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Proposal for Norwich to host ‘restaurant week’ made at leisure conference

PUBLISHED: 15:15 06 February 2018 | UPDATED: 15:15 06 February 2018

Consultant Ben England. Picture: Courtesy Ben England

Consultant Ben England. Picture: Courtesy Ben England

Archant

A proposed new food event for Norwich could provide a major boost for under pressure restaurants and cafes operating in the city.

Norwich BID executive director Stefan Gurney. Picture: Nick ButcherNorwich BID executive director Stefan Gurney. Picture: Nick Butcher

The viability of holding a “restaurant week” based on a similar event in London was discussed at a leisure conference hosted by Norwich BID at the Cathedral.

Consultant Ben England said he had been asked to look into the feasibility of the event at a time when many food and drink businesses were struggling.

The Evening News reported how cafes and restaurants were battling rising food prices, the growth of home delivery services, staff shortages and an overcrowded market place.

Mr England said he had previously worked with clients that had taken part in food festivals of varying sizes across the UK.

Norwich Cathedral. Picture: Nick ButcherNorwich Cathedral. Picture: Nick Butcher

“The one I’ve had the most dealings with is the London Restaurant Festival,” he said.

“It takes place every October and runs for about a month.”

He said the festival, which offered different levels of participation dependent on resources and budget, could be replicated on a smaller scale in Norwich.

Entry level participation in the London festival consisted of a “simple set menu” at a special price for the duration of the event.

Norwich Market. Picture: ANTONY KELLYNorwich Market. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

“Many of the restaurants choose to go much further than that though, by hosting one off events like guest chef dinners, wine tasting, meat and producer evenings or masterclass demonstrations,” said Mr England.

He said festival organisers marketed the event through media partners and online.

Similar events could be held for wine, craft beer and cocktails.

Norwich BID executive director Stefan Gurney said Norwich had an “amazing” diversity of restaurants and pubs.

A view of Norwich. Picture: Roger FeekA view of Norwich. Picture: Roger Feek

“We’ve studied food events around the country and have aspirations to hold a food and restaurant week in Norwich.”

He said the idea was brought up at the conference to get feedback, which had been overwhelmingly positive.

“We will now take the conversation forward with the involvement of business.”

Mr England said the idea was still in its infancy but anyone interested in getting involved should contact Norwich BID.

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