On 19 January 2023, the first Stakeholders Workshop of RESTwithEU Pilot Project successfully took place in Lyon, France. As the aim of the event was to evaluate the results of the first phase of the project and the SWOT analysis of the restaurant sector, that is, the strengths, the weaknesses, the opportunities, and the threats, experts from across Europe came to this French city to discuss the new advancements and breakthroughs of the industry.
The Barrabés.biz team, one of the leading Spanish innovation consultancies specialised in the digital transformation of SMEs and partner of RESTwithEU, hosted the meeting and presented the results of the first work package: ‘Mapping of Existing Tools and Gap Analysis’. In addition, Matthias Kuom, expert in digitalising industries and currently working at DG CNECT in the Artificial Intelligence & Digital Industry – Digital Transformation of Industrial Ecosystems unit, oversees RESTwithEU Pilot Project and came to the event to listen and exchange ideas.
A diverse range of stakeholders from the main organisations, associations, chambers of commerce, Hubs, institutes, universities, and research centres related to the restaurant sector and digitalisation attended the event to share their expertise, thus enriching the RESTwithEU study.
From Edenred, the world leader in transactional solutions for companies, employees and businesses, to Digital Innovation Hubs such as Confcommercio. Representatives from HOTREC, the umbrella Association of Hotels, Restaurants, Pubs and Cafes in Europe, the European Federation of Food Science and Technology (EFFoST), the Restaurants Association of Ireland, the Sustainable Restaurant Association or Fundación Alicia attended the workshop.
Experts also came from Hospitality.digital, the Mastercard Economics Institute, the Austrian Research Centre for Feed and Food Quality, Safety and Innovation (FFoQSI), the Basque Culinary Center, Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies and from the Union of Hellenic Chambers of Commerce, Network of Insular Chambers of the EU.
Thanks to all attendees, the event has been a success, the results have been validated and, above all, synergies and future challenges to be taken into account have been built.
Testing the sector at a casual social dinner
The night before the Stakeholders Workshop, the experts attended a social dinner to get to know each other and exchange sector concerns. In a relaxed and fluid manner, the stakeholder got to know each other’s role and became interested in the RESTwithEU study to be validated.
The experts also had the opportunity to visit Lyon, the European city of gastronomy, stroll through its historic streets, eat in typical restaurants called ‘bouchons’ and also visit SIRHA Lyon 2023, The World Hospitality & Food Service Event, which returned from 19 to 23 January at Eurexpo Lyon for its 40th anniversary on the occasion of the 21st edition. Some of the stakeholders enjoyed this international gastronomic event thanks to the VIP ticket provided by RESTwithEU.
Digitalisation as a solution to the challenge of the restaurant industry
The following day, as it could not be otherwise, the event took place in a typical restaurant of the region, ‘Les Lyonnais’, where the experts were able to enjoy the local gastronomy in a typical ‘bouchon’.
The day began at 9 a.m. with an introduction of the project and a presentation about the main results of the first phase of RESTwithEU Pilot Project by Alejandro Fernández de Mera y Rico, Head of Public Sector, and Javier Anatole Pallás Gozálvez, Innovation Consultant at Barrabés.biz.
First of all, the project was introduced and focused on the macroeconomic fundamentals and key drivers related to the socio-economic context and the digital status. Secondly, the results of the GAP analysis were shown, taking into account all qualitative analysis, identification of experts, an online survey or personal interviews, among others.
Alejandro Fernández then organised a group dynamic in which the various stakeholders were able to participate and share their opinions on the SWOT analysis. In this way, the experts jointly validated both strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats, thus enriching the study. Stakeholders also discussed the latest news, advancements, and breakthroughs in the restaurant sector, promoting the identification of key emerging challenges and opportunities in research, development, and industry applications.
The general feeling of the group was the importance of such meetings to listen to each other, share opinions, and learn how other European countries and associations are dealing with the daily challenges of the restaurant industry and its digital transformation.
Digitalisation as part of the solution in this changing world can help transform the business model and it is a must to focus not only on transparency and sustainable practices, but also in the workforce.
RESTwithEU greatly appreciates the presence of stakeholders to face new challenges and listen to their expertise in the field.
Let’s move towards digital solutions!