Every two years, over five days, Sirha becomes the meeting point for all professionals in the catering, food and hospitality industries.
With 189,000 visitors in 2015, the 2017 edition holds the promise of thousands of opportunities to find new partners and conquer new markets. With 3,045 international exhibitors and brands, 11 sections dedicated to food products, equipment and services for Food Service professionals, Sirha embodies the world market for catering, hotel and food services. It is the only trade exhibition to feature such an exhaustive offering that satisfies the needs of all types of catering: fast food, gastronomic, and mass catering for hospitals, schools, and hotels. Sirha is a real drive for research and innovation, a source of ideas, a unique solution to answer the big question for today and tomorrow: what does food service mean for a better life?
Total Food Service spoke with Sirha’s Managing Director, Marie-Odile Fondeur, to discuss this year’s show, which will take place January 21-25th at the EUREXPO in Lyon, France.
For our readers who may not be aware of Sirha, could you give a little history about the show?
Sirha will be held for the 18th time in 2017 and will be more than ever a magical event. It has a unique atmosphere that you don’t find anywhere else. Created in 1985 in Lyon by Paul Bocuse and food trade artisans, Sirha has become a not-to-be-missed event for all professionals and sectors in the catering and hospitality industry. It has been growing ever since to become a leading event at the crossroad of world food service.
As we hope business improves for our restaurateurs in a sluggish economy, how does that impact the role that a visit to the show plays?
Sirha is an incredible sourcing tool for products and services, for today and tomorrow. Sirha gives ideas of new recipes or new concepts for a restaurateur to stand out. It allows new encounters and discoveries of new suppliers, helping to cook and serve better and faster. Visiting the show is a powerful springboard for any food business.
Restaurant owners are facing difficult market conditions as well as an increasing demand from clients. And the main objective of Sirha is to enable professionals to boost their sales, enhance efficiency and surpass their objectives. How does the show accomplish that?
Sirha is a unique place to meet colleagues and suppliers and exchange about new trends. It features unique laboratories of experimentation that showcase concept food or restaurants. It spotlights and explains hundreds of new products and innovations. The show also welcomes dozens of conferences and roundtables that give advice about key industry issues. All of this means that each visitor will find more than what he was looking for.
The Internet has certainly grown as a resource for chefs and restaurateurs around the world to shop. What does a show like Sirha bring that you simply can’t get find online?
Many people speak of Sirha as being an unforgettable experience, because you instantly become immersed in the fantastic atmosphere of the event: festive, friendly, and boasting a vibrant intensity that is found at no other professional trade shows and not on the web either! Thanks to more than 1,600 demonstrations each day, visitors come to taste, smell, and test ‘live’ the food products, and also software applications, innovative kitchen equipment, etc.
The show has always been known for prodding the foodservice operator to think outside of the box. What’s on the agenda for this year’s show?
This year as always, innovation plays an important role at the show… In 2015, the exhibitors introduced 725 new products and services, including 326 world premières! Each edition also presents new creations or stages with different inspirations.
In 2017, for the first time Sirha will host a “Startup” village where a dozen “foodtech” companies will introduce visitors to the most innovative products and services.
This village is close to the Food Studio, the food design exhibition and the innovation and new products area. The Sirha Innovation Awards will crown the best innovations in products, equipment, and services.
The Sixième Sens live restaurants will also showcase 5 exclusive custom-made concepts.
Tell us about Sirha’s partnership with LOEB Innovation and how it helps with the generational challenges in today’s foodservice landscape.
For this 2017 edition, together with Loeb innovation, we have chosen to review the generational challenges in order to better understand how restaurant clients today, with their changing values, give birth to a new food service landscape.
We focused on the aspirations of the different generations, identifying in particular 4 typologies of clients – Generation W, X, Y and Z. Each of them has their values and their expectations of what a restaurant should look like. These insights can help professionals design new concepts of restaurants. This analysis is available in the Sirha Trends Book (more information on the website www.sirha.com)
Talk about the types of competition that will be at this year’s show? What can a food service professional take away from that experience?
In 2017, Sirha will host 19 exceptional contests including 4 new ones: Maître d’Hôtel Trophy, Global Young Chefs Challenge, International competition for Young Bakers and Trophée Masse Battles. These contests transform Sirha into a stage of passionate culinary jousts. In each discipline the best tradesmen and women pit their skills against one another. They bring emotion and showcase new techniques that contribute to the progress of the trades. The two major contests – Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie and Bocuse d’Or – are world references in pastry and gastronomy and witnessing these extraordinary shows is an unforgettable experience.
Any advice for an exhibitor to rethink how they get the most out of their show?
Know what you want and make yourself visible!
• Make sure you identify your objectives before designing your stand or organizing your sales team’s action plan. Do you want to get your brand known by new customers or media? Or launch a new product and make as many sales at the show as possible? Then plan your stand accordingly.
• Tell everyone you are here. Invite your customers or prospects, advertise with your stand number, and let the media know what your new products are. Sirha also has all sorts of communication tools to help you stand out.
• The show is what you make of it!
For more information on the Sirha event, visit the official website.