Well, what a night! The catering equipment industry came to London to party – and that they certainly did as the 2015 Catering Insight Awards celebrated the achievements of the industry over the last 12 months.
The Hurlingham Club proved a fitting location to mark the accomplishments of catering equipment suppliers and distributors at the end of what has been a busy and successful year for many. And to have so many senior executives and esteemed organisations from the industry present in the room really was a huge honour.
Here at Catering Insight, we truly believe there is no business quite like the catering equipment business – and that was definitely the case last night! While we are all familiar with the trials and tribulations that the industry faces on a daily basis, it remains a unique and endearing market place responsible for some of the most impressive product development and project delivery that you’ll find in any sector.
It’s no secret that the UK foodservice market is growing exponentially year on year as new concepts spring up on the high street and operators open up dozens of sites. But without the foresight and vision of the catering equipment market, such businesses would never have the back-end operation that makes them excel.
Whether it is manufacturers creating equipment that pushes the boundaries in terms of value, efficiency and function, or the kitchen houses that are designing, installing and project managing it — not to mention those involved in service and maintenance — it would simply not be possible for the foodservice industry to thrive without the expertise of this industry.
While many of the companies in the room last night were competitors of one another, it goes without saying that everybody has the same aspirations: to satisfy customers, win new business, grow sales and make more profit.
We feel it is hugely important to recognise the efforts of the individuals and organisations that are excelling in the market place and working hard to better their businesses every day. The only sad thing is that there could only be one winner in each category!
On that note, I have to say that the manner in which the winners were judged last night certainly added an element of excitement to the occasion. When we first set about establishing the judging of the awards we quickly agreed that it should not be down to us or a small panel of people to decide the winners.
Instead, we wanted the industry to decide. More importantly, we wanted those people at the very vanguard of the industry, in the highest senior positions, to have their say.
In recent weeks, senior executives from across the industry were invited to take part in a closed electronic vote. To ensure complete transparency, suppliers were only allowed to vote in the distributor categories; and distributors were only allowed to vote in the supplier categories.
For us, it was exciting to watch the results form as the votes came in and, indeed, in some categories the leadership actually changed hands on several occasions or wasn’t conclusively decided until minutes before the voting process closed. The main thing, though, is that the outcome was determined solely by the industry.
All that’s left for me to say is congratulations once again to all the finalists – and especially the winners – and a big thank you to our sponsors and all those that attended for making it such a memorable night. Roll on the 2016 awards!