Chain buyers keep equipment brands busy at Birmingham show

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Exhibitors at this week’s Hospitality Show in Birmingham have reported good leads, increased footfall and high quality visitors during the event.

Refrigeration equipment manufacturer Hoshizaki UK’s national sales manager, Mike Simmons said: “We have seen a good mix of end users, distributors and trade accounts stopping by the stand.”Furthermore he reported a positive response to the firm’s new products, the AM-20CAE Tophat icemaker and the IM-240ANE Hydrocarbon icemaker.

Meanwhile, Bob Witherall, managing director of fryer manufacturer Valentine, said that the event was an important meeting point for the catering industry and that industry shows were bouncing back in general.

“There was a lot of interest that could generate future sales,” he said. However he added: “I am disappointed that some major companies have only taken small stands here.”

Simon Merrick, UK director of cooking solutions at Peterborough-based Hobart, reported that the show has been very busy.

“We have a lot of local leads and as there was a CEDA meeting onsite, many distributors attended.”He estimated a 35% increase in enquiries compared to 2013’s event and considered that this is a sign the market is fairly strong. “There was a good mix of chain and independent end users and distributors, and we wanted to give some good brand coverage for our Bonnet range of horizontal cooking equipment, which was also used in the La Parade Kitchen des Chefs kitchen here.”

Northampton-based Atosa told of many dealer visits during the show, with Jaci Perks, national accounts manager commenting: “There were a lot of good enquiries and it has been nice to speak to the end users too.” The firm’s pizza preparation counters and upright freezers proved to be particular draws.

At RH Hall’s stand, Chris O’Neill, head of food solutions, said the firm uses the exhibition to showcase its new products. One focus this year was its prototype soup kettle which constantly agitates the soup to ensure a consistent temperature of 70°C. “We are talking to major high street retailers and opening new doors with this product,” he reported.

For distributor, Jestic Foodservice Equipment, the show was better than expected. “We have talked to some good national account customers and we have some possible leads on new products,” said sales director, Steve Morris.

The company used the event to highlight some specific products such as the new Zumex Soul, a compact juicer, Kolb’s Atoll Speed microwave oven, and the Sveba Dahlen pizza oven, which is used by all Pizza Express restaurants but is a new distribution line for Jestic.

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