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credit: ACROSS, Will Odwarka, Jonathan Doughty
credit: ACROSS, Will Odwarka, Jonathan Doughty

ACROSS Discuss: F&B Insights With Will & Johnny, Ep. 6 — “The classic food court is dead, long live the food court!”

According to the motto “from insiders for insiders,” we examine the top topics in the industry in exciting, entertaining discussion settings.

Two top industry professionals talk about the opportunities and challenges in retail gastronomy.

Will Odwarka and Jonathan Doughty are among the most experienced F&B experts in the retail gastronomy scene in Europe. In the sixth episode of the ACROSS Discuss series, they explore the current challenges that traditional food courts are facing, address the question whether there is a future for them, and, if so, what that future might look like.

As the nostalgic memories of greasy fast food and sticky trays fade away, the death of the old-fashioned food court looms over the culinary landscape. With the rise of trendy market halls, food halls, and multi-purpose restaurant experiences, traditional food courts are struggling to keep up with the ever-evolving dining scene.

Gone are the days of generic mall food options and stale atmosphere – now, consumers are seeking more authentic and diverse dining experiences. From artisanal food stalls to gourmet food trucks, entertainment options, and cooking shows,  the new competitors offer various culinary options that cater to every palate and dietary preference.

While some mourn the loss of the old-fashioned food court, others embrace the change as a sign of progress and innovation in the food industry. As the battle for diners’ attention heats up, only time will tell if the traditional food court can adapt and survive in this new era of dining experiences.

Join us for this exciting discussion!


Will Odwarka

Will Odwarka is the Founder and CEO of Dubai-based firm Heartatwork Hospitality Consulting since 2019, and a member of the ACROSS Advisory Board. He was born and raised in Vienna, Austria.  He has 30+ years of experience leading international strategic growth and development, Franchise and partner management, and F&B operations. He successfully opened over 1000+ outlets in over 40 countries for renowned global players such as McDonald’s, Starbucks, Burger King, Costa, and Wendy’s and smaller players like Creamscafe and Coffeeshopcompany. He strongly focuses on international market entry for F&B players, brand and investor scouting, and AI in hospitality in the Middle East and Europe.

Jonathan Doughty

As a highly experienced F&B professional, Jonathan Doughty has worked at all corporate levels, and has held both executive and non-executive board roles, as well as special advisory appointments and acted in training roles. He has extensive experience around the world in hospitality, property, food and beverage and commercial real estate. Having worked remotely, in situ and on demand in over 30 countries, he is recognised as a leading professional in both the foodservice and commercial property industry.