We visited the Northern Restaurant & Bar Show in Manchester this week. NRB is the first major hospitality show of the year, and it was wonderful to see so many hospitality heads in one space, especially after a two-year hiatus due to Covid.

NRBbrings together over 300 exhibitors to promote ideas and inspiration across the industry. Below we’ve highlighted our three key themes from this year’s show.



The robots are coming! One of the most popular stands at this year’s event showcased a series of ‘Robot Waiters’, designed to deliver meals directly to customers tables. Speaking with the supplier, they are currently integrating a card payment system into the screen which would mean that customers can complete orders and transactions without interacting with another human. I’ve heard a rumour that a large QSR chain have a few on order, and I believe they’re already being used in several Chinese restaurants across the North West. Their key selling point was that these robots will “work around the clock for just £80 a week” which – given the current hospitality recruitment crisis – may have been a tempting message for some operators. Diageo were also present showcasing an automated system to ensure that bars pour a perfect pint of Guinness, every time. The system is based around a canned Guinness product, which is loaded into a pouring mechanism. The machine then regulates the temperature of the drink,  and a cradle tilts the glass for a perfect two-part pour, beeping to notify the server when the pint is ready to serve.


Premium Snacking

It would seem that a stale packet Walkers or KP Nuts just won’t cut it when it comes to modern bar snacks. I spoke with several premium snack brands looking to expand their business in pubs and bars. The most interesting  for me were Serious Pig’s ‘Crunchy Snacking Cheese’ (oven baked bites made from 100% cheese) and Made For Drinks’ Chicken Salt Fries (an Aussie favourite!). Established online and retail brand Graze were also present at the show, a clear indication that they are looking to break into the growing bar-snack sector.


Low & No Alcohol

This show is always heavy on alcohol producers (I personally counted over 50 gin brands!) however there was a notable increase in producers of low and no alcohol products. This is definitely an emerging category in the beverage sector with several established breweries showcasing lighter options including Tiny Rebel, Seven Brothers and Cloudwater. And speaking of Cloudwater… Congratulations to Food Network members Root2Ginger who recently partnered with the brewery to create a special soda in celebration of International Womens Day – I can’t wait to try it! 


Thinking about what should be in your restaurant or bar in 2022? Why not get in touch…

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