The looming threat of a London tube strike did nothing to dampen the mood of exhibitors on day one of Hotelympia as good footfall throughout much of the day ensured a busy start to the show.
The UK’s largest catering exhibition, which features more than 160 catering equipment stands, opened to visitors this morning at London ExCeL with a revamped lay-out to complement the new date of the show.
Manufacturers and distributors agreed the new format, which groups all the catering equipment firms together at one end of a single exhibition hall, was easier to navigate and meant visitors were less inclined to congregate in the outside concourse area as they have in previous shows.
Most importantly, exhibitors reported an encouraging level of enquiries throughout the first day.
Mark Hutchings, managing director of Cater-Bake, the Zanolli pizza oven importer, said this morning: “The opening signs have been good. I’ve had conversations with people that I would normally need to travel to see and I have also received some new enquiries. That ticks both boxes for me so far.”
Trevor Burke, managing director of Exclusive Ranges, which brings in Menu System cooking ranges, was also pleased with how the opening day panned out.
His company has just announced a new partnership with Hotmix Pro, while its stand also features a Menu System cooking range that will be installed at The Ritz as part of a £1m refurbishment later this year.
“We’re very happy to be here and it was very important for our stand to be based on this main aisle,” he said. “I think that location is everything in this hall now that the layout has changed. You have got to commit early to get where you want to be.”
Graham Russell from Grande Cuisine, who manages the Capic cooking equipment brand, endorsed the view of other exhibitors that after a quiet start to the day the event really built up steam from mid-morning to mid-afternoon.
“It was a slow start but it soon got going and we’re happy with how it’s gone so far. We have had some good solid enquiries and hopefully some projects will come out of those. We will now wait to see what happens with this tube strike,” he said.
Meanwhile, Simon Frost, country manager of Wexiodisk, one of dozens of Ali Group companies to be represented at the show, said the day had gone well.
“It was slow first thing as you would expect, but we are pleased with the stand and we have had some potentially good enquiries. There has been a lot of interest in our larger dishwashing machines in particular.”