We’re not sure who was running the restaurants, bars and cafes around town this week while the Fine Food Australia Expo was on in Melbourne, because it was definitely an event not to be missed!
Held at Melbourne’s Convention and Exhibition Centre, the Fine Food Expo was an industry buffet that couldn’t be consumed in one sitting.
They had all facets of the trade covered- from catering equipment such as industry ovens, kitchen fans and sushi machines, all the way down to the packaging experts who showed the best of their wares in take away parcels, with a big focus on biodegradable and environmentally friendly products.
The Hospitality section put their best foot forward with industry uniforms and chef footwear, then there was the Retail and Tech area; the space where restaurateurs and café owners could check out the latest technology to help their business run smoothly.
Then there was the food. Oh my god, the food. Due to the sheer mass of product options, we found ourselves getting lost in the rows of stalls, finding a new one on each lap that we hadn’t already discovered! They had every angle covered, from coffee, to dairy (cheese lovers, unite!), meat & seafood, bakery treats, free from and organic products, and a ‘Flavours of the World’ section, which we loved for the sheer amount of free pizza and gelati there seemed to be on offer from the Italian stands (grazie).
The food and hospitality section also included a lively area called Pizza Revolution, where we caught some super fun and energetic ‘Pizza Acrobatica’ – which can only be described as flair bartending, but with pizza dough. The ‘acrobats’ drew quite a crowd, and for good reason! We’re sure if you saw their antics at any restaurant it would be entertaining enough to make you return for seconds!
Fine Food Australia also teamed up with MYOB to deliver some great talks on keeping the books and admin side of business well fed too. We sat in on a great talk with Foodservice Consultants Society International Advisor Stephen Kelly about creating the right fit out for your restaurant, café or pop up bar. Kelly mentioned how important it is when planning out your location’s design that owners make sure their budget matches their prospective returns for the business, because if your design schemes cost more than what your business can profit in the next five to seven years, you’re in a bit of a pickle.
When we asked Kelly how important it was for restaurants to stay ‘on trend’ with their fit outs, he said it’s important to know your design is never going to last forever.
“You’re essentially designing a stage front, with the intention you will make minor tweaks along the way, say every two or so years, and then by the seven year mark you will start all over again,” he said.
“We think it’s great to look at what’s trending and what is talked about, but we also tell clients to think in a seven year cycle, you’ll want to completely replenish by then.”
Whether you are in the beginning stages of opening your own café or restaurant, or are well established and looking for new suppliers, the Fine Food Australia Expo catered for all tastes and areas of the trade. The energy and atmosphere of the event itself was friendly and inviting– all the perfect elements you need for a successful food and beverage business, as well as delicious and genuine produce, of which Fine Food had in spades.