Food & Drink

‘Crazy not to come’: Northern Restaurant and Bar Show invites food and drink world to Manchester

By John McDougall

Thousands of food-lovers and tradesmen are expected to flock to Manchester for this week’s Northern Restaurant and Bar Show. 

The hospitality trade show – expected to welcome almost 6,000 visitors – returns to Manchester Central from March 5-6 and will attract chefs, bartenders and restaurateurs from across northern England. 

Thom Hetherington, Northern Restaurant and Bar Show’s managing director, believes the event will generate excitement and be a centrepiece for northern culinary businesses.

“It’s all about bringing the ideas, the inspiration, the excitement of a big trade exhibition and putting it in people’s own back yards here in the north of England,” he told MM.

“We live in a country where most of the exhibitions are based down in London and it’s a long way for people to go.

“It’s an expense, particularly in the hospitality industry. There are a lot of small, owner-operated businesses and it’s very difficult for them to get out for the day and trek all the way down there.”

The event will include appearances by Aldo Zilli, Great British Menu contestant Aiden Byrne and two Michelin-starred Simon Rogan, who will soon open a new restaurant at the Midland Hotel. 

There will also be a Top 50 on Tuesday afternoon honouring individuals from influential operators from all over northern England.    

With many food businesses having links to the city, Mr Hetherington insisted holding the show – now in its 12th year – in Manchester was an easy decision to make.

“We’re all Mancunians and we’re all based here,” he said.

“But it does make it the right place to do major exhibitions like this because it all comes down to audience.

“It takes in Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, North Wales, Cheshire, Lancashire, the near side of Yorkshire – it gives you that audience on your doorstep.”

With over 200 exhibitors from a food, drink and catering background attending, Mr Hetherington believes traders would be ‘crazy’ to not come to the event.

“They would be crazy not to come,” he said. “There is no way that they will leave this exhibition without different suppliers, different ideas, more competitive quotes and fresh inspiration.

“This is still a tough time to do business and this show is there to help their bottom line and help their business for the customers.

“They are going to go back to their businesses and have a better bottom line and bring things to bear that will filter through to their customers and make the business tick.”

For more information about the Northern Restaurant and Bar Show, visit

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