The Catering Equipment Suppliers Association (CESA) has announced its plans to strengthen its long standing partnership with Hotelympia 2016, which is expected to unveil its largest-ever catering equipment line-up, including almost 20 international exhibitors.
With 100 dedicated catering equipment suppliers already signed up, CESA is also welcoming the advent of a new Meet the Buyer programme, held in partnership with Hotelympia, which will enable visitors and exhibitors to take advantage of bespoke equipment sourcing and try before they buy.
CESA director Keith Warren said: "As the largest hospitality exhibition in the UK calendar, CESA and its membership is proud to support and continue our successful and established association with Hotelympia, which helps to fund many of CESA's activities throughout the year.
The new programme, curated by CESA, will see buyers' requirements matched to the exhibitor whose equipment best meets their needs. They will then be able to speak directly and confidentially to manufacturers on everything from technical specifications to energy-saving benefits. Crucially, they will also be able to compare and contrast kit.
Toby Wand, managing director of Hotelympia organiser Fresh Montgomery, said: "We're delighted that yet again CESA will be playing an integral role in Hotelympia. The 2016 event will see the largest collection of catering equipment ever witnessed under one roof, with the most innovative suppliers showcasing the very latest technology."
CESA has also reported that its members are feeling exceptionally positive about market prospects. Uncertainty over Europe and the skills shortage are the two major concerns, but, 65% of catering equipment companies believe the UK economy will improve in the next three months, while a massive 80% say they believe their own company will perform better.
The latest CESA Business Barometer makes positive reading for anyone involved in the catering equipment industry. 80% of respondents said turnover was up compared with the same period last year, with 75% reporting UK orders were up and 50% saying exports had increased. Over 90% said that staff numbers, capital investment and investment in R&D had either gone up or stayed the same as the equivalent period in 2014.
The Barometer is based on a series of business questions CESA asked its members during May and June this year. Respondents included manufacturers, importers, distributors and service companies.
Respondents were also positive about longer term business prospects. 50% were cautiously optimistic while 45% were confident that business would increase over the next 12 months.
CESA members said that good digital connectivity is helping their business grow, followed by the availability of skilled employees, with improved road and rail networks coming a close third.
Hotelympia 2016 takes place on 29 February - 3 March 2016 at ExCeL London.