The show, which takes place at Manchester Central next week (17 and 19 March), has seen a 15 per cent rise in the number of companies exhibiting there this year, the highest rise since the recession.
NRB chief executive Thom Hetherington thinks it mirrors the strong growth for the industry within the region which has seen a growing number of, typically London-based operators like D&D London, MeatLiquor and Hawksmoor, join local companies in opening sites there.
“The North has always punched above its weight in terms of food and drink, but it seems that the rest of the world has finally woken up to its strength and potential.” He said.
“Northern operators are thriving, the audience of diners is growing and big names are rushing to embrace the region. Our job is to make sure Northern Restaurant & Bar itself continues to reflect this surge of commercial and creative vibrancy.”
Latest figures from CGA Peach’s Outlet Index show that the eating-out markets in Manchester and Leeds experienced higher growth than London between 2005 and 2014, rising 57 per cent and 55 per cent respectively.
While Liverpool’s growth was lower (31 per cent) it almost matches growth in London’s market (32 per cent) with businesses fuelling the North's dining scene's growth including Living Ventures and San Carlo
“Growth is partly linked to a growing tourism market in these cities with operators opening outlets to meet demand, but particularly in Leeds and Liverpool it has been down to the development of spaces that can house the restaurants,” explained Hetherington.
“Trinity Leeds, which opened in 2013, suddenly opened up opportunities for operators and Liverpool One has millions of square feet dedicated to restaurants and leisure. There has always been independent demand, but now this has brought everything together.”
NRB, now in its fifteenth year, has also grown in capacity to match the region’s growth. Speakers at this year’s show include Iberica’s executive chef Nacho Manzano, House of Tides chef-owner Kenny Atkinson and Michael O’Hare of The Man Behind The Curtain in Leeds and
The event includes the NRB Top 50 - the list of the region's most influential people in hospitality - and restaurateur turned author Nick Lander will also be discussing his book The Art of The Restaurateur with Craig Bancroft of Northcote and Will Beckett from Hawksmoor.
“We are now not just attracting Northern operators, but also the London guys wanting to see what’s going on up here,” added Hetherington.
For more information or to register for NRB visit www.northernrestaurantandbar.co.uk.