Commercial Kitchen, the dedicated UK trade show for the catering equipment and services industry, was bustling with activity and new innovations last week on 5-6 June at the NEC Birmingham. 

Thanks to its focused approach, fresh content, product launches and innovative exhibitors, like last year, this ‘must-attend’ event welcomed over 1700 attendees. The quality of buyer was labelled ‘outstanding’, with some of the UK’s biggest foodservice and hospitality operators in attendance.

Exhibitors have hailed Commercial Kitchen 2018 as a significant and overwhelming success – praising the quality of the ‘highly specialised’ buyers they did business with over the two days.  Notably, 11% of buyers at the show had a purchasing power of over £5million; while nearly one in four said they are responsible for an annual corporate spend of over £1million. Over 60% of attendees identified as being end user operators, while 30% were project/design houses or distributors.

Other headline figures include a record number of exhibitors increasing their stands sizes for 2019, with a huge 60% of exhibitors confirming their participation for the next edition before doors had even closed.   This has led to show organisers, Diversified Communications, announcing a bigger show floorplan for the 2019 show.

“We’re absolutely delighted.  A huge thanks to all our amazing exhibitors, visitors, media supporters and association partners. The wide support the show has received since its launch – is just incredible.  The increased level of support from associations this year was unprecedented,” says event manager Katie Tyler.

“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 buyers, whether end user, project house, distributor, or consultant, was exceptional.  No wonder so many of our exhibitors have already signed up for Commercial Kitchen 2019!”

Summing up their exhibiting experience, Patrick Bray, MD of Regale Microwave Ovens, says: “Commercial Kitchen 2016 was brilliant, 2017 was excellent, and 2018 was outstanding.  Definite leads from the UK but also businesses overseas, including the USA and Korea, all added to our best trade show ever!”

“With great speakers and innovative new releases, the Commercial Kitchen show is a must and we were only too happy to exhibit.  We left thoroughly satisfied with the number of visitors we engaged with.  See you next year,” says Mark Cooke, commercial sales manager at Liebherr-Great Britain.

“The Commercial Kitchen show is one of the highlights of the year for Carpigiani UK.  We believe this show is very targeted and you know, before you go, there will be serious visitors who will be interested in learning about your products.  This year seemed to deliver even better than last year and there were an amazing energy and buzz around both exhibitors and visitors,” says Scott Duncan, sales director of Carpigiani UK.

“The focus of the show is aiming to get decision makers to see our equipment, is one that fits with our strategy and we met some great prospective customers on the stand,” says Steve Hemsil, sales director at Welbilt, UK & Ireland.

An Unmissable Show

It wasn’t just the exhibitors that were impressed.  Visiting buyers from across the industry also hailed Commercial Kitchen 2018 as the best yet, praising the quality of the innovative new products launched for key decision makers at the show.

“The amount and variety of new product launches at the show made the visit really worthwhile,” says Mark Teed, food strategy & implementation manager at Star Pubs & Bars.

“The amount of new and innovative products on display was the best I have seen for a while,” comments Jack Sharkey MSc, managing director at Vision Commercial Kitchens.

“This show is very useful.  I found three great contacts in an hour and found the speakers to be informative, relevant and insightful,” says Gavin Smith, operations director at Pizza Pilgrims.

“It was a breath of fresh air to be able to speak with so many different suppliers face-to-face. The quality of equipment on show was a testament to what is on offer out there for our kitchens,” says Sean Edwards, training & development chef at Yo!

“It’s great to see so many current and new equipment suppliers in one place,” agrees Antony Bennett, head of food at Loungers.

Other leading decision makers in attendance included buyers from Amazon, Bartlett Mitchell, Bourne Leisure, Brewhouse and Kitchen, Burger King, Cardiff County Council, Casual Dining Group, Costco Wholesale, Deliveroo, Drake and Morgan, EI Group, Empire Cinemas, Everyman Cinema, Fuller’s, Greene King, H M Prison, Hall & Woodhouse, Jolly Fine Pub Group, Kew Green Hotels, La Tasca,  Las Iguanas, Magdalen College School, Marstons, Mitchells & Butlers, Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust, PizzaExpress, Pizza Hut International, Punch Taverns, Sainsbury’s, SSP, Tesco, TGI Fridays, The Bath Pub Company, The Fat Duck, Tortilla, University Hospitals Birmingham, University of Wolverhampton, Virgin Trains East Coast, Whisby Garden Centre and Whitbread plus, a significant number of buyers from independent restaurants and pubs, hotels, contract caterers, attractions, hospitals, care homes, schools and universities from across the UK.

The show attracted an equally impressive turnout of all the key project houses, distributors and installers, such as Airedale Group, Brakes Catering Equipment, C&C Catering Equipment, Catering Design Group, Catering Equipment Solutions (Peterborough), CHR Equipment, Court Catering Equipment, Gratte Brothers, Inox Equip, KCM Catering Equipment, Kitchen & Restaurant Projects, Nisbets, Sprint Group, TAG Catering Equipment, YCE Catering Equipment alongside many other leading ceda members.

Adam Mason, director general at ceda, the show’s Lead Partner says: “This year’s Commercial Kitchen show has been a huge success! We achieved everything we needed to and much more. The event was extremely well attended, not just by ceda members and partners, but by leading end users from across the whole of the foodservice and hospitality industry. This focused show is not to be missed. We’ll be returning as Lead Partner next year and are already discussing some exciting developments!”

Expert Keynote Line-up

Opening day highlights included an exclusive ‘in conversation’ session with Alasdair Murdoch, CEO of Burger King UK.  Plus, panel-led discussions on solid fuel, pub kitchens, kitchen design, and the important role of kitchen project and design houses (featuring prominent ceda members).

The show’s second day saw panels dedicated to efficiency in kitchens, connected kitchens, hospital catering and the role of foodservice consultants; plus, the announcement of this year’s Innovation Challenge Awards winners.

Innovation Challenge Awards 2018

Designed to promote and celebrate new ideas in the market place, the prestigious Innovation Challenge Awards, attracted a record 25 entries this year.  The results saw a record five companies receive gold awards, two awarded silver and three took home the bronze.

Ten finalists (chosen by popular visitor vote on opening day) took turns to impress the judges in the live pitching session on 6 June.  The judges included; Antony Bennett, head of food at Loungers; Craig Brookfield, kitchen design & equipment manager at Greene King; Roger Denton, national secretary of NACC; Abby Hughes, group food & beverage director at Kew Green Hotels; Andy Jones, MD of AJAssociates & chairman of PS100; Sarah Fryer, purchasing manager at Greene King; Jack Sharkey, MD of Vision Commercial Kitchens; Tyron Stephens-Smith, project & creative director at TAG; Philip Shelley, immediate past national chair of the Hospital Caterers Association; and Mark Teed, food strategy & implementation manager at Star Pubs & Bars.

GOLD Winners

  • Adande Refrigeration: Aircell Sarma Grab & Go Cabinet
  • Carpigiani UK: Freeze&Go
  • Synergy Grill: Synergy Grill Mark 2
  • Trak: Hot and Cold Display Unit
  • Unox UK: EVEREO by Unox

SILVER Winners

  • Environmental Products & Services: FilterShield FS1500
  • General Catering: ROG Grill

BRONZE Winners

  • Retigo: Hold-o-mat
  • Shepherd Filters UK: Shepherd Filters
  • Target Catering Equipment: Target Bespoke Induction Range

Save the date for 2019

“Commercial Kitchen is really what our industry needs, it brings together all parts of the supply chain in a focused and convivial environment. One not to be missed,” says Mark Kendall, chairman of ceda and director at Inox Equip.

“We’re already planning how to make your industry event even bigger and better for 4–5 June 2019.  We look forward to seeing everyone there next year,” says event manager Katie Tyler.

Commercial Kitchen returns to the NEC Birmingham on 4-5 June 2019.

For further information about the show, including its exhibitors, speakers, Innovation Challenge Awards and ceda Awards Gallery, the 2018 Show Guide is still available to view at