In line with the slew of hospitality industry shows and events worldwide forced to be rescheduled and postponed due to the impact of Covid-19, the UK’s Hotel, Restaurant & Catering (HRC) 2021 show has been cancelled. HRC and the International Food & Drink Exhibition (IFE), IFE Manufacturing Solutions (IMS), PUB21, The European Tea, Coffee and Soft Drinks Expo, The London Produce Show and the Festival of Enterprise were due to host a combined show on 22-24 March 2021 at London ExCeL.
“After long discussions with industry stakeholders and key partners, Montgomery Group has taken the extremely difficult decision to postpone the 2021 HRC event until 28 February 2022,” said organisers in a statement released Thursday 5 November.
“Even though we had introduced ‘All Secure Standard’, a risk-assessment based framework for Covid-19, and planned for the highest standards of hygiene and cleanliness, ultimately the lack of guidance and clarity from government on when business events can restart has meant that we have had to take the painful decision to postpone HRC until 2022,” said Ronda Annesley, event manager for HRC.
“Although HRC has a large international attendance of both exhibitors and visitors, we felt extremely confident that we could deliver a safe and secure live event for the tens of thousands of hospitality industry professionals that look forward to the show each year. We are devastated that we will not be able to play our part next year in helping the hospitality industry recover from the catastrophic consequences of the pandemic in a face to face format. However, we are currently investigating numerous ways in which we can continue to support and connect with the hospitality industry throughout 2021 and beyond, and hope to make an announcement around this in the near future,” said the organisers.
Long-term future of the industry
“The cancellation of HRC 2021 is very disappointing, although not unexpected. The show is one of the most important trade events for the industry and a chance to update knowledge and network with suppliers and colleagues. However, our priority must be to defeat Covid-19, which is critical for the long-term future of our industry,” says Matthew Merritt-Harrison FCSI, chair of FCSI UK & Ireland.
“We will continue to hold our online events for members and our colleagues in the industry until such time as we can meet in person, and HRC 2022 will be in our diaries as something to very much look forward to as a beacon of hope.”
John Whitehouse, chair of the UK’s Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA), also supports the decision. “On behalf of our nearly 200 members, FEA fully supports the need to postpone the 2021 exhibition, in line with the current challenging circumstances. The rescheduling of the exhibition will ensure that it is ideally placed to meet the needs of both visitors and exhibitors.”