the changing face of corporate dinning requires ghost kitchen investment to be future-fit.
  • Uwe Lucas will deal with the successful brand-building of virtual delivery brands, so things really get going in the kitchen due to order volume.
  • Speaking of the kitchen: Stephan Leuschner will of course return to provide insights about new concepts and address how lean kitchen processes contribute to a successful operation.

In a nutshell: why not plan your future success right now?

On-Demand - Session 1:
Finding the ideal set-up.

Ghost kitchens became an important part of today’s foodservice and restaurant landscape and are here to stay. But how can you make a success of this new opportunity? Pivoting your existing concept or creating a perfect ghost kitchen set-up from scratch? In this Trend Talk session Marc Dempsey from GlobalData, Joseph Schumaker FCSI from FoodSpace and Stephan Leuschner from RATIONAL address the growth potentials within the Ghost Kitchen market and present what an ideal kitchen set-up could look like and what needs to be considered.

Our Speakers.

Lloyd Mann

Global VP Culinary Sodexo

Sodexo’s Global Executive Chef and head of culinary, Lloyd has spent over 30 years working in kitchens and leadership positions within the hospitality industry. Prior to joining Sodexo Lloyd has held senior positions within the contract catering sector in the UK and globally. At Sodexo, his key focuses are to continually evolve food standards across the business whilst actively promoting seasonal and sustainable food offers. Lloyd also leads the Sodexo Future Food Collective that brings together industry experts to carry out research and work with chefs on a range of food initiatives to deliver relevant, innovative, and balanced food solutions.

Carl Jacobs

Co-founder and CEO of Apicbase

Carl Jacobs is co-founder and CEO of Apicbase, the leading food & beverage management platform. He’s also the host of the Food Service Growth Show, a podcast that’s entirely dedicated to sustainably scaling the food industry. Besides his work at Apicbase, Carl is also Venture Partner at Birdhouse Ventures and mentor of startups.

Martin Wolf

Segment Director Catering at RATIONAL AG

Besides having a background as a professional chef and a degree in industrial engineering, Martin Wolf is RATIONAL’s expert for the catering industry. He drove innovative catering concepts and digitalization projects at his first professional station at Mercedes Benz Gastronomy. Subsequently, as Key Account Manager for RATIONAL Germany, he was responsible for successfully implementing concepts and projects with customers in southern Germany.

Oliver Fischer

Director Group Culinary Excellence at gategroup

Oliver is one of the outstanding personalities in the European landscape when it comes to catering business. Since many years he oversees the inflight catering as the Director of Group Culinary Excellence at gategroup, based in Zurich, Switzerland. Besides that, he is also president of the “Zürcher Cercle” the renown Swiss chefs circle. Bringing community together and organizing expert summits are just few of his outstanding activities.

Stephan Leuschner

Director Ghost Kitchen & Broadcast – RATIONAL

RATIONAL’s expert for international foodservice industry and ghost kitchen projects, business consultant and former Executive Chef will share insights how to develop your individual solution to setup optimized kitchens for delivery-only purpose. In 2021 he found the TrendTalk by RATIONAL Series and is moderating and directing this international format since.

Michael Jones

Editorial Director – 1473 Media

Voted 'Editor of The Year' at the CMA's International Content Marketing Association Awards 2020, Michael Jones is Editorial Director of 1473 Media and Managing Director of Encaustum Ltd. in the UK. An experienced editor, writer and event host, since 2013 he has headed up the content team for Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI), including its multi-award-winning, quarterly magazine Foodservice Consultant and website. Michael also writes for additional clients in the foodservice sector, including KTCHNrebel.

Dirk Friedlein

Segment Director Restaurants – RATIONAL

Dirk Friedlein is RATIONAL’s Segment Director Restaurants and focuses on international QSRs, Fast Casual and Casual Dining restaurant chains. With more than 30 years’ experience in the Foodservice industry, he lived and worked many years in the US, Asia, and Europe where he led sales and marketing teams that developed and implemented innovative strategies, processes, and products to generate the highest value add for customers.

Kaj Török

Chief Sustainability Officer – MAX Burgers

Kaj Török is Chief Sustainability Officer at MAX Burgers since 2016. In 2008 MAX created the world's first climate labelled menu and started capturing emissions through reforestation in the tropics. In 2019 MAX received UN Global Climate Action Award for the world’s first climate positive menu. MAX is also the company in Sweden that is most well-known for taking climate action with the widest offer of tasty green burgers in the industry. Kaj has worked with sustainability since the mid-90s and was awarded Sweden's best sustainability officer in 2020. Kaj is a popular international speaker.

Tim Vasilakis

Founder & CEO of The Athenian

Tim launched The Athenian in 2014; growing from a humble market stall to a small network of locations in next to no time. Four times Award-Winning. The Athenian has gone through various stages, from Street Food, to shipping containers, to bricks and mortar and more recently to delivery only kitchens.

With 20+ locations across the UK and 8 locations across Spain, the unique success of The Athenian comes down to understanding the market, offering something unique, putting emphasis on the brand and story of the business and being able to adapt through changing times.

Andrew Maxwell

Operating Partner – imbiba

Andrew Maxwell, an experienced hospitality entrepreneur and technology enthusiast, has a history of successful restaurant businesses on both sides of the Atlantic. Now assigned as Operating Partner at imbiba, his former company Boojum, Ireland's largest chain of Mexican quick-service restaurants was recently acquired by the Azzuri group in the UK. Passionate about merging hospitality with technology, Andrew advocates for enhanced customer experiences through personalization, frictionless ordering, and convenience. Currently, his expertise is put to use as a consultant to the industry.

Jeff Kipp

Culinary Director, REEF Kitchens UK & Europe

A trained professional chef for the past 25 years, Jeff has been enamored with the virtual restaurants and the democratization of food. As a charter team member of REEF, he is responsible for the activation of content for the business in the UK and Europe.

REEF builds the ecosystem that connects the world to your block, connecting proximity with a diversity of content. REEF transforms commercial kitchens into Multi-Brand units, providing the expertise, technology and a network of 100+ leading food brands to enable partners to seamlessly operate multiple brands from a single unit, for both delivery and in-house sales.

Rehan Uddin

Director Indi-Yang & Asian Restaurant Owners Network (ARON)

Rehan Uddin, a culinary visionary and dynamic leader in the world of Pan Asian cuisine. As the Head Chef of Indi-Yang, an acclaimed restaurant known for its award-winning Pan Asian creations, and the Managing Director of the Asian Restaurant Owners Network, Rehan Uddin has carved an indelible mark on the culinary landscape. With a passion for unifying ingredients from across Asia, Rehan Uddin has masterfully crafted a culinary symphony that captures the essence of diverse cultures. His journey, rooted in a British Bengali, Pakistani, and Indian heritage, has enriched his palette with an unparalleled wealth of spice knowledge. Beyond his kitchen mastery, Rehan Uddin is also an Asian expert ambassador for Rational AG, a role that exemplifies his commitment to pushing culinary boundaries.

Rishi Nigam

Co-Founder and CEO of Franklin Junction

Rishi is co-founder and CEO of Franklin Junction, the world’s first and largest Host Kitchen® marketplace, which allows restaurants to monetize underutilized kitchen capacity by selling secondary brands for delivery only. Previously, Rishi has served in the executive office of companies in the sports entertainment, restaurant, and airport industries.

Daniel Baven

Co-founder and CEO of Noahs

Daniel leads a team of entrepreneurs innovating the traditional franchise model with multi-brand kitchen architecture and operating software. In addition to this, he is working closely with entrepreneurs in the fast casual sector to streamline and optimize their brands for international expansion, through Noahs franchise system and brand platform.

Amin Shaikh

Founder & CEO Instazap

Amin is the Founder & CEO @ Instazap - Ireland's First Super App for Instant needs. He is highly qualified IT Professional with 16+ years of experience in multiple domains. Amin has been a part of start-ups ranging from Retail to a Digital Agency, Renewable Energy & a BPO Company. He is a generalist at the intersection of technological sciences & humanities, busy building futuristic yet more connected world using vulnerability, compassion & empathy as core foundations.

Brittain Ladd

Analyst & Business Writer

Brittain is a globally recognized expert on the topics of strategy, supply chain management, and logistics. He has 20-years of global experience working in retail, Oil and Gas, automotive, aerospace and defense, chemicals, and hi-tech industries. Brittain is one of the leading business writers and analysts writing articles for Forbes, brittainladd.com and LinkedIn.

Dec Penfold

Founder Dec's Kitchen

Dec is the founder of Dec's Kitchen, a food consultancy that works with FMCG brands, businesses and influencers all over the world to create successful food brands and projects.

A chef by trade and former Deliveroo Development & Operations Chef, Dec has 15+ years of experience in varied roles across the food & hospitality sector. He has delivered a range of impressive hospitality projects, inclusive of pop up food markets, physical restaurants and global dark kitchen chains. Dec knows what it takes for a restaurant, menu or food project to be effective and is one of the go-to consultancy within the dark kitchen world.

Haitham Al-Beik

CEO and Founder of Wings

Wings is an industrial research and design technology company digitizing commercial, logistical workflows, and operations with cutting-edge robotics, automation, machine learning, and AI. Wings is revolutionizing the last-mile delivery by automating and digitizing the fulfillment and distribution segment of the supply chain with a vertically integrated system.

Andrew Martino

Founder & CEO, Ghost Truck Kitchen - Principal, Martino Hospitality

Andrew is a trailblazer in the ghost kitchen industry, founding Ghost Truck Kitchen (GTK) in 2017 with a simple mission: to make take out and delivery better. Better meant higher quality ingredients, more creative options, eco-friendly packaging, order ahead technology and a digital ordering experience that mimics being at a food truck festival. GTK's unique hybrid model blends digital and analog hospitality while using best in class technology to enhance the customer experience. As the GK industry evolves, Andrew is continuously on the cutting edge with a newer hybrid model set to open in 2023 in Jersey City, NJ focused on takeout, delivery and group dining.

Ashwin Kamlani

Co-Founder/CEO of JUICER

Ashwin Kamlani is the Co-Founder and CEO of JUICER, bringing dynamic pricing to the restaurant industry. Armed with a technology background from Accenture and PwC and a Masters from the Cornell Hotel School, Ashwin built his career as an innovator and thought leader around e-commerce in the hotel industry for 20 years. He launched JUICER in October 2021 with other tech leaders from the hospitality and travel industries to help restaurants implement effortless dynamic pricing to increase revenue and profitability. JUICER is already working with enterprise restaurant groups and has a global footprint covering the US, Europe, and the Middle East.

Syed Sair Ali

Cofounder and CEO, Blink Co Technologies

Sair is the CEO of Blink Co Technologies which enable F&B brands, including QSR chains and multi-brand cloud kitchens, with direct online ordering capabilities to improve their profitability by reducing their dependency on aggregators. Blink Co Technologies has raised $4M to date to achieve this goal.

Prior to this, Sair built a VC-funded food-delivery aggregator where he got insights into the food delivery operations and growth. Realizing the lost opportunity for F&B brands to build and grow their direct online ordering channels.

Andrew Twells

Owner of AMT Client Catering Consultancy Ltd

Andy is from the UK and is a multi award winning Chef and Operations Director. He has been working in the catering industry for over 32 years. His career has taken him around the world and given him great insight and opportunities. From industrial bakeries and highstreets brand development, to high net worth Client dining for the richest people in Asia to first in class lounge service, wellness solutions for education and business, large volume events and banqueting, logistic and centralised production solutions. Andy’s diverse experience in operational and project management gives him a creative mindset in the art of the possible for any business.

Robert Emerson

Author and Co-founder O2O Gourmet

Robert is an analyst, investor and author in the food industry. During the course of a 40-year career he advised PepsiCo on its acquisitions of both Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. Furthermore he was the largest investor in restaurant companies including Landry’s Seafood, Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon, Morton’s of Chicago and Chart House.

Pete Cook

Founder and president On-Trend Concepts

As Founder and President of OnTrend Concepts, Pete and his business partners organize the leading in-person events in the ghost kitchen industry, including the North American-focused Ghost Kitchen Conference and they have recently launched the International Ghost Kitchen Conference. Pete is also the Publisher of the weekly news aggregator the Ghost Kitchen Digest.

Brandon Kua


Brandon is a passionate foodservice, laundry and waste management consultant with over 11 years’ experience in creating aesthetic and functional spaces with an innovative edge. He has a creative mindset and enjoys exploring new trends and technology in kitchen decor and design. He is excited about the use of ghost kitchens in nurturing nurture new startups and providing support for multi-site operators. He believes that ghost kitchens are a disruptive trend that will shape the future of the restaurant business, and is excited to engage in a discussion surrounding how ghost kitchens’ flexibility can help startups and multi-site restaurants thrive.

Mark Dempsey

Consulting Director GlobalData Plc

Mark brings over 20 years of experience in the foodservice, retail and FMCG sectors to GlobalData. Mark joined the GlobalData team in 2017 following five years living in Canada where he was an insights leader for PepsiCo and strategy consulting leader for the NPD group. In his role at GlobalData, Mark brings bold thought-leadership to global partners across the manufacturer, retailer and distributor segments.

Kristian Tazbazian

Co-Founder / COO of GASTronomous

GASTronomous is passionate about creating the “kitchen of the future” using automation, artificial intelligence, along with integrated software and hardware solutions. They are passionate about creating unique systems, which address the inefficiencies associated of cooking processes, supply chain management, and waste disposal. Through his previous work with start-ups, Kristian has direct experience in implementing innovative technologies throughout various industries.

Shawn P. Walchef

Chief Visionary Officer of Cali BBQ Media

Shawn is the founder of Cali BBQ Media, podcast host, and business coach. Since opening Cali BBQ in 2008, his family-run restaurant and media company in San Diego has generated more than $30 million in sales. As a restaurateur Shawn learned to use digital tools and big ideas to stay in business. During the Pandemic, the Cali BBQ Media team developed a scalable plan that is three times more profitable than the traditional full-service restaurant model.

Daniel Gantenberg

Managing Director at Enchilada Franchise GmbH

Daniel has been Managing Director at Enchilada Franchise GmbH since January 2020 and is responsible for the Operations and Concept Management departments. At the same time, Daniel Gantenberg has been Managing Director of GastroExperts, a management consultancy for restaurateurs, since 2016. Prior to that, Daniel himself was a partner and managing director of businesses in the Enchilada Group. Daniel studied Information Management at the University of Koblenz-Landau.

Melina Michna

Co-Founder and CEO nourisha.de

On a mission to make the German food system more convenient, healthy and sustainable, Melina co-founded nourisha, a healthy meal delivery service centered around indulgence, health prevention and longevity. The healthy meal-delivery company made good-for-you, ready-to-eat meals accessible nationwide while offering nutritional guidance to its customers and followers.

Melina studied business administration at DHBW Ravensburg and Columbia University and has a background in the lifestyle und luxury goods industry.

Simele Shange

Co-Founder Jozi Cloud Kitchens

Simele Shange is the Co-Founder and CEO of Jozi Cloud Kitchens, South Africa's biggest ghost kitchen provider. The start-up currently has 2 locations in the heart of Johannesburg and is home to 16 kitchens, taking up over 1000 square meters of retail space, leased out to food entrepreneurs. Simele is also the founder of Jozi Feast, a multi restaurant ordering app that allows consumers to order from any or all their brands, located in their kitchens, currently there are over 20 brands on the Jozi Feast app.

Khalipha Zulu

Co-Founder Jozi Cloud Kitchens

Khalipha has been an investment specialist for over 11 years and holds an MBA from Cambridge. I am an experienced financial professional and I have used this to help build the biggest ghost kitchen facility in South Africa.

Nigel Bell

Executive Chairman and CEO Adande Refrigeration Ltd

After graduating from Birmingham University as an Engineer, Nigel spent 30 years with Shell Chemicals and affiliates in commercial and general management roles running businesses in different parts of the world. Many of these businesses had high technical and intellectual property content. In 2006 began Nigel Chairing and investing in small growth businesses.

He joined Adande in 2008 and worked with the team to drive revenue growth. Nigel is involved in many aspects of the Adande businesses and is leading in strategic areas, including marketing, licensing and new technology commercialisation. Adande is known for its world leading sustainable refrigerated drawers and, more recently, for the newer, breakthrough technology, Aircell, for open display cabinets.

Peter Backman

Food Service & Delivery Consultant

Peter is an expert on the structure and dynamics of the foodservice sector, and its supply chain, in the UK, across Europe, and in other major international regions and countries including the USA and India. He has made a speciality of his involvement in restaurant delivery, dark kitchens and virtual brands. He enlightens senior executives and other people who make significant decisions in the foodservice sector including investors, operators and suppliers to the sector.

Peter is the author of “Restaurants also sell food” – published in London, Toronto and Chicago. He is also a founder and past Chairman of Arena, the UK pan-industry networking organisation that he was instrumental in setting up twenty-five years ago. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality.

Matthias Schneider

Co-Founder & CEO CloudEatery

Matthias Schneider is a gastro-entrepreneur and passionate gourmet. In the last 20 years he has developed several of his own food brands and advised leading food companies on innovation and digitalization. Matthias has extensive experience in business development, innovation and change management, sales and marketing, and corporate finance, due to his experience as a hospitality specialist for PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Arthur Andersen. He is a founder of several start-ups, mostly in the food and nutrition industry. He is also a speaker at various industry events. Most of all, Matthias is passionate communicator with enthusiastic sales skills and a confident supporter for sustainability and a respectful working culture.

Joseph Schumaker

FCSI, Founder and CEO FoodSpace

After graduating with honors from the California Culinary Academy, San Francisco, Joe co-founded Cosmopolitan Catering in Sunnyvale, CA. Joe left Cosmo in 2015 and started FoodSpace where he and his team consult as experts in kitchen design, foodservice management, food business growth strategy and mentorship.

Troy Hooper

Founder & CEO Kiwi Restaurant Partners

With over 25 years of hospitality management in luxury and casual dining, Troy brings a breadth of knowledge and diverse experience. He has built new concepts, redesigned and rebranded existing restaurants and hotels, and improved upon well-established venues throughout the U.S.

Carl Orsbourn

Best Selling Author/VP Operations, Kitchen United

Carl is a global retail executive who has worked on disruption from within (BP-owned ampm) and from without (GV-backed startup Kitchen United). At ampm, Carl was responsible for repositioning. At Kitchen United, he established the operating model and led customer success by working closely with restaurant partners.

Meredith Sandland

Board Member, Author, Speaker & Advisor

Meredith has spent a decade navigating changing consumer demands and real estate environments for restaurants. As Chief Development Officer at Taco Bell, Meredith reignited unit growth after the 2008-2009 recession. Over the last three years, Meredith has met with every major restaurant company, food-tech company, real estate company, and VC investor who is exploring the online food revolution.

Massimo Noja De Marco

CEO at Piestro - Founder at Kitchen United - BOD at Miso Robotics

Because of his constant pursuit for innovation in the food industry, Massimo made the Top Ten in the 2020 NRN Power List of Restaurant Leaders. After launching Kitchen United in 2017, he drove all aspects of design innovations of KU Kitchen Centers. As KU “Idea Man” Massimo's goal became to design and deliver a perfect workspace for virtual restaurants. With a keen eye for innovation and technology Massimo sits among others on the board of Miso Robotics.


Founder & Senior Franchise Consultant

With over 30 years of experience in Franchising and Foodservice, Thierry has worked at top level positions for some of the largest restaurant franchise networks such as Subway, McDonald's, Burger King, as well as more recently for Spanish restaurant group Avanza Foods as GM for their Dark Kitchen & Virtual Brands division. Thierry is also a "Franchise Expert" and founded QSR Consultant® in 2012 to offer his broad experience to franchisors of all sizes.

Marc Choy

President at Ghost Kitchen Brands

A senior, well rounded development/franchising executive with over 20 years’ international experience. Marc wants to work with brands that are growing and passionate about the impact they have on people’s lives. As a franchise brand executive, he has comprehensive experience in franchising (identifying, qualifying, closing candidates), developing target market strategies, recognizing business opportunities, operations, relationship building, and the understanding of what it takes to lead a team to drive brand growth.

Randy Murphy

OrderB4 - Founder & CEO

Randy has been in technology, multi-unit/brand restaurant operation and delivery logistics for nearly 30 years, and founded the company that developed OrderB4 in mid-2019. OrderB4 is a white-labeled SaaS platform that enables ghost kitchens, virtual restaurant brands and multi-brand operators an all-in-one operations solution. OrderB4 enables Direct to Consumer (D2C) lead generation, multi-brand online ordering, marketplace order integration, order management & internal logistics including KDS, delivery routing, financial payment routing, consumer loyalty, feedback, recovery and remarketing.

Uwe Lucas

Managing and Planning Director Hakuhodo International Germany

Uwe looks back on almost 30 years of experience as a brand and marketing strategist for global blue chip brands. Eight years ago he joined Japanese agency network Hakuhodo and heads its German and European strategy teams. He believes that the agency’s philosophy of sei-katsu-sha – of looking at the whole person rather than just her role as consumer – can help discover new business opportunities in every market. In his speech, he demonstrates how to apply the approach to branding in the ghost kitchen and delivery market.

Charlie Farr

Global Head of Delivery Kitchen and 'Dark Store' Divisions at PKL

Charlie has a broad background of working in real estate and building fast-growing start-up businesses. Since the very start, Charlie has been in the ghost-kitchen space, leading the 'Roobox' concept at Deliveroo, which later became known as 'Deliveroo Editions'. Charlie heads up the Delivery Kitchen and Dark Store division at PKL, helping fast-moving delivery apps and operators open up and scale worldwide.

Francesco Cassera

International Operations Specialist at Kuiri

Francesco is co-founder of Kuiri cloud kitchen and started in January 2021 with the first location, and as of now, they have two cloud kitchens in the city centre of Milan with 5 and 8 kitchens each, with more than 15 active brands. Cassera is part of the business development, international operation and intelligence officer at Kuri.

Find out more.

All about Ghost Kitchens: Finding the ideal set-up.

Ghost kitchens were already a strong trend before Covid-19 turned the world upside down. A Trend Talk webinar from Rational debates their place in the foodservice offering of the future.

Ghost kitchen. Fast & flexible. Like your business.

Once you know the rules. You leave the game as the winner. They are shooting up like mushrooms and they are the new stars in the gastronomy sky, known for innovation and flexibility. Ghost Kitchen, Dark Kitchen, Cloud Kitchen.

Inside a Ghost kitchen: “Trends change very quickly”

Food delivery means eating what you want, wherever and whenever you want it. It’s a huge market already, and these days, it’s practically exploding. One fairly cool new resulting development: ghost kitchens.

Dark kitchen – gastronomic revolutionaries

Abandoned parking lots in the shadows of tall bridges, romantic industrial settings, skylines… is this really where the gastronomic revolution is going to happen? Here, among the shipping containers that blend harmoniously into the desolate landscape? Of course!

Ghostly growth: the rise of dark kitchens

The growth of dark or ghost kitchens has accelerated in this challenging year as the delivery-only concept has provided foodservice operators with a different way to trade during the pandemic.

About us.


RATIONAL is the world market and technology leader in the field of hot food preparation for professional kitchens. With their knowledge and experience in the ghost kitchen sector, they support you to create additional business and customer experiences with innovative concepts and solutions.

Our partners.


KTCHNrebel is an international online magazine for professional chefs that want to make a difference. It’s all about ideas, innovations, and trends happening in our loud, messy, fabulous kitchen lives. We profile role models, discuss current issues, and look to the future.

Progressive Content

Progressive Content is a full-service content marketing agency and content technology provider, specialising in B2B. We help clients transform their communications and build stronger relationships with customers and members through intelligent content that makes complex ideas engaging and practically addresses audience challenges.