It certainly isn’t ‘grim up North’

There’s no shortage of great restaurants in Manchester. New places seem to pop up weekly and there is always somewhere to get an artisan cold-brew, single cask ale or spiced ginger kombucha; therefore, it comes of no surprise that Manchester Central was picked once again to host the North’s premier hospitality show — Northern Restaurant & Bar 2018.

Our two days up North were spent catching up with valued distributors, introducing new customers to our extensive range of bar products, and sampling the latest food trends. So, after a few too many ‘gourmet slices’, and with a slightly tighter waistband, here are a few things we learnt at the show this year:

1. Eco-friendly products are at the top of the ‘to-go’ wish list

As news broke of a possible ban, the plastic vs. paper straw debate dominated talk during the show. With consumers becoming increasingly aware of their carbon footprint and the waste they produce each day, it is down to the hospitality industry who provide these products to make a more sustainable choice when purchasing their disposables.

Our environmental commitment goes beyond the sustainability of our bamboo products. Our products are designed to be so hardwearing that they last for years and years, before needing to go to landfill.

2. Soft drinks aren’t just for kids

One of the key trend we spotted was for ‘posh soft drinks’. Non-alcoholic drinks in a range of sophisticated, ‘grown up’ flavours, hoping to solve the age-old dilemma of ‘what to drink when you’re ‘not drinking’’. We’re sure customers would love to sample these using any of our tasting flights.

At the other end of the boozy spectrum, we predict that ‘alcoholic soft drinks’ will be making a comeback with some unique flavour combinations. Yuzu and Strawberry or Hard Smashed Apple anyone? Bacardi Breezers, they were not.

3. Presentation is everything

We chose Manchester to debut a few sample pieces of our new Better Burger collection, and being perfect for casual dining, they were met with a lot of interest. The sneak preview was exclusive to those attended the show, so watch this space for the full reveal coming soon.

4. Don’t pitch your trade stand next to the demo kitchen

Exhibiting at trade shows makes for long days and sore feet, ‘breaks’ don’t often come up for you to ‘grab a sandwich’, so being pitched opposite the Chef Live Kitchen was torturous. Steven Smith, Chef Owner of the highly acclaimed Freemasons at Wiswell, made home-made Pimms Magnums (the perfect afternoon pick-me-up), whilst Ryan and Liam Simpson-Trotman’s pork trio made us want to get down to their restaurant, Orwells, near Henley ASAP.

5. It certainly isn’t grim up North

New data released especially for the show has shown that the “M62 corridor” spanning Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds is a hotspot for new restaurants and bars. Figures showed that the number of city centre outlets within Manchester itself increased by nearly 25% over the last five years, more than double that of London; proving that it certainly isn’t ‘grim up North’.

Didn’t have a chance to make it to NRB 2018? Take a quick peak at all the fun and excitement from in and outside of our booth.

Rebecca Redden

Author Rebecca Redden

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