After four years at the Birmingham NEC, the organisers of Commercial Kitchen confirmed at the end of last week’s show that the exhibition will relocate to London from 2020. With the industry wondering what lies behind the move, FEJ caught up with event manager, Katie Tyler, to get the full lowdown on the reasons for the change and what it will mean for exhibitors and visitors.
Commercial Kitchen has taken place at the Birmingham NEC for the past four years – why the switch to London now?
Our research shows that buyers from London make up our highest demographic of visitors so we feel we can offer our valued exhibitors even more senior buyers to do business with by moving. Importantly, we actually feel we will become more of a national show as for many people across the country the transport links to London are easier than anywhere else.
While we aim to be a national show, London has more kitchens than anywhere else in the UK. For the benefit of everyone, we want to grow the show responsibly in terms of buyers and exhibitors while maintaining the focus and delivering a truly targeted definitive nationwide event, proudly just for innovative kitchen equipment, services and design.
There are lots of relevant industry events in London the week of the show that make it hard for some senior buyers to travel. A lot of nationwide buyers also need to be in London that week for these existing events. By moving, the industry is even more connected and everyone benefits.
And why the ExCeL as the venue?
When we moved Commercial Kitchen’s sister shows Lunch! & Casual Dining to ExCeL both shows saw a very healthy increase in buyers, while also keeping the great quality of decision-maker and increasing exhibitors.
The time was right to relocate Commercial Kitchen and we are now particularly confident of seeing significant growth in attendance from senior buyers from end user operators – who already make up 60% of our attendees. With the forthcoming Elizabeth Line ExCeL will be accessible from Heathrow Airport and Central London within minutes.
Some people might be wondering if there are plans to merge with your sister shows. Is there any likelihood of that happening?
No. There are some great shows out there that are general foodservice / hospitality shows but Lunch! and Casual Dining are successful because they are dedicated just to the individual sectors that they serve. Six years ago we asked the industry what they wanted and they were clear. That has not changed.
We fully believe, like we did on day one, that the commercial kitchen sector deserves its own annual dedicated showcase. This move secures that promise for years to come. Commercial Kitchen will very much remain the only annual UK trade show targeted to anyone involved in specifying, fitting or designing commercial kitchens.
What is your point of difference from other London shows?
As a business, Diversified Communications’ strength is organising targeted sector specific trade shows and Commercial Kitchen will always remain true to its ethos of being completely dedicated and focused towards back-of-house equipment and services.
We will keep our promise to the industry and maintain that exhibitor focus, with no craft beer, no trouser presses and no food sections. The show will also maintain its focus on a quality decision making audience – big buyers with no students, no time-wasters and no public.
How will you attract northern-based operators and distributors given that geographically Birmingham was closer to them?
Commercial Kitchen has become firmly established as the two days a year where the industry meets, launches innovations and does business. We’ve already had a fantastic response to the move from these conscientious senior buyers and kitchen houses who very much see Commercial Kitchen as their industry show – wherever it’s based.
Their message is clear, the industry will continue to support their industry show. London has the best transport links in the country, making it even easier for all types of buyers from all regions to attend from the UK, and potentially overseas. By moving, buyer numbers and quality will increase further and hopefully this will further increase ROI for our exhibitors. More than ever before, we will be marketing to businesses that revolve around kitchens of all sizes from all across the country and beyond.
Will Ceda still be your lead partner?
Absolutely. We will be working closer than ever with Ceda and the association will continue to be a pivotal lead partner. Their members and partners from all across the UK have reacted warmly to the idea and will be even more involved than before. The move is also supported by FCSI, other trade associations and media partners.
Other than the location, what will be different about Commercial Kitchen 2020?
By moving to London we will have a fresh canvas to create new features, be ambitious and expand the industry show. For 2020, we will have Wednesday and Thursday show open days, which are even better days for decision makers from multi-site operators.
Exhibitors and visitors will benefit from an even bigger seminar programme, more networking and the ability to link up with the great events that take place in London that week – plus some exciting surprises along the way.