The anticipated 12,000 visitors to the Hospitality show this month will have more to digest than a smörgåsbord of new products from the 300-plus exhibitors - they can also feed their brains with a packed programme of business seminars. Angela Frewin looks at what is on offer
Visitors to Hospitality 2011 will be given a priceless opportunity in this age of austerity to empower themselves at no cost - courtesy of an expanded programme of free business seminars from some of the most successful players in the hospitality and catering world.
In addition to the four business seminars that will be held on each of the three days of the show, the organisers have added two new features for 2011 - a separate programme of 12 seminars at the Hostec technology event and a rare chance for visitors to put their questions to a select line-up of business mentors in private, face-to-face sessions.
"The presenters are all people who have thrived and survived the recession and have solid business expertise," says Stirling Johnstone, editor of the hotel design-focused GSMagazine and seminar consultant to the show.
Matt Jackson, co-founder of the C2 group, which operates Lancaster Brewery and has transformed four run-down properties into award-winning pubs and hotels.
"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," Jackson says. "Now is the time to capitalise while you can. Opportunities are all around and need to be taken. Well-run pubs do not lose money. There is no such thing as a bad pub - just bad management."
Also sharing their secrets in this session will be celebrity chef Silvena Rowe of the Baltic Restaurant Group and Ed Turner, commercial director at the Geronimo Inns gastropub group.
Alongside austerity, climate change remains a key issue. Independent hoteliers can learn how to save money while boosting their green credentials from a list of affordable technologies compiled by Dr Rebecca Hawkins of CESHI (the Centre for Environmental Studies in the Hospitality Industry).
"Times are tough and we are all looking for ways to cut costs and not corners," says Hawkins. "This presentation will showcase 20 (micro) technologies that cost under £20 that will at least pay for themselves and in all likelihood save your business money in the next 12 months."
There is plenty more to attract visiting hoteliers. Alex Polizzi, a member of the Forte hotel clan, will draw on her experience as proprietor of Devon's Hotel Endsleigh - and presenter of four series of Channel 5's The Hotel Inspector - to examine what makes a good hotel; while Trevor Gulliver, co-owner of Clerkenwell's St John restaurant, describes the creation of the new St John boutique hotel.
Design is the inspiration for several seminars, with ZMMA showing how small design tweaks can boost turnover, while designers Jestico+Whiles and Fox Linton Associates highlight their most recent projects - London's new W Hotel and Ascot's Coworth Park, respectively - to demonstrate some of the tricks of the trade.
More general topics that will benefit operators from across the hospitality spectrum include free legal advice, a discussion on effective public relations and social media marketing, an examination of free performance-boosting tools, and a look at the future of the industry by Ufi Ibrahim, the new chief executive of the British Hospitality Association.
Hospitality 201124-26 January
BUSINESS SEMINAR PROGRAMME
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- 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- 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
HOSTEC TECHNOLOGY SEMINARS
â- 24 January
11.00 British Association of Hospitality Accountants (BAHA) - case studies
12.00 Innovative employee engagement - Mary Jane Brook, LearnPurple
13.00 Virtual Menus -London restaurant and bar Inamo on self-service ordering
14.00 Home from home - Quadriga on in-room technology and entertainment
â- 25 January
12.00 BAHA - case studies
13.00 A cappuccino and a loyalty card - Allegra Strategies
14.00 Mobile makes the world go round - Wrapid and Moving Food
15.00 2012 and Technology
â- 26 January
11.00 In-room technology - Swisscom case study from Glasgow's citizenM hotel
12.00 Making comparisons - MyVoucherCodes on the savvy customer
13.00 Integrated hotel systems -Springer Miller case study
14.00 BAHA - case studies
Hospitality 2011 is also offering more intimate encounters with industry high-achievers who can apply their experience and expertise to visitors' specific business challenges.
A roster of business mentors will engage in a panel discussion at 1pm each day in the Networking Lounge, where appointed staff in the audience can take bookings for one-to-one, 10-minute sessions with the visitor's chosen mentor afterwards.
"It is quite rare that successful business people are willing to give free advice and time at that kind of an event," says seminar consultant Stirling Johnstone. "The one-to-one meetings could be very, very useful to budding entrepreneurs and to anyone with business issues they want to discuss."
MONDAY'S mentors offer a cornucopia of choice for chefs. Michelin-star-chasers can pick the brains of Andreas Antona of Simpsons restaurant in Birmingham or Daniel Galmiche, executive head chef at Newbury's Vineyard at Stockcross.
Chefs and event caterers can also score some tips from former Northern Chef of the Year John Benson-Smith, who has created a successful catering, dining and event programme for Manchester City Football Club in his five years there as consultant executive chef.
On TUESDAY, Matt Jackson, managing director of the award-winning Lancaster Brewery, will advise pub operators how to counter the impact of the recession, while hotel expertise will come from Northern Hospitality's 2010 General Manager of the Year Michael Magrane, general manager at Manchester's iconic Midland hotel and Qhotels' regional general manager and project manager.
WEDNESDAY'S visitors can pick up some design and architectural tips from Steve Labourchardiere, the co-founder of designLSM (whose clients include Galvin La Chapelle and Bill Wyman's Sticky Fingers).
Restaurateurs will be able to quiz 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 Liverpool's Food Tourism champion, an NVQ assessor and an AAA examiner, Askew can also advise on local food sourcing and training.
As more business mentors are likely to come on board, it is worth checking the daily programme at the show.
Food and drink Everything from speciality ingredients to the leading food and drink brands to spice up your menus.
Equipment New and established catering equipment from the UK's top suppliers and distributors.
Interiors, exteriors and tableware The latest furniture, tableware, soft furnishings, design services, heating, and lighting ideas to revamp your decor.
Technology - a>Hostec@Hospitality</a IT solutions from payment technology and revenue management software to communications and in-room entertainment.
Careers at Hospitality Meet the top employers, learn about new job opportunities and get some free career advice.
10 STANDS TO CHECK OUT
CESA INNOVATION ZONE, Stand 562
This round-up of innovative and sustainable catering equipment from members of the association has already piqued the interest of the organising committee for the London Olympic Games, who will be checking out the green machines on view. A small booth set-up ensures a level playing field for smaller operators.
KOPPERT CRESS, Stand 1352
If you are looking for something you've not seen before, this Dutch supplier of flavoured cresses, micro-vegetables and edible flowers is unlikely to disappoint. Established novelties such as Venus Vases - drinking glasses made from mini pitcher plants - sit alongside newcomers such as Salty Fingers (a crunchy, salty plant from the coastal tropics) and Anise and Bean Blossom flowers.
STABLETABLE SCANDINAVIA Stand 810
Banishing the bane of wobbly tables (and spilled drinks), StableTable packs patented technology into the pillar of the table base that automatically adjusts to uneven surfaces both inside and outdoors. The light, stainless-steel bases in a range of sizes, heights and colours can be fitted with any table top, including existing ones.
EQUIP LINE Stand 550
The unique Anti-Griddle is a cooktop that freezes rather than heats. It allows chefs to whip up some front-of-house theatre converting sauces, purées, creams and vinaigrettes into solid or semi-frozen treats with a creamy centre and crunchy exterior. It's ideal for imaginative chilled canapé, starter, dessert and petits fours creations.
FRIMA UK, Stand 550
If you are tight on budgets and space, Frima will show how you can pack the equivalent of a bratt, kettle, tilting pans, fryer, griddle and pressure cooker into a footprint below one square metre with its multi-skilled . Additional savings include 50% faster cooking times and 40% lower energy use.
EOWATER, Stand 1059
The importer of the Hoshizaki ROX water electrolyser is putting visitors' "clean" kitchen items to a microbe test before and after rinsing in ROX acid water to demonstrate its potent pathogen-slaying properties. Its alkaline water can also replace detergents and degreasers, making the ROX a chemical-free solution to cleaning hands, food and floors that can save up to £25,000 a year.
BGL RIEBER, Stand 576f
K-Pot is a new energy-saving, multi-purpose evolution of the chafing dish that eliminates the need for hot food serveries. Designed to work with Rieber's Thermoplate pans, the mobile unit will regenerate, cook, hot or cold hold or griddle using precise and even Ceran heating in place of smelly gel heaters.
HAND PAINTED BY CARMEL, Stand 730
These hand-painted cotton tablecloths from textile designer Carmel Stoch come in choice of plain colours, patterns or bespoke designs that can include company logos. Although a special coating makes the cloths wipe-clean, they have a matt, material touch rather than a shiny, plastic finish.
ADANDE, Stand 576l
Adande's multi-award-winning Chef Base refrigeration drawers can now be sited in the heart of the cook line, thanks to a 200kg load-bearing heat shield topping that will support all types of cooking equipment. The versatile drawers, which can be switched between refrigeration and freezer mode, prevent cold air falling out when opened, slashing energy use by up to 60%.
RATIONAL UK, Stand 870
The versatile combi-steamer was the techno-whizz of the last century yet few chefs have explored its full potential. If you've ever wondered if you can use a SelfCooking Center to cook chips or tandoori-style dishes, you can find out in the Rational Q&A Zone, which will also advise on claiming interest-free purchase loans from the Carbon Trust.