There must be something in the water in years ending in a seven. It seems to create extraordinarily long-lived companies in the catering equipment sector.
So is it some mystical connection to seven, superstition by the company founders, or (rather more likely!) a complete coincidence?
Well, all I can say is that I have lost count of the manufacturers and distributors celebrating milestone anniversaries this year. In just the last few weeks the warewasher manufacturers have seemed to take the lead on this score though, with Hobart celebrating an incredible 120 years in business, Meiko hot on its heels with news of a 90 year anniversary and Winterhalter clocking in at a more-than-respectable 70 orbits around the sun.
Big number anniversaries allow companies to take stock of their achievements and review their directions for the future. So let’s just take the Hobart example for a minute. 120 years – that means the firm was started in the century before last. It’s amazing to think that 1897 saw Queen Victoria still on the throne and from then until now, through two world wars and countless recessions, the same company has endured.
With the idea of the catering equipment distributor being a little newer than manufacturers themselves, dealers can’t quite compete with those types of figures – but some are having a good go. Light equipment specialist Stephensons marked its 50th anniversary this year, while Grimsby-based Sylvester Keal saw in the 30th year of its birth and Hebburn’s Restaurant Design Associates is the ‘new kid on the block’ of the anniversary party at 10 years. Even buying group Cedabond has its 40th anniversary this year.
Another industry entity reaching a milestone in 2017 is the Host trade show in Milan. This year marks its 40th edition, which is quite an accomplishment for an exhibition when so many fall by the wayside. The mammoth event really does feel like the major meeting place for the global hospitality industry.
When I went along to the last event in 2015 it certainly seemed like the UK catering equipment industry had de-camped en masse to head to Italy. The Catering Insight team couldn’t walk for more than a few yards without bumping into someone we knew.
This year’s show promises to be even bigger and better, and to help the industry make the decision in time of whether to visit, we have included a special pull out and keep guide with our September issue. This features a hall by hall summary of the key stands of interest so that you can plan your visit in the most efficient way and you’re not left wandering up and down the main thoroughfare all day with a puzzled look on your face.
The Catering Insight team will once again head to Milan to bring you all the latest news from the show, and our October issue will be the only sector title to have extra distribution inside the halls themselves, so we’ll be unmissable, just like the event itself. We hope to see you there!