Global Restaurant Investment Forum

24-25 May 2022 | Riyadh Airport Marriott Hotel

24-25 May 2022 | Riyadh Airport Marriott Hotel

Speaker Profile

Christian Abell

Vice President Food & Beverage MEA, Marriott International

Chris is leading our F&B team that is responsible for strategy development and execution across the food and beverage space; including outlet concepting, beverage, culinary, and driving R&B revenue.

A graduate of the Curinne School of Culinary Arts in Perth Australia, Chris was accredited as a Master Chef in London and was recognized as a member of the World Master Chef Society due to his culinary talents and food styling techniques.

Chris has worked in the hospitality industry for 30 years, the majority of that being with Marriott. He joined the MEA team in July 2017 from our Marriott Corporate HQ team in Bethesda Maryland where he was the Vice President of Experience Design as a member of our Insight, Strategy & Innovation team, having been certified as an Experience Designer by Pine and Gilmore. The Marriott ISI team leads change within our industry by developing disruptive thinking across brands, disciplines and continents, & Chris’s role within that team focused on Food & Beverage and concept design. Chris’s previous roles with Marriott include: Senior Director of Project Development and Concept Design for Asia Pacific, Regional Director of Operations Asia Pacific, Director of Food & Beverage, JW Marriott Hong Kong and Executive Chef JW Marriott Hong Kong. In his early career as a chef, he trained under Michelin accredited restaurants across Europe. Christian has been recognized for his culinary talents as Marriott International’s Chef of the Year during his tenure at the JW Marriott Hong Kong.

During his time at Marriott HQ, Christian had the incredible opportunity to participate and play an active role across a number of significant brand development and positioning projects including:

• AC Hotels Design Strategy – Christian was a key member of the AC Hotels Design Strategy team that worked to evolve the design strategy for the brand; developing key design pillars and guest experience proof points and ensuring their pull through in order to support growth and owner interest in the AC Hotels brand.

• Wanderlust Renaissance Design Strategy Initiative –an initiative where Christian worked with a small, cross-disciplinary team to author a design strategy focused on delivering more original, discovery-driven design and set of guest experience outcomes to further differentiate the Renaissance Hotels brand.

• Marriott Hotels Brand Reinvention (Red Domino) – developed concepts, platforms and live in-market prototypes to inspire new thinking for the Marriott brand and company. This project developed broader thinking around space design, customers’ experiences, F&B strategy and profitable business models.

Chris’s broad career experiences, exposure to varied cultures and culinary experiences, and his innovation training and thinking are of tremendous benefit to our continent and team. He has relocated to Dubai along with his wife Jini and son Harnule.