lunch! announces big name keynote speakers for comeback show

The organisers of lunch!, the definitive event for the café, coffee shop and food to go sector, have revealed the first batch of industry leaders joining the Keynote speaker line-up at the show, which is taking place live 23-24 September at ExCeL London.

Taking place throughout the two days over three stages, lunch!’s Keynote speaker programme is free to attend for all trade visitors and offers remarkable access to some of the biggest names and operators in the industry.

The organisers have confirmed exclusive interviews with first-time lunch! speakers Alasdair Murdoch, CEO of Burger King; Spencer Craig, CEO & co-founder of Pure; and Neil Lake, MD of Costa Coffee.

The show is welcoming back Marta Pogroszewska, MD of GAIL’s Bakery, who recently described the show as “inspiring, impactful, ingenious…I’ve attended lunch! for years and it just gets better and more unmissable every time.”

Following Julian Metcalfe’s appearance in 2018, lunch! is excited to welcome itsu’s newly appointed UK CEO,Ganan Kanagathurai, whowill be exclusively revealing the story behind the company’s digital transformation and reimagining of the ‘store of the future’.

The organisers have also announced the return of Greggs CEO Roger Whiteside, an icon of the industry who, since he last graced the lunch! stage, has been awarded an OBE for his services to women and equality. Roger described the show as “the one place our entire sector comes together – you need to be there to see what they are up to.”

lunch!’s Event Director, Chris Brazier, said “We have always prided ourselves on offering trade visitors a free, world-class speaker programme alongside hundreds of innovative new products. We’re especially excited to be returning with such an incredible line-up. Though the last year has been challenging, it’s also prompted a huge amount of innovation and this year’s Keynote programme echoes that eagerness to regroup, reconnect and inspire each other. We’d like to say a special thank you to all the industry leaders and exhibitors for their support.”

Other speakers announced this week include Hannah Munns, head of Market Street strategy, innovation and concept development at Morrisons; Richard Franks, MD of Chilango; Neil Sebba, MD of Tossed; Amy James, category manager of Greggs; Russell Simpson, operations director of LEON; as well as Ole & Steen’s MD Lee Nixon and marketing director Katie Lister.

The line-up also features input from industry associations including Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, and two sessions with Jim Winship, director of The British Sandwich & Food to Go Association, who is the main show partner on lunch!.

This year also sees the return of the hugely popular Coffee Shop Keynotes Theatre to an even bigger stage, reflecting the continued importance of this vibrant sector. After a successful launch in 2019, this dedicated Keynote programme will feature talks and panels from industry innovators and experts, including sessions with The Coffee Queen herself, Anya Marco; Neil Lake, MD of Costa Coffee; The Gentlemen Baristas; and Hannah Mackay, Head of Food & Beverages at Caffè Nero. A regular visitor, Hannah expressed her delight at the introduction of the Coffee Shop Keynotes Theatre at the last event: “I love coming to lunch! and it is great to see that coffee shops are being showcased more than ever, it’s a good place to seek out new innovation!”

The organisers have also confirmed several industry experts and commentators that will be sharing insights at the show, including Simon Stenning, founder of; Gavin Rothwell, director of Food Futures Insights; and Peter Backman, industry analyst and commentator. 

As Sainsbury’s Buyer Rosie Bambaji commented, “the show always attracts the best brands and industry experts, which is a testament to how good it is.”

lunch! 2021 takes place on 23-24 September at ExCeL London and is co-located with Commercial Kitchen and Casual Dining. Registration is free and strictly for members of the trade only.

More big-name speakers from across the café, coffee shop and food to go sector will be announced in the coming months.

For more information and to register for your free trade pass, please visit and use priority code VLU1 (alternately, use direct link: