We’re now officially into ‘Hotelympia month’ (the show kicks off on 29 February) and for the best part of a week executives from across the hospitality spectrum will tread the boards of the ExCeL in East London in search of inspiration and ideas to boost their businesses.
A major aspect of this will, of course, involve foodservice equipment and, in that respect, show-goers are unlikely to leave disappointed.
The fact that the exhibition takes place every two years means it provides a useful barometer of how the market has changed and the sort of direction it is heading.
Trends can shift significantly in a 24-month period, although some of the issues that were pertinent two years ago remain just as valid now and are likely to do so for years to come.
Back in 2014, I recall energy efficiency and running costs featuring high on the agenda as manufacturers sought to press home the advantages of deploying kit that is easier on both the environment and the bottom line. There is no doubt that this will be a strong theme at this year’s show as well.
But there are also other issues that have emerged as real driving points of catering equipment design within the past two years.
Two in particular — speed and footprint — are having a massive impact on purchasing decisions because of the way that the foodservice game has changed. From speaking to the industry about their plans for the show, it is clear that many suppliers will be pushing these features heavily having developed products that seek to tick one or both boxes.
The uninhibited growth of the grab-and-go concept, coupled with a pattern of kitchen footprints being squeezed rather than enlarged, has led buyers to seek equipment conducive to these circumstances.
Manufacturers have wholeheartedly risen to this challenge and the result is the availability of solutions that are faster, more flexible and pack the power that operators crave.
Just as crucially, it means you won’t be short of choice.