VP F&B Strategy & Development Europe, Middle East & America



Emma Banks Vice President, F&B Strategy & Development Europe, Middle East, and Africa at Hilton joined us for an episode of  SMACK’ podcast at the recent Future Hospitality Summit in Abu Dhabi, hosted by The Bench, to tell us her story.

Fritz and Emma discussed the gourmet plate of all hospitality topics: F&D. Wait, F&D? Yes Food & Drinks as Emma rightfully calls it.

And let’s be honest: has anyone ever used the word “beverage” in a normal context?  

Emma and Fritz talked about the most important meal of the day: breakfast, and its impact on customer satisfaction. Emma’s love and hate relationship for buffets, and how to generate an ethical and fiscal win for owners and customers by reducing food waste with the help of AI.  


Emma let us in on her and her team’s efforts in fulfilling the Hilton ESG Travel with Purpose agenda,  how the company is trying to move to a net zero future, and what measures they have been working on to become more sustainable in the UAE.  

She explained that food waste makes an incredible third of global carbon emissions, which makes it the third biggest polluter worldwide – and we couldn’t agree more with her and the team, that The future of hospitality is sustainability, not only in terms of food waste and plastic reduction, but also in terms of sourcing locally and responsibly.

Which will reduce emissions, strengthen local communities and deliver the so desired local flavors and experiences to guests.  Not forget about the importance sustainability plays in recruiting. The young talent is very much engaged in this topic. Young people want to work for companies that have transparent, fact-based accountability around sustainability. 

Emma states that she is seeing a change in people’s newly gained appreciation for travel, taste tourism, and eating out, which also translates to the jobs in F&B being valued more in the general opinion.  

Her love for hospitality clearly showed as she talked about her own career path, including what went wrong with the original plan of becoming a criminal pathologist, and the possibilities that the industry offers for those in love with F&D.

As Emma said: If you want a career full of color, hospitality is for you!

Enjoy the show!