Over 5,000 attendees – representing the UK’s best restaurant, pub and bar operators – were out in force at Casual Dining show last week...
The UK’s flagship casual dining trade event of the year made an unforgettable first impression at its new home of ExCeL London, enjoying another successive record turnout. 220 exhibitors, 50 Keynote speakers in two standing-room only theatres, and 5,038 unique attendees (up 5% on 2018) – are the top line figures from this year’s action-packed edition.
“Casual Dining is where the industry does business,” says event manager Eva Ellis. “Once again, it welcomed leading innovators, influencers, trailblazers, key buyers and senior decision makers – the who’s who of this dynamic sector – in their thousands. This year’s stand-out, sell-out edition at its new home of London ExCeL was easily our biggest, busiest and best yet.”
She continues: “There was such a fantastic buzz from the moment doors opened, and the show just looked incredible. The feedback about the move has been incredibly positive, with the biggest buyers and operators in the country having enjoyed increased opportunities to meet with even more innovative suppliers, listen to even more great speakers and do even more business than ever before.
“Our exhibitors have also been thrilled with the seniority and sheer number of relevant industry buyers that they got to meet – from multi-site restaurant, pub and bar groups, to hotels, contract caterers and the nation’s best independents. We’re delighted to report that 65% of exhibitors have already rebooked for next year, with many asking to take substantially bigger stands.
“Huge thanks, as always, to all of our exhibitors, visitors and partners for their continued support, it’s been phenomenal. See you at Casual Dining 2020!”
Summing up his show experience (as a speaker and visitor), Chris Hill, CEO of The New World Trading Company (NWTC), says: “Casual Dining at ExCeL is the premium sector show, bringing together fantastic debate, content and innovation."
“I loved this year’s show,” agrees Paul Lewis, head of food and drink at Prezzo, “It really delivered on showcasing new trends and growth markets. Great panels, and the new venue was fantastic, it gave more space to be able to network.”
“Casual Dining really is the show that does exactly what it says on the tin – an event that has operators of casual dining concepts big and small as its singular focus. I challenge you to attend and not have at least three interesting conversations with new suppliers, potential customers or even just old friends,” says Thom Elliot, co-founder of Pizza Pilgrims.
“Casual Dining 2019 provided a great opportunity to engage with innovative new suppliers, network with existing contacts and listen to some informative keynote speakers. A great event and one I look forward to returning to in 2020,” says Mark Carter, head of drinks category management at Marston’s Pubs & Bars.
Known for being a magnet for top buyers and brands from across the casual dining sector, this year’s attendees included: Accor Hotels, Aramark, Azzurri Group (ASK Italian, Zizzi and Coco di Mama), BaxterStorey, Benugo, Bill’s Restaurants, BrewDog, Cafe Rouge, Carluccio's, Casual Dining Group, CH&Co Group, Charles Wells, Center Parcs, Côte Restaurants, Daniel Thwaites, Dishoom, Domino's Pizza Group, DoubleTree By Hilton, Ei Group, Elior UK, Flat Iron, Fuller's, Greene King, Hall & Woodhouse, Hard Rock Café, ISS UK, Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, Las Iguanas, Loungers, Marston’s, Mitchells & Butlers, Nando's, National Trust, NWTC, Oakman Inns, Papa John's, PizzaExpress, Pizza Hut Restaurants UK, Pizza Pilgrims, Prezzo, Punch Taverns, Revolution Bars Group, Shepherd Neame, Sodexo, SSP, Stonegate Pub Company, TGI Fridays, The Restaurant Group, wagamama, YO! Sushi, Young's, and many more.
Notably, nearly one in three visitors cited a corporate spend in excess of £1m (15% reported £10m-plus budgets).