As well as more than 300 exhibitors and a busy programme of seminars and competitions, Hospitality 2011 is giving visitors the opportunity to get close to some of the most capable business brains in the industry.
Alongside hundreds of exhibitors at Hospitality 2011 and a series of business seminars from industry heavyweights, the show will also provide an opportunity to pick the brains of hospitality's high achievers. Visitors will have the chance to talk directly to business mentors in one-on-one sessions designed to address specific business issues.
Each day a group of mentors will engage in a panel discussion from 1pm, followed by private 10-minute sessions with delegates.
"The one-to-one meetings could be very useful to budding entrepreneurs and to anyone with business issues they want to discuss," explains seminar consultant Stirling Johnstone.
The advice on offer will be wide ranging, with chefs, pub operators, hotel and restaurant management and designers all available to offer advice.
One of those primed to be quizzed is Northern Hospitality's 2010 general manager of the Year, Michael Magrane, who runs the Midland Hotel in Manchester and is also regional general manager for QHotels. He expects that some delegates will be keen to discuss the challenges posed by the current economic climate, while others may look for advice on career progression.
"Most people will revert back to how to keep business afloat," Magrane predicts. "I guess we will be talking about the challenges people might have in their business. Other than that I'm lucky to have got to where I am at a relatively young age so I'd be happy to talk about my career progression. Whatever they want to ask, I'm here to answer."
Having grown the Midland Hotel through a period of financial uncertainty, Magrane will have plenty of straightforward business advice to impart. A theme he returns to is making sure to look after core customers. "Focus on them and make sure they're always being excited," he says. "The main thing is to profile your customer. Make sure you know them and deliver great service as soon as they walk through the door."
Having himself spent time with an business coach, Magrane know the benefit that honest feedback can bring. "It makes you stop and think about the way in which you act, manage and look at business," he explains. "Sometimes having someone away from your business helps cast a different light. You can be focused on one way of doing things and this can make you stop and look at other ways of doing things."
Magrane is not the only mentor to have first-hand experience of the benefits that a dispassionate and challenging new perspective can bring. Noel Hunwick, director and co-founder of inamo, also considers a detached opinion to be constructive.
"I've taken some inspiration from what you might call an adopted godmother who has charted a similarly unusual career path," he explains. "But I also learn a lot from my colleagues and attend business coaching sessions."
"We created the technology and there will be an iteration of it in Holland this year with a company called Iskaya," Hunwick adds. "So we now have Inamo and Inamo st James as well as a development arm."
Hunwick will be able to offer visitors his expertise in building up a business from scratch and he's aware that a warts-and-all description of their progression will help others learn from their mistakes.
"I expect to be talking about the mistakes we've made as well as what we've done right," he says. "We've only recently employed a finance director, so I'll be emphasising the importance of having someone monitoring wage budgets and locking down stock control. You really need that level of precise control on outgoings."
He is also keen to explain how his role has changed and been more focused as the business has grown. "It has been interesting in terms of rejigging our roles. When we opened I was doing most of the HR side of things and payroll, but now I just check it. It has been about the gradual reallocation of our roles and what to delegate to who."
Once again, Hunwick recognises that outside help and uncluttered feedback is key to getting a business moving. Having received regular mentoring himself, he is well placed to offer advice to other businesses in an impartial and constructive way.
"From the sessions I find a lot of stuff I might be aware of but haven't actioned," Hunwick explains. "If you bounce ideas off an intelligent person with a dispassionate point of view it's massively helpful. I'd recommend it.
"One of the things I've really learnt from the mentoring is that every once in a while you need to pull back and take a look at the work that has being done, the people you have, the processes and systems and the values and culture of the organisation."
Hospitality 2011 will provide the opportunity to do just that.
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BUSINESS SEMINAR PROGRAMME
â- Monday 24 January
11.00 Get some free legal advice - Harvey Ingram, LLP solicitors
12.00 How to create a good hotel - Alex Polizzi, Hotel Endsleigh
14.00 Building and developing a new hotel - Trevor Gulliver, St John hotel
15.00 The future of our industry - Ufi Ibrahim, British Hospitality Association
â- Tuesday 25 January
11.00 20/20 Sustainability - Dr Rebecca Hawkins, Centre for Environmental Studies in the Hospitality Industry
12.00 Creating classic hotels and restaurants - John Whiles and James Dilley, Jestico+Whiles
14.00 The A-Z of good PR - Maureen Mills (Network London) and Sarah Turner (Sleeping Lion)
15.00 Tricks of the design trade - Rupert Martineau, Fox Lincoln Associates
â- Wednesday 26 January
11.00 Better business - Free tools to improve performance
12.00 Creating the perfect bar, restaurant or café - Robbie Bargh, Gorgeous Group
14.00 Success stories -Silvena Rowe (Baltic Restaurant Group), Shamil Thakrar (Dishoom) and Ed Turner (Geronimo Inns)
15.00 Small Change, Big Difference - Adam Zombory-Moldovan, architect and designer ZMMA
Each day of Hospitality 2011 business mentors will be engaging in a panel discussion at 1pm in the Networking Lounge, after which it is possible to book one-to-one sessions with them.
MONDAY 24 January
Andreas Antona, chef-patron, Simpsons
Daniel Galmiche, executive head chef, the Vineyard at Stockcross
John Benson-Smith, consultant executive chef, Manchester City Football Club
TUESDAY 25 January
Matt Jackson, MD, Lancaster Brewery
Michael Magrane, general manager, Midland hotel Manchester
WEDNESDAY 26 January
Steve Labourchardiere, co-founder of designLSM
Paul Askew, chef-director and co-owner of Liverpool's London Carriage Works restaurant and food and beverage director of the adjoining Hope Street hotel.
As more business mentors are likely to come on board, it is worth checking the daily programme at the show.
Serving up a measure of pub expertise
Matt Jackson, who set up the C2 brewing and retailing group will be offering business guidance for operators looking to follow in his footsteps.
He will be taking part in a live panel discussion on the challenges facing publicans and how they can counter difficult trading conditions, after which he will be available for one-on-one sessions.
"It is a great opportunity for me to be able to share my knowledge and experience of the pub industry with people who may be thinking about getting involved," Jackson says. "It is a challenging time because of the economic downturn but I still believe there are opportunities out there for people who want to make a go of it.
"Now is the time to capitalise while you can. Opportunities are all around. Well-run pubs do not lose money. There is no such thing as a bad pub - just bad management."
C2 operates Lancaster Brewery and four award-winning hotels and pubs and has become known for taking on run-down outlets and transforming them by developing their offering.
SALON CULINAIRE AND BOCUSE D'OR
Following last year's record-breaking Salon Culinaire chef showcase at Hotelympia, organiser Fresh RM has lined up some exciting new additions for this year's show.
For starters, the national chef teams for England, Scotland and Wales will be battling it out for gold, silver and bronze medals at La Parade des Chefs, the 100-seat fine-dining restaurant at the show, as each team cooks a three-course meal for guests and their visitors on a separate day of the show.
And visitors to the show will also be able to cheer on Simon Hulstone, chef-proprietor of the Michelin-starred Elephant bar and restaurant in Torquay, Devon, as he competes for Britain against 23 top chefs from around the world in the finals of the biennial Bocuse d'Or culinary competition in Lyon.
On Wednesday, 26 January, live action and interviews from Lyon will be streamed on to big screens (sponsored by the Compass Group and CESA) above the La Parade des Chefs restaurant.
"There is a huge amount of interest in the Bocuse d'Or because it is such a prestigious event, particularly this year with Simon Hulstone competing," said Fresh RM group event director Toby Wand.
Hospitality's own programme of chef competitions has grown to nearly 60 events across the three days of the show and includes 12 new classes for the Live Theatre and Salon Display (both sponsored by Compass).
New classes in the Live Theatre series of masterclasses and challenges include the Elior Apprentice Skills Challenge, the Lexington Food Service Challenge and the Vegan Dish Challenge, sponsored by the Vegan Society.
Also new are the Schwartz Chef Flavour Pairing Challenge and the Sodexo Chef of the Year, while the perennial problem of dwindling fish stocks is acknowledged in the Sustainable Fish Dish, sponsored by M&J Seafood, and the Alaska Seafood Challenge.
"Competitions help competitors to raise their game, offer healthy rivalry, cultivate friendships and set benchmarks," commented Salon director Peter Griffiths MBE, who promised the largest Salon Culinaire at Hospitality to date.
LA PARADE DES CHEFS MENUS
English national culinary team menu - 24 January
â- Fillet of Atlantic halibut, royale of langoustine, celeriac, spiced apple gel, sauce Nantua
â- Thyme-roasted Exmoor venison, braised bonbon of venison, wood smoked parsnip, confit of Savoy cabbage, buttered fondant potato
â- Maple cream, sticky toffee pudding, salted caramel crunch
Scottish national culinary team menu - 25 January
â- "Combination of Scottish Salmon and Langoustine', salmon royal fillet, pressed delice of Scottish salmon and langoustine, langoustine tempura, warm tomato and apple relish, dill oil, citrus dressing
â- Roast fillet and braised cheek of Scottish pork, "haggis, neeps and tatties", parsnip purée, sweet and sour red cabbage, glazed carrots, whisky jus
â- Rhubarb and custard mousse, Bramley apple ice-cream, clementine compote, ginger snap curl
Welsh national culinary team menu - 26 January
â- Roulade of lemon sole and scallop, salmon fillet with crabmeat, vegetable and golden raisin salsa, samphire cress, parsley and crème fraiche dressing
â- Breast and confit leg of Madgetts Farm duckling, butter braised potato, vegetables "Á la grecque", butternut squash and orange purée, duck sauce with truffle
â- 33% Belgian milk chocolate mocha mousse, raspberry, chocolate, pistachio and coffee layer cake, warm raspberry and sauternes jelly
As suppliers and manufacturers converge upon Birmingham NEC to showcase their latest products at next week's Hospitality 2011 show, over the coming pages we ask three visitors what they think the next five years will hold for the hospitality industry?
Tracey Rogers, managing director of Unilever Foodsolutions, predicts reform in health and nutrition
There's no getting away from the fact that the out-of-home market is going to get tougher for operators in 2011 - people are tightening their belts and spending less. While discounting has definitely helped some operators pull in the punters during 2010, it has still taken its toll on profitability.
Consumers have come to expect deals and offers thanks to the growth of online marketing and discount websites, and many now make choices based on what offers are available, particularly when it comes to impromptu eating.
Health has always been on the national agenda. Talking about diets and food has become something of a national obsession. There is no doubt that health and nutrition will be a major topic of discussion this year.
This is a problem that the Government is not going to allow to continue unchecked, not least because the cost to the National Health Service of obesity-related diseases is expected to rise to £6.3b in 2015.
While many operators believe the retail should be protected from legislation and that eating out is an occasion when people treat themselves, in fact over one billion meals are eaten out at work and lunchtimes.
The Food Standards Agency ran a front-of-house calorie labelling exercise with a group of selected operators at the end of 2009. It proved challenging for many of the operators, particularly standardising meals made on site.
Since then the coalition Government has introduced the Public Health Responsibility Deal, which is a partnership between Government and business that balances proportionate regulation with corporate responsibility to address public health problems. While the Government is talking about "nudging" the public into a healthier lifestyle, there will be implications for the food service industry such as providing calories on menus.
But the issue is not just calculating nutritional values. Chefs and caterers will need to find ways to offer customers a more informed choice by offering healthier menu items and learning new, healthier ways of food preparation.
Of course, there will still be a requirement for top-end, indulgent dining, but if consumers want to eat more healthily at work or when they eat out in their own time, and that choice isn't apparent, they will eat where they can source the information they need.
Bruce Cuthbert, group and international sales director at Sky Business, believes the future will be all about the experience
I remember staying at hotels as a boy and thinking: wow you don't get this at home - en suite bathrooms, colour televisions, tea-making facilities and even the ubiquitous Corby trouser press. Welcoming staff, being treated almost as a grown-up and the eagerly anticipated full English breakfast the following morning all added to the sense of occasion.
Roll the clock forward quite some number of years and it is still people who will make the greatest impact - good or bad - on your stay. Bricks and mortar, location, restaurant, bar and other facilities all make a difference, too.
Over this same period our expectations have changed a great deal. Never before have we enjoyed such quality and variety of food both in terms of raw ingredients or in the form of pre-packaged meals from our local supermarket.
In the entertainment department the jump has been even more seismic. The Internet arrived and in most cases we have moved from dial-up to super-fast broadband.
On the programming front things changed rapidly, Sky television arrived and with it customer choice. We now have over 300 channels, many in HD and one even in 3D.
For me, 3D is the next revolution in television and provides that unique, priceless match day experience. The sport I have seen in 3D has been extraordinary and as more sport is covered, the more I enjoy the action.
I anticipate an investment in technology will have a positive knock-on effect for hotels by boosting revenue through food and beverage sales - encouraging guests to stay in the hotel bar whilst also attracting local residents.
Television offers so much for so many people and the advancement in technology which hotels are embracing will make a significant impact in the hotel experience.
Roger Kellow, government account manager at Hobart UK, says that environmental concerns will be even higher up the business agenda, and that equipment will have to be efficient in size as well as energy
Energy saving and sustainability are key issues now and that will continue to be the case in the coming years. Like other manufacturers, we take our environmental responsibilities seriously and are committed to designing and building quality equipment that helps save our limited global resources.
Another key change that will increasingly impact on catering business is the pressure on the back-of-house area from growing commercial demands on operators, who need space for more tables in the restaurant.
This means equipment will need to be really efficient in terms of the room it occupies, as kitchen space will be increasingly costly. A range is ideal in small kitchens, providing a high-quality cooking platform in a small space, and so more chefs are opting for this style.
As a result, over the past three years we have become more innovative and cleverer with our warewashers, which can now cope with increased production - on average 15% more capacity - ensuring kitchens run much more efficiently.
Another key trend impacting on business now and in the next five years is consumer expectations for quality food served faster than ever before. The pace of life in the 21st century is more hectic, and people expect much, much more (and generally want to pay less for it). This is once again a challenge that needs to be tackled by manufacturers when developing new equipment, to ensure it can cope with a high-speed environment.
Ultimately, with less money available to cover kitchen staffing costs, the catering business will remain a very competitive market in the years ahead. Equipment will need to help operators pick up the slack, doing more and giving greater versatility in terms of usage and maintenance.
This is something we are aware of at Hobart, and have taken steps to address through initiatives such as our fast self-cleaning combi oven that also features a descaling programme. We consider this very much the shape of things to come in the catering world.
HOW TO GET THERE
Hospitality 201124-26 January
Travelling by car
The NEC is situated eight miles East of Birmingham city centre; its central location ensures it is at the hub of the UK motorway network. Visitors from any direction can travel to the NEC site directly using the following motorways - M1, M5, M6, M6 Toll, M40 and M42.
If you are using a satellite navigation system, please enter the postcode B40 1NT.
Travelling by train The NEC is situated adjacent to Birmingham International Rail Station, so you can reach the show without stepping outside.
Depending on your origin station you can travel directly by train to the NEC by alighting at Birmingham International. If your point of origin does not provide a service directly to Birmingham International you will need to travel to Birmingham New Street first and get a connecting train from there.
For further information contact National Rail enquiries:
Tel 0845 748 4950www.nationalrail.co.uk
Tickets for the event cost £34 (including a £2 discretionary fee donated to Hospitality Action) and can be booked online at www.hospitalityshow.co.uk
COME AND SEE CATERER AND HOTELKEEPER
Alongside the seminar programme and suppliers at Hospitality 2011, members of the Caterer and Hotelkeeper team will be present to give visitors a flavour of how a busy weekly magazine is created.
On stand 636 we'll be putting together a live issue of the magazine, with all that's hot from the show alongside the usual news, features and comment. Visitors will be able to see the production process in action, with journalists working on stories and the design and production team bringing them to life.
With screens all around the stand there will be live feeds of progress, along with tweets from the show and comments on TableTalk, while guests will also be invited to comment live.
Make sure you pay us a visit. We'll be happy to answer your questions and give you a flavour of life on your first call for industry info.