ExCel hosts best ever Casual Dining, Commercial Kitchen and lunch! shows 

 The UK’s hospitality and foodservice industry gathered at ExCeL London last week for the return of Casual Dining – the definitive trade show for the restaurant, pub and bar sector; Commercial Kitchen – the event for executive chefs and decision makers from professional kitchens, and lunch! – the definitive trade event for the café, coffee shop & food-to-go sector. The events also saw the introduction of anchor brand, THE Food Shows London which brings these three industry leading shows closer together. 

On the 14 and 15 September, the co-located food shows were the epicentre of innovation and inspiration for leading chefs and decision makers from pubs, restaurants, food-to-go, coffee shops, retailers and other business professionals across the nation. 

Helping to shape the future of the food and drink sector, the events attracted over 8,200 attendees, including senior decision makers from Azzurri Group, BaxterStorey, Big Table Group, Bourne Leisure, Burger King, Caffè Nero, Compass Group, Costa, Dishoom, GAIL’s, Galvin Restaurants, Greene King, Greggs, Hall & Woodhouse, Hilton Hotels, ISS, itsu, John Lewis, KFC, LEON, Liverpool Football Club, M&S, Marstons, McDonalds, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Virgin Atlantic, and more. 

Visitors from across the country came to meet with over 600 exhibitors – ranging from food-to-go, alcohol, drinks, tech, packaging, kitchen design and equipment. As well facilitating important business deals, the three shows featured a comprehensive seminar programme (across 8 theatres). All-important insights for recovery and growth were shared, as well as inspirational stories and updates from industry leaders. 

Chris Brazier, Group Event Director comments “It was amazing to see so many leading brands within the foodservice and hospitality sector connect with important decision makers, buyers, chefs, and retailers over the two days. Innovation was well and truly on the menu. The number of new products on offer was incredible to see…as well as taste and smell! Thank you to our amazing speakers for sharing their inspiring insights across the three events, especially after years of uncertainty and challenges in the industry. And of course, thank you to all our visitors, our exhibitors, partners and associations, we couldn’t have done it without you. We look forward to seeing you again next year on 27-28 September.” 


Business optimism was widespread among visitors, exhibitors, and speakers across the show floor, with many sighting the show as the ‘best’ they go to and a ‘must-attend’ for the industry. Many who visited the shows together enjoyed the opportunity to discover even more brands (catering to different business areas) and praised the co-location for a second year. 

“Having the three events together is massively important and creates that harmony in the industry. It’s allowed me to think about how we innovate not only from a food perspective but from an equipment 

perspective which is equally as important for us as a brand, and an integral part of what we do,” says Hannah Casey-Burnett, Head of Category and Wholesale, Greggs. 

“lunch! is everything that’s great about hospitality. A place where innovation, conscientious thinking, passion and talent collide. Best. Expo. Ever,” says Emily Hawkley, Head of Operations, Slim Chickens UK. 

“Casual Dining was a fantastic two days in which I saw the best very of our hospitality industry sharing best practice and challenging the status quo. It was fun, focussed and educational,” says Gavin Smith, MD, Pizza Pilgrims. 

“Amazing to be back at Casual Dining. It’s brilliant to have such an array of high calibre suppliers showcasing their new innovations. Simply the best forum to catch up with existing connections and engage with new ones. We have all had challenges but being able to discuss and discover new opportunities is something that should not be missed. See you next year!” says Andrew Hazel, Head of Food and Beverage Development, Boparan Restaurant Group. 

“Commercial Kitchen is a must attend event. It has it all and more, there is so much innovation and insight to be gained from attending. A must attend for anyone in the food industry’s diary,” says Nick Vadis, Culinary Director, Compass UK & Ireland. 

“lunch! is a great opportunity to see current suppliers and explore potential new ones. Nothing really beats having suppliers full range laid out in front of you, alongside any NPD they might be working on – you never know what you might come across,” says Amanda Lowe, Head of Innovation, Soho Coffee. 

Three world-class Keynote programmes 

Renowned for attracting the best names in business, 2022 speakers included senior representatives from Pizza Pilgrims, UKHospitality, Wahaca, Brewdog, Subway, Greggs, Marks & Spencer and PizzaExpress – who shared their insights in a range of keynotes and panel sessions. The theatres drew in the crowds for exclusive interviews with Ganan Kanagathurai, UK CEO of Itsu, Will Stratton-Morris, UK CEO of Caffè Nero, Tim Martin, Chairman of JD Wetherspoon, Marta Pogroszewska, MD of GAIL’s, Chef Tom Aikens, Brian Trollip, MD of Dishoom- and many more. 

“Commercial Kitchen is one of the best shows I have attended, and you would be foolish to miss it. It showcases the very latest technology, as well as being able to mingle with like-minded people from the industry, which truly helps you to keep ahead of the competition,” says Tom Aikens, Chef Patron, Muse by Tom Aikens. 

“Casual Dining is the biggest and most comprehensive event of its type in the UK. Everyone’s here, so it’s a great opportunity to catch up with all the suppliers to see what’s new in the industry. It’s a fun place to be as well,” says Brian Trollip, MD of Dishoom. 

“Attending Commercial Kitchen is extremely important to discover industry innovations. A must attend for chefs to help improve their kitchens,” says Cyrus Todiwala OBE DL DBA, Chef Patron, Café Spice Namasté. 

“These shows provide the perfect opportunity to come together and share experiences. The more we talk, the more we share. lunch! is a great place to get exposure, from the small guys to the big guys, and it’s important for leaders to get in touch with these up-and-coming brands and talk to young entrepreneurs in the industry face to face. That’s why this show is so important!” says Ganan Kanagathurai, UK CEO, Itsu. 

Innovation Challenge Winners 

The three exciting Innovation Challenges celebrated new products launched in the last 12 months. The shortlisted finalists were decided by popular vote at the Innovation Challenge Gallery on the show’s opening day. A panel of judges then decided if the innovation was worth a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award on day two. 

The Coconut Collab, Huel, LOVE CORN, Ombar Chocolate, GW Projects, Unox UK, Welbilt, Hoshizaki UK, Clean Co, The Meatless Farm, OGGS, The Simple Root, La Vie Foods – and others received Gold in the Innovation Challenge. 

To see the full results for each show, please visit: 

lunch! – www.lunchshow.co.uk/innovation-challenge. 

Commercial kitchen – www.commercialkitchenshow.co.uk/innovation-challenge. 

Casual Dining – www.casualdiningshow.co.uk/innovation-challenge-2022. 

THE Food Shows London – Casual Dining, lunch! and Commercial Kitchen return in 2023 

The co-located events return to ExCeL London on 27-28 September. To keep up to date with the show news, please visit www.lunchshow.co.uk, www.commercialkitchenshow.co.uk and www.casualdiningshow.co.uk. 

Casual Dining Awards return in 2023 

Diversified Communications are also bringing back the prestigious Casual Dining Awards. Taking place on 27 April 2023, the awards are a celebration of the best multi-site restaurants, pubs & bars in the UK. 

For more information, please visit www.cdawards.co.uk. 

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