‘Arena Futures’ launched to bring together young hospitality talent

By Berenice, Monday 3 February 2020

Arena has today announced the launch of ‘Arena Futures’, a new group bringing together young talent from across the hospitality sector. The committee, made up of individuals from across the contract catering, hotels, wholesale and supplier sectors, will regularly meet to discuss industry issues, whilst helping to shape Arena’s approach to attracting new people to its networking events.

Steve Norris, chairman of Arena, comments: “The main Arena events have been going for over 30 years and are well attended events with guest speakers including Tom Kerridge, celebrity chef; Roger Whiteside CEO of Greggs and Bill Toner, CEO of CH&CO.

“The idea of ‘Arena Futures’, appropriately named by the new committee, is to attract new people to Arena and to organise events which are accessible to younger people or people new to the industry; with trendy venues and speakers relevant to people’s careers.”

Led by chair Karis Thomas, who manages PR and events for Bestway Wholesale, the committee includes entrepreneurial young colleagues from Bidfood, Biotiful Dairy, ISS, Just Eat, Nestle, The Landmark Hotel and William Murray. They will meet quarterly to review and plan events and set out the strategy for Arena Futures. Whilst an age limit will not be imposed for attendees of the Arena Futures events, it is expected that hospitality employees of the millennial generation will be the key target audience.  

It’s proposed that the events calendar will include a Spring launch event targeted at helping people make connections, a summer event with key speakers to help people develop their transferable skills and a Christmas event geared to enhance individual’s growth for 2021 with trends updates and a review of the year. A fourth event will be part of the main Arena calendar, bringing together existing and new members in one location.

The first event will be held in March and tickets will be available to both office-based employees and operational teams, including anyone working within food and hospitality, be that for a contract caterer, wholesaler or supplier, a hotelier, chef, waitress or bar staff.

Lorraine Wood, director of Arena, adds: “Arena is all about networking and I know that sometimes it can be intimidating to walk into a room full of people you don’t know. The Arena Futures committee are tasked with introducing new people from across the industry to existing events and members, through organised networking activities and using their own connections to make introductions.”

The committee members include:

Bestway Wholesale - Karis Thomas (Chair)
Bidfood – David King and Emily Lowery
Biotiful Dairy – Richard Anthony
ISS - Adam Richards, Ellen Potts, Lewis Jansen, Natalie Tuckwood
Just Eat - Charlie Fortune
Nestle Professional - James Turner
The Landmark Hotel - Oliver Darrington
William Murray - Victoria Joseph