Diversified Business Communications UK, organisers of the highly successful, award-winning lunch! exhibition, has announced the launch of a major new trade show, Casual Dining, to take place at the Business Design Centre in London on the February 26 to 27, 2014.
The launch follows an extensive consultation process with leading industry operators and suppliers, which concluded that there was a significant gap for a dedicated trade show aimed at the highly successful casual dining market, in which the UK is rapidly becoming a world leader. The UK’s high streets are dominated by well-known casual dining brands, such as Carluccio’s, PizzaExpress, wagamama, Strada, Nando’s, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, and Cotê, whilst traditional pubs across the country have increasingly shifted their focus to concentrate on providing a quality food offering; ranging from national brands such as The Slug and Lettuce, Wetherspoons and O’Neill’s to independents and gastro pubs. The sector is conservatively estimated to be worth at least £5 billion.
The event will be held at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London, perfectly timed for companies planning for the opening of new establishments in the busy autumn period.
The announcement has received universal support from leading industry operators, including Daniel Broude, group supply chain manager at Gondola Group, whose brands include Ask, PizzaExpress, and Zizzi: “The Casual Dining show is a great concept, which deserves the full support of the industry. We have no doubt it will be very successful and look forward to attending,” Broude says.
Glendola Leisure Group’s group buyer Mark Bridge agrees, commenting: “The UK leads the way in casual dining and a dedicated trade show that brings together, and offers inspiration and solutions for, this important sector is well overdue.”
Other leading brands operating in the UK, including Prezzo, Pizza Hut, and Carluccio’s, have welcomed the launch and said they look forward to attending:
“With the growth in the casual dining market, it about time we had our own dedicated trade show, I have no doubt it will be a great success and I look forward to visiting,” says Paul Lewis, executive chef of Prezzo and Chimichanga restaurants.
With the tag line “Inspiring Innovation,” the event will feature a high profile seminar and keynote programme running alongside a trade exhibition of around 150 hand-picked companies who supply the broad range of innovative products required to run casual dining businesses, including food and drink, equipment, interior design, furniture, technology, and table top.
“Casual Dining is a perfectly focused, and much needed, new trade show that fills the gap for a professional event for this crucial £5 billion sector,” says Amanda Grove from industry supplier Magrini. “Having successfully exhibited at lunch!, we have no doubt that Diversified will deliver a first class show, which will attract the senior buyers from the lucrative branded restaurant and pub sector.”
Isabelle Davis at Delice de France agrees, commenting: “Following a phenomenal year of growth in the category there is a genuine gap in the market for a quality, focused event that is dedicated to those working within the multi-billion pound branded restaurant and pub sector, as well as recognising the contribution they already make. We have worked with Diversified on their successful lunch! event for many years and have no doubts that with Casual Dining they are best placed to deliver a much needed, targeted and innovative show.”
Mark Fahey, managing director of Mr Whiteware, one of the UK's leading catering equipment suppliers to the hospitality industry, added: “We attend many trade shows but casual dining is really where the big growth is at the moment, and a dedicated show is long overdue.”
Richard Barker, managing director at Hill Cross Furniture, was equally enthusiastic about the concept: “We have attended most trade shows in the past but this is our core target market and it is quite clear that there is a need for a well-designed, focused event, with relevant content, a clear marketing message, and which the sector can call its own.”
Chris Brazier, event manager of Casual Dining, says the launch comes as a direct response to feedback received from visitors and exhibitors at Diversified’s lunch! show.
“We have become very close to many of our exhibitors at lunch!, who have told us that there is a real need for a new show, which reflects the specific needs of this crucial sector,” says Brazier. “In many ways, it is similar to when Diversified first launched lunch!, a sector which had previously been served by the Sandwich & Snack Show but which failed to keep up with the changes in the market. Similarly trade shows aimed at publicans were very successful 10 years ago but they have now all gone. Not because the market has died but because it’s moved on to focus on the food offering. It is this huge gap in the market which will be filled by the launch of Casual Dining. As many people have said during our research – it’s one of those ‘it’s so obvious that you ask why hasn’t it been done before’ situations.”
Casual Dining is organised by Diversified Business Communications, who have a growing portfolio of successful events in the food sector, which include lunch! and The Natural Food Show in the UK, European Seafood in Brussels, Fine Food in Australia and India, and Restaurant & Bar in Hong Kong. lunch! won the Association of Exhibition Organisers’ Best UK Trade Show Exhibition (under 2,000m2) Award in 2010 and 2011, and Best Marketing Campaign 2012.
More information can be found at The Casual Dining website.