London was the capital of the casual dining world last week – as Casual Dining returned to showcase the best new products, solutions, insights, and innovations of the year.
The event enjoyed its fourth year of significant growth, raising the bar yet again to serve up 4,785 unique attendees, with over £736 million annual spending power, to its 200 exhibitors.
Demonstrating their growing appetite for casual dining, senior executives from all the UK’s biggest restaurant, pub and bar groups, plus thousands of independent operators, hotels, wholesalers, distributors, attractions, and contract caterers, packed the aisles to discover what’s new and next at this vibrant industry showcase.
Chris Brazier, Group Event Director of Casual Dining, calls the support of the show ‘phenomenal’, highlighting the dedication of the thousands of attendees who turned out over both days.
He said: “The fact that we’ve just enjoyed our best ever show – with record numbers of buyers and, more importantly, a record quality of buyers – who battled travel strikes and Storm Doris to attend – is testament to this wonderful industry of conscientious decision makers, who simply wouldn’t miss the two days a year that the casual dining sector gets together. Their support of the show, as always, has been phenomenal.”
It was this quality of attendees, the high level of engagement, and quantity of new business leads that impressed countless exhibitors. Prompting over 75% of them to rebook for next year before the show had even closed.
One of the show’s key draws was its exceptional show content. There were 18 Keynotes and panel sessions covering all the key developments and challenges affecting the industry – from market trends and Brexit to menu innovation, profitability and brand expansion.
Designed to promote and celebrate new ideas in the market place, the prestigious Innovation Challenge Awards, attracted over 40 entries this year. Fourteen finalists (chosen by popular visitor vote on opening day) took turns to impress the judges in the live pitching session.
Ascentia FSE’s F1 High Speed Oven, Double Dutch Drinks’s Pomegranate & Basil variant, and Karma Cola by Karma Cola Co were the winners of Gold awards this year.
Europastry’s Crystal Beer Sourdough Burger Bun, Morgenrot’s Ceriux Rubia, and Surgital’s Amichetti Laboratorio Kids took home Silver.
While Bronze awards went to 3S POS – Hospitality EPOS (3S POS Online Food Ordering System), Bar Foods (Moroccan Lamb One-Pot), Beacon Foods (Juice-it), Island Oasis (Island Oasis Frozen Beverage Solution), Joe Delucci’s Gelato (Joe Delucci’s Mulberry Gelato), Kafoodle (Kafoodle’s Labelling), McCain Foodservice (McCain Signatures Staycrisp Fries), and New York Bakery (Croll).
Casual Dining will return to the Business Design Centre, in Islington, London, on 21-22 February 2018.