The North’s biggest hospitality show, Northern Restaurant & Bar (NRB), returns to Manchester Central from Tuesday 21st to Wednesday 22nd March for the show’s 17th year. Welcoming 300 exhibitors including OpenTable and a minimum of 7,500 industry professionals, it is the largest foodservice event in the North of England. Every year, the NRB brings together restaurateurs, hoteliers, chefs and all those in the food, drink and hospitality sectors to discover new ideas, identify opportunities and source new products.
You can expect plenty of inspiring food and drink demonstrations as well as discussions and debates on a range of topics across the two days: the show includes an impressive programme of events hosted by organisations including Pro-Manchester, CityCo and Action Against Hunger, a charity proudly supported by OpenTable. Highlights not to be missed include the NRB Debate, NRB Top Fifty Awards, and NRB Fringe.
To give you an overview, here’s what to expect:
Northern Restaurant & Bar’s annual NRB Debate, taking place on Tuesday 21st March, will be headlined by former England and Manchester United professional footballer Gary Neville and Michael O’Hare of GG Hospitality. Since retiring from his playing career, Gary has quickly established himself as a successful operator in property and hospitality, while chef Michael O’Hare has undergone a meteoric rise, winning a Michelin star for his signature restaurant The Man Behind The Curtain in Leeds, before joining GG Hospitality as Creative Director.
The pair will discuss how GG Hospitality’s huge ambition and fierce commitment to the North will have a unique impact on the region’s hospitality industry. The NRB Debate is chaired by Thom Hetherington, CEO of Northern Restaurant & Bar, restaurant consultant and newly crowned City Life Cultural Hero 2016. “What I admire about Gary and Michael is that despite their fierce commitment to the North, their ambitions are national and indeed international”, he said. The 2017 NRB Debate will also include an expert panel that is going to discuss how the right board structure and non-executive directors can unlock the potential of the North’s most talented food and drink entrepreneurs. Research has shown there is less of a culture of appointing NEDs in the North as opposed to the South, and evidence seems to indicate that the lack of strong, experienced voices within their businesses stops operators achieving their full potential. The panel will look at what can be done, and how NEDs can and do work.
Another highlight not to be missed is the sixth NRB Top Fifty Awards, celebrating, of course, the top fifty hospitality operators in the North and three outstanding achievement award winners who will be revealed live at the show. The awards are judged by a panel of leading hospitality expert spanning the fields of law, finance, property, insurance, marketing and business consultancy at some of the world’s biggest food and drink operations. They are all Northern-based and know the region intimately. The judges are: Anthony Lyons, Kuits Solicitors; Kieran Lawton, Palatine Private Equity; Dan Davies, Metis Real Estate; Laurence McCarthy, Russell Partnership; Mike Askew, Jelf Group and Jamie Campbell, CGA Strategy.
Throughout the week, a series of fringe events will be held under the umbrella of the exhibition including Action Against Hunger’s Too Many Critics Dinner, trade-only after parties at some of the city’s coolest bars and special dining, drinks and hotel special offers only available with a NRB ticket.
NRB17 aims to give food and drink professionals the opportunity to source the best products, identify the latest trends and get the best deals from suppliers. So, it comes as no surprise that NBR’s prestigious Chef Live this year is well-represented by the industry’s most inspiring talent. As one of the most popular features of the show, it gives industry professionals the opportunity to observe their colleagues doing what they do best: cooking up a storm with their signature dishes. Chefs demonstrating their talents include Gary Usher, Adam Reid, who won the North West heat of last year’s edition of the BBC’s Great British Menu, Mary Ellen McTague, Michelin star head chef Tommy Banks, Kim Woodward, who was the first ever female head chef at London’s Savoy Grill, Oli Martin, Daniela Tucci, the first ever female to be crowned North West Young Chef of the Year, as well as writer, broadcaster and restaurateur Tim Hayward who will be talking about his book ‘Knife’, a love-letter to this essential culinary tool.
Last, but by no means least, the drinks side of the show is also packed with stands including two specialist areas: the Spirit Room with over 20 curated spirit brands and the Craft Beer Quarter, offering a wide selection of ales, IPAs, bitters and stouts from 12 artisan brewers from the North and across the UK. There’s also the chance for one talented bartender to win a trip to South Africa, and there’ll be an extra special VIP Bar at the show. Over 100 drinks suppliers will be exhibiting at the show, supplying everything a hospitality operator needs, including spirits, wine, beer & cider, soft drinks, mixers, tea & coffee and even hot chocolate.
2017’s NRB sets the bars high and makes sure of one thing: Never going South, but promising to take the South by storm! For more information, visit: http://www.northernrestaurantandbar.co.uk/and be sure to see the OpenTable team at stand E10.
Photo credit: 2016 Holden Media Limited. All rights reserved.