Back in March, our Foodservice team took part in Hotelympia, the UKs market leading hospitality and foodservice event. It’s a show with a lot of heritage as it started running back in 1935. We caught up with Barry Brazier, Senior Commercial Manager – Foodservice – to find out a bit more about the show.
Historically our team has been focused on B2B but we’re really keen to expand our classic foodservice offering, having already had some great successes since I’ve joined (back in 2016). We decided that taking a stand at Hotelympia would be a great opportunity to raise our profile within foodservice and demonstrate our capabilities and product range.
With it being a four-day exhibition we knew it would involve a lot of planning, with logistics, set up, ordering samples and marketing creation and production. You can’t do it your own. It’s really all about team effort and good communication is key as well. The most challenging part of the show was exactly this – making sure everything got done and nothing was missed. Strangely, packing away after the show and waiting for the van to arrive at the loading bay, was a bit challenge, as we were all really tired after working for four days.
We sampled a large range of olives, antipasti and continental meats including: ‘Nduja and Calabrian meats; Sobrasada; Chorizo and Fuet; Jamon Ibérico; Rotolini; Bresaola and Porchetta. Visitors could also sample a selection of olives, antipasti and cheese, plus some olives & feta, alongside tomatoes and mozzarella.
It was a busy four days at Hotelympia and fortunately we’d adequately staffed the stand – that’s essential to make sure you all get time to breathe! It’s so critical to engage with the visitors and if you can, ahead of the show, encourage them to visit the stand. Feedback from visitors was that they were impressed with the quality and breadth of products we can supply. This was good feedback as one of our objectives was to demonstrate that we do have a vast product catalogue and we wanted this to come across. Next year we’ll be taking examples of platters as we had lots of interest in pre-portioned antipasti platters. All a great head start for our forward planning!
We got a lot of new client contacts which has given us a head start on relationship building. Now we just need to ensure we follow up on all the new customer contact and convert the leads into sales!
Another bonus in doing the show was that it has enabled us to create a ‘marketing toolkit’. Our stand, olives & antipasti and continental meats brochures, leaflets and giveaways were all designed with a lovely consistent look and feel. Not only was all of this new material of benefit for the show but we can also be used for all further foodservice interactions. At the same time we also updated the foodservice section of our website, created a new contact email and produced a set of marketing postcards with information about all the products we can supply.
If I was to give anyone advice on doing a show like this, I would say make sure you create a critical path and keep referring back to it. Makes sure nothing gets missed and all the deadlines are hit.
With all this knowledge, we look forward to going back next year!