The 2016 CESA Heavy Equipment Forum held at Whittlebury Hall in Northamptonshire earlier this month has reported a mini-boom in business, post-Brexit.
The forum was an opportunity for distributors and catering equipment specifiers to talk to 15 leading equipment manufacturers and get hands-on experience of many new products. Clare Mansfield of Global FSE was a first-time delegate, "It was really informative, especially with all the new products," she said.
As for Brexit, after initial fears, UK manufacturers are seeing some positives. "A chance to win the hearts and minds of UK distributors and customers," was Lincat's Chris Jones's opinion, while according to Richard Brown of Glen Dimplex: "Made in Britain is going to be massive".
Overseas suppliers and manufacturers were equally positive about post-Brexit Britain. "There's been no downside," according to Justin Adams of Hoshizaki Gram. And while many overseas and UK manufacturers' prices are going up, Rational announced several of its gas appliances were coming down in price.
Other trending topics included the continued pressure on kitchen space, as operators go for smaller venues and try to pack in more customers, and the need for multifunctional equipment that's easy to operate.
At the gala dinner held in the evening of the forum Fatboys Catering Equipment scooped Distributor of the Year, voted for by suppliers at the forum. Brian Honeyford, purchasing manager of Brakes Catering Equipment, accepted the Sales Initiative of the Year award for the company's new demonstration kitchen in Covent Garden, and the Heavy Equipment Sales Award, which recognises a person or team who has developed business and sales through meeting customer needs, was won by Direct Kitchen Equipment, represented by Summit Mediratta.
Suppliers at the forum were BGL Rieber, EuroCave, Glen Dimplex Professional Appliances, Hoshizaki Gram, Grande Cuisine, Lincat, Mobile UK, Precision Refrigeration, Rational, RH Hall, Robot-Coupe, Synergy Grill, Victor Manufacturing and Williams