Casual Dining, Commercial Kitchen and lunch! are coming together for the first time at Excel, London, with an extravaganza of exhibitors, speakers and panels for this year's combined show. Lisa Jenkins reports.
This year, Casual Dining, Commercial Kitchen and lunch! will run alongside one another, offering "a hospitality supershow" according to Chris Brazier, group event director for Diversified Communications, the organiser behind the shows.
He adds: "There's no denying it's been a tough year for everyone in the hospitality industry, so as the sector begins to reopen its doors, we're incredibly excited to be ready to welcome our visitors back in person in just four weeks for three fantastic shows, two unmissable days, one extraordinary event and countless opportunities for business and innovation."
Casual Dining line-up
Casual Dining, a pub, bar and restaurant show, returns with more than 200 exhibitors, including AAK Foodservice, Arla Pro, Coca-Cola European Partners, Diageo, Harri, McCain Foodservice Solutions, Molson Coors, and Tevalis. Included in the keynote speaker line-up, with seminars taking place across three keynote theatres, are Peter Borg-Neal, chief executive of Oakman Group, Nick Collins, who in only six years as chief executive of Loungers has overseen the group's expansion from 56 to 166 sites across the UK, and Zoe Bowley, managing director of PizzaExpress.
Borg-Neal says: "Casual Dining has very quickly become a must-visit event in the industry calendar. As well as learning about new innovations on the supply side, it's also a great networking opportunity and there are hugely informative debates and speaker sessions."
Other speakers include Paul Barham, founder and director of Red Engine, owner of brands Flight Club and Electric Shuffle; Rob Pitcher, chief executive of the Revolution Bars Group; Steve Wilkins, founder of Little Gems Country Dining, and Winston Matthews, commercial director of Thai casual-dining restaurant group Busaba.
The show is also supported by UKHospitality, whose chief executive, Kate Nicholls, will lead a session providing an overview of the government strategies needed to help the sector recover and grow.
Panel sessions include the new Pub & Bar Keynote Theatre, sponsored by Yumpingo; the Pub Leaders Panel, which will feature Simon Bunn, managing director at the Brewhouse and Kitchen; Joycelyn Neve, managing director of the Oakman Group; and Anthony Pender, co-founder of the Yummy Pub Co, whose discussion will cover business rates, staffing, wages, Brexit, rooms and surviving the pandemic.
Peter Bachman will be presenting a session on delivery and virtual brands, and attendees can also gain market insights from KAM Media, the NPD Group, CGA, Peach 20/20 and FutureFoodservice.
Commercial Kitchen's exhibitors
Commercial Kitchen, the annual event for kitchen innovations, which works closely with lead partner CEDA and partner FCSI, will have 100 exhibitors, including Adande, Meiko, Synergy Grill, True Refrigeration and Valentine.
This event covers everything required to run, refurbish or build a commercial kitchen, including cooking equipment, refrigeration, kitchen gadgets, storage, warewashing, waste management, ventilation, fit-out and design.
More than 50 leading chefs and industry experts will take to the Commercial Kitchen keynote stage. The line-up includes Sat Bains, chef-patron of two-Michelin-starred Restaurant Sat Bains; Cyrus Todiwala, chef-patron of Café Spice Namasté; chef and restaurateur Atul Kochhar of Vaasu and Kanishka; and Neil Rankin, the chef behind Temper Soho and Temper City. First-time speaker Todiwala describes the show as "the go-to event for professional chefs to discover innovation".
It's the go-to event for professional chefs to discover innovation
Executive chefs and chef-patrons from across hospitality, foodservice and the public sector will attend, including Stuart Ralston of Aizle and Noto Edinburgh; Pete Redman of Bartlett Mitchell; Robert Grist of D&D London; Stuart Duff of Hilton; Anthony Fletcher of the Ned; Ashley Clarke of Smokestak; Mark Reynolds of Tottenham Hotspur; and Thomas Rhodes of the Twickenham Experience.
Panel discussion topics will include public sector kitchens, featuring Andy Jones, Sue Cawthray and Craig Smith; sustainability, featuring Wahaca's Mark Selby and SRA managing director Juliane Caillouette-Noble; and mental health, chaired by Kris Hall, founder of the Burnt Chef Project, which challenges mental health stigma within the hospitality industry and has been announced as the show's charity partner for 2021. The panel features Burnt Chef advocates Sat Bains, Adam Simmonds, Stuart Ralston and Amy Elles, and will focus on alleviating stress through kitchen design.
Among the returning exhibitors are Unox UK, whose managing director Scott Duncan says: "Unox UK is delighted to have supported the Commercial Kitchen show since its launch and we're excited to be a part of the debut in London. It's fantastic to be able to get together with industry friends and colleagues again after so long and what better place to do it?"
Also returning to the show are Carpigiani, Jestic Foodservice Solutions, Meiko UK, Metcalfe Catering Equipment, Regale Microwave Ovens and Retigo. Jestic's sales director Steve Morris adds: "We see as many quality buyers on the first day of Commercial Kitchen as we have done in three days at other shows."
What's new at lunch!
Lunch! is the event for cafés, coffee shops and food to go, with more than 300 exhibitors, including Delice de France, Hippeas, Innocent, Rapid Action Packaging, Rombouts, Soho Sandwich Co and UCC Coffee.
The lunch! speaker programme will include Jay Morjaria, chief executive and executive chef at Dynasty Restaurants; Hannah McKay, head of food and beverages UK at Caffé Nero; and Guy Meakin, trading director at Pret A Manger.
Lunch!'s keynote speaker programme is free to attend for all trade visitors. A highlight will be Itsu's newly appointed UK chief executive, Ganan Kanagathurai, who will be exclusively revealing the story behind the company's digital transformation and reimagining of the "store of the future".
The line-up also features two sessions with Jim Winship, director of the British Sandwich & Food to Go Association, who is the main show partner on lunch!, and the return of the Coffee Shop Keynotes Theatre to a larger stage, reflecting the continued importance of this vibrant sector. Speakers include Edward Parkes and Henry Ayers, co-founders and directors of the Gentlemen Baristas, and Ben Crowley, head of food and beverage at Heathrow.
The year's show, now in its 14th year, also boasts a range of product launches and its biggest ever Start Up Zone. Itsu and Pret A Manger founder Julian Metcalfe says: "Lunch! gets better every year, it's the best show around and puts innovation right at the heart of our sector."
Among the many brands exclusively launching products at lunch! are Delice de France, Driver's Pickles, Luker Chocolate, Ruby's Food Products, Sigma Alimentos Europe, Waterbomb and Zess.
In addition, hundreds of brands are bringing new products to the show, including Barebells, Boka Food, Glebe Farm Foods, the Good Till Co, Plamil Foods, Rombouts Coffee, Soreen, Source of the Earth, Veg of Lund and Zumex.
Alongside the 300 exhibiting brands, visitors can vote for their favourite new food-to-go products in the Innovation Challenge Gallery, where products launched within the last 12 months will be showcased, with finalists taking part in on-stage pitches to a judging panel of industry buyers.
When and where
23-24 September 2021
10.00-17.00 (last entry at 16.00)
Excel London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, London E16 1XL