Global Restaurant Investment Forum

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Trending now: Experiential and competitive socialising

Published 13 December 2018

Ginger Flesher Sonnier, Founder & CEO of The Ginger Companies, shares insights ahead of GRIF 2019

As the restaurant industry's fundamentals are changing, growth drivers are becoming unpredictable and customer forecasts are increasingly inaccurate. The GRIF 2019 programme features topics designed to give you the critical insight you need to drive your business, to evolve, to invent, to disrupt through the current climate. At GRIF, we will discuss the future of F&B in retail, we'll unveil how 'eatertainment' is changing the landscape, then dive into the evolution of experience, sustainability, competitive socialising and new investor trends.

The GRIF Team had a chance to gather some interesting insights from Ginger Sonnier who runs The Ginger Companies including brands: Escape Room Live, Kick Axe Throwing, and THRōW Social which focus on large group events. Each brand includes spacious lounge and reception areas with the feel of boutique hotels to cater to corporate clientele.

Ginger is one of our exciting new speakers at GRIF 2019!

GRIF: What are the key trends transforming the current restaurant investment landscape and how?
GINGER: Experiential and competitive socialising are leading the transformation for restaurants. Brands that weave some form of experience into their fabric will be highly sought after.

GRIF: How is the future of the restaurants industry in Europe going to be different from what it is today?
GINGER: If Europe follows similar trends as the US, concepts will add immersion and interactive elements to dining that will transform the way people go out.

GRIF: Tell us a little bit about what you look forward to discussing at GRIF 2019?
GINGER: I look forward to discussing ways that the industry can incorporate various elements – theming, interactive displays or devices, activities, gaming or other forms of experiential entertainment – into their brand.

GRIF: How do you benefit from being a part of GRIF?
GINGER: I feel I will be able to make connections and form relationships that will help me expand my brands and expertise. I look forward to learning from others attending GRIF.


Ginger is responsible for opening the first escape rooms in both Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia in 2014, and the first urban axe throwing lodge in New York City in 2017. All of her venues are ranked number one on TripAdvisor and Yelp. Her latest concept, THRōW Social, combines unique ‘backyard-style' games with food & libations. It is slated to open in Washington, D.C. & New York City in 2019.

Ginger and her brands have been featured in CNN, Late Night with Seth Meyers, VICELAND, Fast Company, the New York Times, the New York Post, TIME Magazine, WTOP Money News, Reuters, the Washington Post, the Washington Business Journal, New York Magazine, and Washingtonian Magazine, among others.