Big buyers out in force at Commercial Kitchen 2017

Exhibitors praise the show and its exceptional quality of visitors

Commercial Kitchen, the multi-award nominated trade show for the UK’s catering equipment industry, enjoyed a very successful second edition at the NEC Birmingham last week – welcoming 1,775 attendees over 6-7 June.

The positive increase in attendance for 2017 included an 18% rise in the number of big spenders at the show (buyers with over £5million of purchasing power).  The number of visitors who influence and/or authorise purchases was also up 8%; while nearly one in four visitors said they are responsible for an annual corporate spend of over £1million.

Other headline figures include a record onsite rebook, which saw over 65% of exhibitors confirm their participation at the next edition before doors had even closed.  Many have hailed Commercial Kitchen 2017 as a significant and overwhelming success – praising the quality of the ‘highly specialised’ buyers they did business with over the two days.

Summing up their exhibiting experience, Patrick Bray, MD of Regale Microwave Ovens, says: “We achieved the best results of any trade show that we have ever attended and look forward to exhibiting in 2018.”

“It’s been a great show, very worthwhile.  The footfall has been fantastic for us – with lots of good leads to follow up.  We definitely have to be here again next year,” agrees Peter Nimmo, regional sales director at Meiko UK.

“Commercial Kitchen show is really important to us, we wouldn’t want to miss it.  It targets exactly the right specifiers, buyers and foodservice operators that we want to reach.  We’re very happy to support our industry show as it continues to grow,” says Scott Duncan, sales director at Carpigiani UK.

“It’s the quality of the people that have come to our stand that’s most important,” says Anthony Prestage, director of Catering Equipment.  “The visitors here are decision makers – CEOs, buyers and senior managers – exactly who we want to meet.  It’s the best professional kitchen show in the UK today.”

Those decision makers included top equipment buyers from Costa Coffee, FCB Artisan Espresso Bars, Five Guys, Gala Leisure, GBK, Greene King, Hilton, ISS, Kew Green Hotels, Marston’s, Mitchells & Butlers, Nando’s, Patisserie Valerie, Pret A Manger, Prezzo, Pub People Company, Punch Taverns, Rick Stein Group, Sainsbury’s, Sodexo, Subway, TGI Friday’s, Tortilla, Whitbread, Apetito, Brakes, Center Parcs, and Tesco.  Plus, a significant number of buyers from independent restaurants and pubs, hotels, contract caterers, attractions, hospitals, care homes, the prison service, universities, and schools from across the UK.

The show attracted an equally impressive turnout of all the key distributors and installers, such as Airedale Group, Alliance, Arolite, Bidvest Hospitality Design, Brakes Catering Equipment, C&C Catering Equipment, Caterware, Certa Catering Equipment Supply, Court Catering Equipment, Direct Kitchen Equipment, Gratte Brothers Catering Equipment, H G Stephensons, KCM Catering Equipment, Lockhart Catering Equipment, Nisbets, ScoMac Catering Equipment, and Vision Commercial Kitchens.

An ‘unmissable’ show

“It’s great to have a show dedicated for the commercial kitchen, it’s the most relevant UK show in my calendar,” says Adele Hing, kitchen & equipment development manager – food operations at Nando’s.

“Commercial kitchens are a minefield at the best of times, so it’s great to be able to get in front of those in the know, all in one place at the same time.  It’s a great event that we wouldn’t consider missing!” says James Douglas, co-founder and director of Red’s True Barbecue.

“This is the first year I have attended Commercial Kitchen and it was a great opportunity to catch up with our current suppliers, meet new suppliers and see the latest innovative products being developed,” says Angela Course, category manager (catering & food) at ESPO.

“Commercial Kitchen is the ideal place to source the most up-to date kitchen equipment on the market today,” says Claire Clark MBE MGOB, owner/director of Pretty Sweet and The Claire Clark Academy for Patisserie Excellence.

Expert Keynote line-up

Opening day highlights included exclusive ‘in conversation’ sessions with Vivek Singh, executive chef and founder of The Cinnamon Collection; and Claire Clark MBE.  Plus panel-led discussions on sustainability, pub kitchens, kitchen design, and the important role of equipment distributors (featuring five of CEDA’s former chairs).  The show’s second day saw panels dedicated to multi-site restaurant innovation (featuring Nando’s and Red’s True Barbecue), foodservice consultants, hospital kitchens, and prison kitchens; plus the announcement of this year’s Innovation Challenge Awards winners.

Innovation Challenge Awards 2017

Designed to promote and celebrate new ideas in the market place, the prestigious Innovation Challenge Awards, attracted over 22 entries this year.  Ten finalists (chosen by popular visitor vote on opening day) took turns to impress the judges in the live pitching session on 7 June.

The judges included James Douglas, co-founder of Red’s True Barbecue; Julian Edwards, chairman of the FCSI UK&I and owner of GY5; Andy Jones, MD of AJAssociates; Andrew Seymour, editorial director of Foodservice Equipment Journal; and Jack Sharkey MSc, MD of Vision Commercial Kitchens.


The results saw four companies receive gold awards, four awarded silver and two taking home the bronze.



  • The ‘Ready’: Carpigiani UK
  • MCS FlashGRILL: MCS Technical Products
  • UPster rack transport dishwashers: Meiko UK
  • RATIONAL SelfCookingCenter XS: Rational UK


  • Let’s Cook Cloud Solution: Middleby UK
  • Garbage Guzzler: PKL Group (UK)
  • Reco-Air: Reco-Air


  • Retigo Vision: Retigo
  • True’s New Refrigerated Prep Table: True Refrigeration


Uniting the industry

“We’re absolutely delighted.  The impact that Commercial Kitchen has made within the industry – and the wide support it’s received since its launch last year – is just incredible,” says group event director Chris Brazier.

“The show has fast established itself as the two days a year where the industry meets, launches innovations and does business.  It’s all about quality.  And the quality of buyer, whether end user, project house, distributor, or consultant, was exceptional.  No wonder so many of our exhibitors have already signed up for Commercial Kitchen 2018!

“A huge thanks to all our amazing exhibitors, visitors, media supporters and association partners.  We’re already planning how to make your industry event even bigger and better.  We look forward to seeing everyone there next year,” he says.

“It’s all at the Commercial Kitchen show.  All the equipment you will ever need to equip your new Commercial Kitchen or re-fit your existing one.  Under one roof, enough suppliers to compare the ranges and prices, and find a firm that suits your needs.  It’s the show not to miss!” says restaurant consultant Frank Boltman.


Commercial Kitchen returns to the NEC Birmingham on 5-6 June 2018.

For further information about the show, including its exhibitors, speakers, Innovation Challenge Awards, CEDA Awards Gallery, the 2017 Show Guide is still available to view at