Atlantic Club is heading to Washington DC in October – the jumping-off point for many an international brand wanting to make waves in the North American eating and drinking out market.

A group of US and UK restaurant and bar operators and investors will be on tour from October 22 to 24, visiting concepts, meeting fellow leaders and entrepreneurs and getting under the skin of the US capital’s vibrant and ever-changing food and drink scene.

Atlantic Club, run by UK industry veteran and CGA vice president Peter Martin, is an exclusive network for senior executives from the out-of-home food and drink market wanting to operate, or already trading, internationally - or simply interested in the global perspective.

Over the years the likes of Nando’s, Vapiano, La Tasca, YO! Sushi, Carluccio’s and most recently Leon have all landed from Europe in DC at the start of their explorations of the US market – and with various levels of commercial success.

Washington DC with its international flavour remains an important destination for global players, as well as US operators expanding out of their home states and regions.

Leon, the UK-based healthy fast-food brand will soon have three sites open in the DC metro area – and Stacey Kane, head of US marketing and customer magnetism for the brand, will be helping to host the Atlantic Club visit, assisting in guiding the contingent to discover the best that DC has to offer.

Stacey is a DC resident, who previously worked for Firenza Pizza and the ThinkFoodGroup, and is a prominent member of the National Restaurant Association’s marketing executive group, which will be hosting a seminar session on the US market and current trends on the morning of October 23. Leon will be providing the breakfast.

Terry Varner and Laura Fink of Herman-Stewart, which is a based just outside of DC, and has constructed many of Nando’s US sites, among others, will also be on hand to provide expert insight into the DC and US markets.

DC is the home of Five Guys and Sweetgreen, and both are on the itinerary, as is Jason Berry’s locally-based KNEAD Hospitality & Design, a multi-concept boutique restaurant operation. The trip will also take in many of the eclectic restaurants under the umbrella of high-profile chef Jose Andres’ ThinkFoodGroup, as well as involving out-of-town players like The Smith, the casual American Brasserie concept that is making the headlines, Fogo de Chao and Rosa Mexicano. And we’ll be checking out how Nando’s and Leon are doing. More destinations will be announced shortly.

The trip starts with a reception on the evening of October 22 and ends over beers at lunchtime on October 24, with a full day’s programme on October 23, including insight sessions from the National Restaurant Association, UK Hospitality, Wally Doolin of US market experts TDn2k and CGA’s US office chief Scott Elliott – as well as briefings on environmental issues, technology, design and people.

Keith Anderson, a Brit who heads up the US business of international design and branding consultancy Harrison, the founding partner of Atlantic Club, will contrast latest developments both sides of the Atlantic.

Said club founder Peter Martin: “We like to keep Atlantic Club events intimate and are expecting around 30 operators and investors from across the US and Europe to join us on this fact-finding trip. As well as seeing operations first-hand, talking to owners, both from corporates and start-ups, and gaining valuable market knowledge from expert advisors, the big benefit from our previous trips is the relationships and contacts that operators forge from meeting and spending time with their peers.”

The Washington trip follows on from Atlantic Club’s UK event in Manchester in September. If you are an operator or owner who would like to join the party, get in touch with the club’s business manager Sophie Spedding, via Sophie@petermartin-online.com .

  • Atlantic Club is an informal, invitation-only forum bringing together like-minded business leaders, brand-owners and entrepreneurs, restaurant and bar operators, from across the global food and drink spectrum. Its role is to help de-risk companies’ international strategies, by allowing senior executives to come together to gain new insights, exchange views and experiences, understand different market conditions and new working practices, to connect with and learn from both global and local experts, and develop contacts and partnerships in a confidential environment, while experiencing new places and ideas.
  • International design and branding consultancy Harrison, as one of the instigators of the Atlantic Club idea, has become Atlantic Club’s founding business partner and headline supporter, with US-based construction company Herman-Stewart and online people management specialist Harri becoming principal partners and supporters. CGA, the global data and research organisation, with offices in Manchester and Chicago, is the Club’s insight partner.
     

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