According to catering equipment manufacturers and distributors, there’s been a mini boom in business, post-Brexit. After an initial pause, as the market came to terms with the referendum, business has been buoyant with a healthy number of schemes in the pipeline.
“The leisure industry is holding up well,” was the consensus at the 2016 CESA Heavy Equipment Forum, held at Whittlebury Hall, Northamptonshire, on October 4th. The Forum is the chance for distributors and catering equipment specifiers to talk to fifteen leading equipment manufacturers and get hands-on experience of many new products. Clare Mansfield of Global FSE was a first-time delegate, “It’s been 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’ opinion. 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.
Brexit was just one of many talking points. Other Forum trending topics included:
Footprint: the pressure on kitchen space continues, as operators go for smaller venues and try to pack in more customers. Several manufacturers showed slimline products.
Flexibility: operators want multifunctional equipment that’s easy to operate, produces great results and won’t stand idle, taking up valuable kitchen space.
Front of house: fridges in different colours, stylish cooking appliances, designer coldrooms: theatre-style kitchens that put equipment right in front of the customer continue to be big business.
Customisation: as operator demands and requirements become ever more specific, manufacturers are developing products with built-in adaptability, which can be tailored to suit the site and operation.
Cocktails: there’s been a steady increase in demand for products in this area, especially ice – bigger machines, producing more ice. Often the ice of choice is nugget.
Energy Labelling and Eco -design: customer interest in energy saving is growing, albeit slowly. Refrigeration suppliers reported that there had been lots of discussion of the new regulations which resulted in a Minimum Energy Performance Standard for professional cabinets following the introduction of Energy Labelling and the Ecodesign Directive in July.
Heavy Equipment Forum Awards
At the gala dinner held in the evening of October 4th three major awards were announced. Fatboys Catering Equipment scooped Distributor of the Year, which is voted for by suppliers at the Forum. David Pyne, Fatboys’ national sales manager, was on hand to accept the award. Brian Honeyford, purchasing manager of Brakes Catering Equipment, accepted the Sales Initiative of the Year, for the company’s new demonstration kitchen in Covent Garden. 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.
Presenting the winners with their champagne, trophy and prizes, CESA director Keith Warren said: “These awards recognise and reward professionalism in heavy equipment distribution. Tonight’s winners exemplify the high standards that the industry has set itself.”
Lauren Hunter of Brakes: “There’s such a wide range of products here, it’s really interesting – it’s been a great day.”
Reece Jones of Aggora Group: “It’s great to see equipment you’ve not seen before. The day is definitely worth it, 100%. It will help me a lot.”
Jon Walker, BGL Rieber: “It’s been really good, the two-way participation is great and we’ve had excellent feedback.”
Ben Austin, EuroCave: “Excellent – we’ll definitely do it again.”
Michael Connell, Mobile UK: “This is our first time at Forum, we were very pleased when we saw the delegate lists. We’ve had a very good reaction.”
Kandie Harrison, Precision: “Organisation is very smooth. We’re seeing some customers we don’t know, which is great, and some we do, which lets us remind them of the products they may have forgotten about!”
Paul Easterbrook, Robot-Coupe: “It’s our first time and it has exceeded our expectations, it’s been brilliant. We’ve had some frank and interesting conversations that will definitely benefit us.”
Nick Garner, Williams: “It’s been very, very good today.”
The Catering Equipment Suppliers Association (CESA) is the authoritative voice of the catering equipment industry, representing over 180 companies who supply, service and maintain all types of commercial catering equipment – from utensils to full kitchen schemes. For more information on CESA visit www.cesa.org.uk