Thought for food23 January 2020
With its 94th iteration taking place in 2020, Internorga is firmly established as one of the must-attend events on the annual conference calendar. The event’s project director, Matthias Balz, speaks to Hotel Management International about what he calls a “special event” heavy on insight, great networking and new ideas for hospitality.
Internorga is, according to Matthias Balz, project director for the event’s organisers, Hamburg Messe und Congress, “the leading international show for the whole of the food service and hospitality market in Europe”. In a crowded marketplace of established European events in this sector, that is a significant claim. But speak to hospitality professionals who have previously attended the show and the general consensus is that it lives up to the billing.
The 2020 edition of Internorga – its 94th iteration – will be held on 13–17 March 2020 in Hamburg, Germany. An estimated 95,000 international visitors will tread the floors of Hamburg Messe, while as many as 1,300 exhibitors – a vibrant mix of innovative startup companies and more than 300 market-leading equipment manufacturers (taking up 21,000m2 of the 100,000m2 of total exhibition space) – will reveal new product launches and showcase their latest wares.
“Internorga is a must for market leaders and the top players in the industry, and also for young, innovative companies,” says Balz. He adds that it is a unique event in the hospitality calendar because it is responsible for “bringing together all the major players of the industry in one venue”. Expert attendees to the show include influential opinion-leaders and decision-makers from a plethora of European restaurant chains and hotels, together with professional kitchen equipment suppliers and consultants.
“Internorga is a huge networking hub for the entire industry – of hotel and restaurant chains and distributors,” explains Balz. “It brings together all of the major players and leaders, but also newcomers and start-ups. Anyone not attending Internorga is missing the five most important days in the year for keeping their business successful and focusing on the future.”
A first-class programme
The show, which focuses specifically on the hotel, restaurant, café (Horeca) sector, will occupy 12 exhibition halls of the vast Hamburg Messe. But there are plenty of additional reasons to attend for those visitors looking to learn about the latest food service and hospitality trends, with insightdriven content in abundance throughout the duration of the show.
“Internorga has a first-class supporting programme with top-level conferences,” says Balz. The show, he maintains, is not simply another generic trade fair, but instead is “an ideas forum” that provides “brain food for the sector”.
Supporting and enhancing Internorga, The International Foodservice Forum (see box top right), the German catering congress, the Forum School Catering and the masterclass for International Growth: Financing & Franchising all take place either immediately prior to or during the show itself. Events such as these, Balz explains, will give visitors “tremendous added value, helping them to see the broader picture” of a sector facing significant and disruptive challenges, but also a tremendous opportunity for growth.
“We will also see live competitions, such as the German Gastro Start-up Award, held in partnership with Leaders Club Germany, presenting the most creative food service concepts. These events provide pure inspiration and a great atmosphere,” says Balz. “But there are also special exhibition areas, such as handcrafted beers within the craft beer arena.”
Hamburg, says Balz, is the ideal city to host Internorga – as Germany’s “gateway to the world” it offers what he calls “a diversity of hotels and restaurants that is hard to match”. The city attracts more than seven million visitors every year.
“There are 10 new hotels scheduled to open in 2019 alone. And we are right up front in the culinary scene. Hamburg enjoys a reputation as the capital of innovative food service concepts, and that is very much in evidence here as restaurants continue to flourish,” says Balz.
The city’s highlights include the new Elbphilharmonie concert hall, the historical Speicherstadt warehouse district and the bustling port of Hamburg.
About The International Foodservice Forum
The International Foodservice Forum is Europe’s biggest conference for restaurateurs and hoteliers. Taking place in Hall H at the Congress Center Hamburg (CCH) on 12 March 2020, the day before Internorga commences, the Forum is due to attract around 2,200 expert German national and international delegates.
With a working title of Movers & Markets, the 38th Foodservice Forum will address, it says, “consumer trends, competitiveness and success factors” in foodservice and hospitality. Keynote speakers include University of Lausanne’s Professor Stéphane Garelli and John Vincent, co-founder of British fast-food restaurant chain Leon.