Big name catering equipment buyers, specifiers, distributors, and consultants from across the UK were out in force at the NEC Birmingham last week on 7-8 June – checking out the latest new products and services on offer at Commercial Kitchen.
The UK’s first trade show designed to accommodate all of the many vertical sectors served by the commercial kitchen industry, Commercial Kitchen delivered on its promise to be the dedicated event that the dynamic catering equipment market had been waiting for.
Offering its visitors the opportunity to meet up with existing and potential suppliers, to network, discover new products, enjoy expert Keynotes and panel discussions, and keep up with changing market trends, the first edition of Commercial Kitchen attracted 1,723 attendees and has been hailed as a significant and overwhelming success by its organiser, Diversified Communications UK.
More importantly, feedback from across the show floor has been full of praise for the launch and the high quality of visitors in attendance; with over one in three visitors citing a corporate spend of over £500k (10% reported over £5million).
“It’s an amazing show and I’m sure it’s going to get bigger and bigger as the years go on. The quality of the equipment here is phenomenal,” says celebrity chef and restauranteur Theo Randall.
“As someone who wants the best equipment for our teams and customers, Commercial Kitchen was a good and very relevant show. I look forward to attending again and watching this important event grow over the coming years,” says Dirk Wissmann, senior equipment buyer at Pret A Manger.
“Great show, I really enjoyed it. It is always important to keep up-to-date with industry improvements and innovations. Commercial Kitchen was a compact and focused show, and I was able to network with some new and innovative suppliers for the future roll out of our restaurants,” says Jon Parry, construction manager at YO! Sushi.
“I enjoyed seeing what the Commercial Kitchen show had to offer, and meeting with various supply partners and potential new ones – it’s been a long time coming, a show that focuses on the kitchen or back of house, and it was a great opportunity to focus on many differing aspects of the ‘engine room’ of our various food businesses,” says Chez Gawen, technical manager at Pizza Hut, Yum Restaurants International.
Adam Mason, director general of CEDA, the show’s major association partner was also full of praise for the show’s launch edition “Commercial Kitchen proved to be a very rewarding partnership for CEDA in terms of business leads for our Members and Partners. We took enquiries from the end-user market in the UK and also for several international ventures targeting the UK and overseas. The CEDA Design Gallery, featuring the overall winners from our 2016 Grand Prix Awards, was a real hit with many of the visitors. CEDA was proud to be directly involved in the well-received seminars and we are already looking forward to building on our great relationship with the show’s organisers to support the development of an even stronger event in 2017.”
The show’s aisles were buzzing with a ‘who’s who’ of the sector, including many of the UK’s biggest foodservice, hospitality and leisure businesses. Among them were Pizza Hut, Pizza Express, Azzurri Group, TGI Friday’s, wagamama, YO! Sushi, JD Wetherspoon, Admiral Taverns, Fuller’s, Marston’s, Geronimo Inns, Bill’s Restaurants, Hilton, Premier Inn, Travelodge, Bourne Leisure (Haven, Butlins and Warner Leisure Hotels), Searcys, Pret A Manger, Parkwood Leisure, Redcomb Pubs, Hall & Woodhouse, Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, Wahaca, Stonegate Pub Company, Luxury Family Hotels, Costa Coffee, and SSP Group.
Leading contract caterers were also there in force from Compass, Sodexo, WSH (BaxterStorey, Caterlink and Holroyd Howe), and Gather & Gather – plus key buyers from supermarkets (Waitrose, Tesco, and Sainsbury’s), universities, schools, hospitals, care homes, local authorities, and quality independent operators.
Visiting distributors included C&C Catering Equipment, Alliance, Gratte Brothers Catering Equipment, Brakes Catering Equipment, Bidvest Foodservice, Airedale Group, ScoMac Catering Equipment, Modo-CKD, Tailor Made CES, Direct Kitchen Equipment, Certa Catering Equipment Supply, BETTAquip, and YCE Catering Equipment.
“What makes Commercial Kitchen so unique is that it brings together operators from all types of kitchens, allowing everyone to learn from each other and to see the full spectrum of products available for all commercial kitchens, whatever their size or need,” says group event director Chris Brazier. “From our speakers and exhibitors to the visitors themselves – the who’s who of the commercial kitchen industry were at the show doing business.
“Big thanks really must go to all our exhibitors and partners who have supported the launch of Commercial Kitchen right from the start. We knew that expectations were going to be high – particularly because there’s been nothing quite like it before. But the way it has been so positively received has been truly amazing.
We now have an exceptional foundation from which to grow and develop over the coming years,” he says.
Looking ahead to 2017, over 50% of the show’s 80 exhibiting companies have already rebooked (many have already requested to increase the size of their stands). In addition, there has been significant interest from a raft of new companies ensuring that exhibition space will be expanded for next year.
Big name seminars
The inaugural seminar line-up included celebrity chef Theo Randall, Chris Knights (group executive chef at Young’s and Geronimo Pubs), Paul Dickinson (head of food at Fuller’s Managed Inns), Simon Lee (head of F&B at Staycity Serviced Apartments), Dirk Wissmann (senior equipment manager at Pret A Manger), Peter Woods (exec head chef at The Corinthia London), Myles Bremner (ex-director at School Food Plan and CEO of Bremner Consulting), Dominic Burbridge (associate director at The Carbon Trust), Philip Shelley (national chair of the Hospital Caterers Association), Radford Chancellor FCSI (director of Radford Chancellor), and Andrew Seymour and Clare Nicholls (the editors of Foodservice Equipment Journal and Catering Insight respectively).
Innovation Challenge Awards 2016
Designed to promote and celebrate the best new equipment and technology innovations over the last twelve months, the Innovation Challenge Live saw nine finalists (as voted for by visitors to the show on opening day) pitch their ideas to a panel of industry judges on Wednesday 8 June. The panel included Peter Farrell, sales director at C&C Catering Equipment; Philip Shelley, national chairman of The Hospital Caterers Association; and Andrew Seymour, editorial director of Foodservice Equipment Journal.
The Commercial Kitchen Innovation Challenge Award results:
- The FRIMA 112L (FRIMA UK)
- Gram Superior Plus Refrigeration (Hoshizaki Gram)
- Merrychef eikon e2s (Manitowoc Foodservice)
- Synergy Grill (Synergy Grill)
“FRIMA UK are very pleased to have received the Innovation Challenge Gold Award. It’s great recognition for all the hard work that the team have done and reflects our market leading position as specialists in multifunctional cooking. We had a great couple of days at Commercial Kitchen and met with many quality customers,” says Graham Kille, MD of FRIMA UK.
“The atmosphere and networking during the two days at Commercial Kitchen was of the highest order and the show enticed many from both near and far within the UK. We found it extremely pro-active, professional and allowed us to reach out to people that otherwise may not have attended, if it wasn’t for the dedicated focus the show portrayed. Being recognised as a Gold Award winner for an innovative product was a delight and on behalf of all of us at Hoshizaki Gram we will continue developing the very best products for our clients. In summary for this wonderful exhibition: see you next year, we will be there,” says Paul Anderson FIH, commercial director at Hoshizaki Gram.
“We’re delighted that the Merrychef eikon e2s has been awarded Gold in the Innovation Challenge. It is fantastic that Manitowoc Foodservice is being recognised in the industry, as leaders in cooking technology innovation. Commercial Kitchen was a great opportunity for Manitowoc Foodservice and has definitely been a success for the team. The show not only provided an excellent quality of visitors throughout both days but was perfect for giving them further insight into our products, as well as gaining further brand recognition within the industry,” Sarena Harwood, Manitowoc Foodservice.
“We are over the moon to have won a gold award at the first Innovation Challenge. It’s been hard getting a new product off the ground. The thing that always kept us going is that it’s a really great product that has wonderful benefits for its users. Winning this award is validation of all the team’s hard work. Commercial Kitchen was great. We showed the Synergy Grill to some big names, like Theo Randall and TGI Friday’s, which goes to show the calibre of buyers there. We’ve already booked for next year,” says Gary Evans, MD of Synergy Grill.
- Ascentia F1 Oven (Ascentia Foodservice Equipment)
- New Covent Garden Soup Server (R H Hall Foodservice Solutions)
- Waste Cooking Oil Tank (Bensons Products/Frontline International)
- Pro Auction Refit (Pro Auction)
- Microsave Cavity Protection System (Regale Microwave Ovens)
Further information about all participating Innovation Challenge entries is available on the show’s website.
Save the date for 2017
Commercial Kitchen returns to the NEC Birmingham on 6-7 June 2017.
For more information click here