Global Restaurant Investment Forum

11-13 February 2020 | NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky

11-13 February 2020 | NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky

GRIF Content Library


F&B’s role in the current retail-landscape

Published 09 January 2019

Etienne van Unen, Partner, Director Retail, Head EMEA Retail, Colliers International gives us a preview of what he will be discussing at GRIF 2019.

The GRIF Team had a chance to collect Etienne van Unen’s feedback who is a part of Colliers International, a top tier global real estate services and investment management company operating in 69 countries with a workforce of more than 13,000 professionals, regarding how brands such as Colliers International benefit from their participation at GRIF.

GRIF: What are the key trends transforming the current restaurant investment landscape and how?

ETIENNE: A key trend transforming the restaurant investment landscape stems from the fact that F&B has become a large part of the current retail-landscape. This development is growing by the day, opening up the F&B market to new concepts and possibilities. Also, locations and buildings which were once destined for retail now desperately seek to be filled with cafés, restaurants and bars to draw people to such shopping areas. Hence, the investment possibilities have become more diverse.

GRIF: How is the future of the restaurant industry in Europe going to be different from what it is today?

ETIENNE: The above-mentioned trend is not only relevant in the Netherlands; other countries are also experiencing this development. In London for instance, the percentage of F&B vs. Retail is already more balanced out than it is in our county. Also, one of the more specific trends in the F&B market is the success and growth of fast and casual concepts. These are often food chains that expand over borders, fading out the borders between European countries.

GRIF: Tell us a little bit about what you look forward to discussing at GRIF 2019?

ETIENNE: I would like to address how food and beverage concepts are taking over the retail-scene in a fast manner. However, the retail that remains within the shops and streets benefits from this development due to the enhanced appeal to come, stay and “hang-out” in these areas. Society is craving experience and people need to be engaged and intrigued by their surroundings. Therefore, it should not be seen as a threat but rather as an enrichment of the shopping streets.

GRIF: How do you benefit from being a part of GRIF?

ETIENNE: At Colliers we want to offer not only our services, but also our knowledge and expert eye within the market when approaching and working with our customers. This means that as Colliers delegates we make an active effort to stay informed about the latest developments and the diverse views. Having a young and specialized F&B department makes GRIF a definite event for us to not only attend, but to be involved in.

GRIF: What are you looking forward to the most at this year’s event?

ETIENNE: Sharing experiences and knowledge with influential people in the F&B market. This is not only one of the key developments in our current society, but this is also one of the main mechanisms to keep ourselves informed and sharp.

The GRIF 2019 programme features learning-intensive workshops to help you master franchise negotiation skills and restaurant marketing. Delegates get to experience innovative restaurant concepts of Amsterdam at our delectable culinary tour. The insight-packed panel sessions at GRIF dive into the evolution of experience, sustainability, competitive socialising and new investor trends.


Etienne is a specialist in translating the commercial point of departure into development projects with practical and feasible solutions. Leasing and relocation during complex (re)developments is one of his main specialties. Etienne is a true relationship manager: By listening to others he forms the base for good relationships as well as understanding about the clients and their demands. His ambition is to satisfy everyone and to make 1+1 equal 4.

After building the Retail Agency department within Colliers International Netherlands, Etienne is now moving forward to build a new service line of Food & Beverage. Nowadays, F&B is the fastest growing branch in the real estate sector. Etienne’s goal is to combine his knowledge in the hospitality sector with his expertise in real estate. Together with his role as Co-Head of EMEA, the combination is ideal to roll out this project across Europe.