Tag Archives: mass catering
Autumn is well and truly upon us. With the best summer in decades behind us, it’s now time to look forward to the Christmas season. In the South West, plenty has been going on involving the food industry. Not least the beginning of construction on the new South West food innovation centre. And elsewhere in Wales food is in the news.
Wilmott Dixon secured the £11.3 million construction contract from North Somerset Council to build the FoodWorksSW facility in Weston-super-Mare. This will provide specialist facilities and technical support and will create around 250 new jobs.
The facility is designed to provide a range of specialist facilities and technical support for food and drink manufacturers across the South West region. It will help new businesses to get started and established producers to expand. A private sector-led project advisory group is liaising with the council on the ins and outs of the food industry.
In other news, it appears that the South West is on schedule for a record breaking year of exports. Somerset exported £10.5bn worth of goods in the first half of 2018, up on the same period last year. A lot of the credit is down to the region’s food and drink sector with new businesses popping up constantly.
One of these is a new wine school for the South West. This has just been launched with the support of a trio of the region’s well known wine experts. The South West Wine School will offer WSET Level 1 and 2 courses at Kenton Park Estate in Devon from the beginning of next year. The venture aims to make learning about wine “fun and enjoyable for enthusiasts of all levels”.
Wales Food Fights Back
Wales has also been in the news recently, with an alarming statistic about the presence of fast food restaurants. It seems that in part of Wales, a staggering 73% of all restaurants are selling fast food. The culprit is Blaenau Gwent with 55 out of 75 outlets takeaway venues. According to a recent report, Wales has seen a rise of 48% in fast food outlets from 2010 to 2018. While in the UK average increase is 34%.
Based on figures from the Office of National Statistics, Wales has had 670 fast food outlets open in the past eight years. Neath Port Talbot saw its numbers more than double from 50 to 105. People are simply too busy to cook, says Professor Haboubi, chair of the Welsh Obesity Society adding, “it is not the businesses’ fault, we have a societal disease“. However, Wales is not taking this lightly, with many initiatives planned to address the issue including the opening of a new food academy.
Recipe for Success
Celebrity chef Bryn Williams launched a Wales food academy offering Coleg Cambria students the opportunity to work and train in his restaurants. Launched last week at Cambria’s Y Celstryn restaurant in Deeside, the Bryn Williams Academy is aiming to help plug the ever-increasing skills gap in catering and hospitality.
“There are so many more places to eat, so many more kitchens and restaurants… the talent pool has spread so there is a very thin layer now and that needs addressing. It’s so important we inspire the children of today to become chefs in the future because the industry has grown beyond all comprehension,” he explains.
AC Services October News
Here at AC Services we’re investigating the advantages of the Rational connected cooking function. Launched last year this is an intelligent cloud-based networked solution that enables the setting of remote cooking functions and maintenance monitoring. We’ll let those in the SW and Wales food businesses know more in 2019.
It barely seems any time at all since the last Restaurant Show but apparently, it has been a whole year. And last week, it returned to Olympia in London. The Restaurant Show 2018 incorporated The Bar and Pub Show and the Catering Equipment Expo.
These three brought the hospitality industry together. Catering for those owning, operating and working in restaurants, hotels, pub, bars and hospitality establishments across the UK.
As always, the event attracted hordes of visitors for companies showcasing their products. Seminar subjects were wide ranging. From digital storytelling: the secret ingredient for social media success to what’s next for casual dining and some strong advice on creating the ultimate cheeseboard!
Other topics included combining the art of hospitality with smarter technology and the influence of the fast-moving world of coffee as well as the importance of the correct background music to create exactly the right ambience.
National Chef of the Year
One of the highlights of the three-day event was the National Chef of the Year competition. This has been running since 1972 and has become one of the UK’s most respected and sought-after culinary titles.
The ceremony saw Kuba Winkowski, head chef from The Feathered Nest Inn crowned as the new National Chef of the Year. His menu included native lobster, oyster emulsion, Yorkshire grouse, quince, and sticky toffee dessert. The runner-up spot went to George Blogg, head chef at Gravetye Manor. With Derek Johnstone, head chef at Borthwick Castle taking third place in the dramatic cook-off.
The Catering Equipment Expo proved to be the place to get a great deal on the latest products. A range of catering equipment was on display, from cookers to fridges and those strange-looking but essential items that only a cook can recognise. Among the exhibitors was Rational displaying its SelfCooking Center and VarioCooking Centers.
Food Glorious Food
Food and drink, obviously were plentiful with over 400 suppliers exhibiting at this year’s event. New products included Drunken Dairy Ltd’s selection of booze-infused dairy and free-from ice creams and vegan sorbets. The Handmade Cake Company launched its Vegan Belgian Chocolate Cake, specially designed to be 100% vegan.
The Restaurant Show 2018 celebrated its 30th birthday with an abundance of products, seminars and events aimed at anyone involved in the catering industry. Visitors were delighted with the range of advice and new initiatives aimed at maintaining the restaurant industry’s standards in the modern world, with everything needed to sustain a successful business under one roof at Olympia.
In the week of Anglo-French scallop wars beginning again with lapsed agreements and nothing to replace them; the next in AC Services series of food under threat. Our focus is on cod and the need for co-operation for mutual benefit by protecting fish stocks.
Since 2006, the cod levels in the North Sea have been causing alarm to a variety of organisations. These range from the fishermen catching their livelihood, to the sustainable brigade worried about responsible farming levels. And then there’s the government concerned about revenue.
However, since last year, North Sea cod is now sustainable and can be eaten with a “clear conscience”, according to The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) which has given this great British fish its “blue tick” label. This shows that North Sea cod caught by English and Scottish fishermen is not only sustainable but fully traceable.
Cod Depletion Levels
Here’s a little bit of fishy history. By 2006, anxiety began to grow about the stock levels in the North Sea which were at historically low levels. Levels had actually fallen to a mere 44,000 tonnes. This was a dramatic fall from the 200-300,000 tonnes witnessed in the 1960s and early 1970s. Obviously these figures cannot be exact. No one is entirely sure how many fish there are but the estimates are as scientifically accurate as possible.
This news called for a collaboration between the fishing industry, government and scientific research enterprises. They pulled together to recover the stocks to a level which saw North Sea cod reach the gold standard of full MSC certification.
The causes of this fall in levels were multiple. Pressure from European fisheries resulted in high takes of haddock, cod, whiting and saithe caught in the North Sea causing over-exploitation beyond a sustainable level until the 2000s. As a result, cod in particular was at risk of falling outside safe biological limits.
Subsequently, the European Union and Norway initiated the ‘Cod Recovery Plan’. This plan included measures to control and reduce the fishing effort, as well as introducing restrictions on catches of cod and other stocks. Other measures included new nets and closing spawning areas to fishing, modified fishing gear, catch controls, well-managed fishing practices. The fishing industry worked closely with the Scottish government and the EU Fisheries Council on the recovery plan.
Want Plenty of More Fish in the Sea?
The stocks have to be independently assessed before they can be given the MSC blue tick. If you can see the mark, the cod is guaranteed to come from a sustainable source and by choosing fish with that label, buyers and customer are helping to protect future stocks.
There are some who believe that overfishing and endangered stocks is a myth: people in Newfoundland, Canada believed it too until 1992 when the cod fishing industry came to a sudden stop with no cod appearing at the start of the fishing season. Overfishing caused by fisheries mismanagement was the main cause for this disaster.
We have made the decision to leave the EU and to withdraw from the London Fisheries Convention. These currently allow foreign vessels to fish within six and 12 nautical miles of UK coastline. No one knows what this means in terms of North Sea fishing management. But by everyone pulling together, crises can be identified and averted. So next time you buy fish including cod, look for the blue tick so we can all win.
This summer has reinforced the great British love of visiting amusement and theme parks. The fabulous weather has been a godsend to these venues. An increased amount of visitors are taking advantage of a thoroughly enjoyable, dry day out.
Globally, attendance at the world’s top theme park groups increased by 8.6% from 438 million to 476 million visitors in 2017. Figures suggest that this year, it will be even higher. Globally, Disney theme parks dominate the market, with the USA leading the way in numbers and profit.
In 2017 in the UK, surprisingly, Legoland came out ahead of both Alton Towers and Thorpe Park in terms of attendance and profit. However, the usual suspects of bad weather, economic decline and political instability last year are the main reasons behind a less-than-enthusiastic public and lacklustre results.
Pressure for New Experiences
There is constant pressure on theme park and amusement parks to enhance the experience to attract more visitors. Unfortunately, confidence has been hit when it comes to new rides. Too many teething problems and horror stories have emerged in the past few years and the public are therefore wary of racing to try new rides. So the call is for new attractions to be multifaceted to embrace new technologies.
Technology to the Rescue
Virtual reality is well established in the gaming world and some believe that it has a future in theme parks. The idea is that VR can revitalise an old ride with significantly less cost than building a brand new one. It can also add a new dimension to a branded attraction. This is exemplified by Europa-Park in France developing a new VR Paddington attraction and Hong Kong set to open its first VR roller coaster.
Augmented reality is another revelation that can be of use to theme parks. AR overlays the real world with the digital world, rather than replacing it. Both Disney and Apple are expressing interest in the AR trend. Disney filed a patent for projection-based AR to enable visitors to experience AR without headsets. The technology is in its infancy but it is one to be watched.
Disney is also looking further into bots, filing a patent for robot characters. Japan based theme park Huis Ten Bosch has announced that two thirds of its staff will be replaced by robots. This leads to speculation that bots could have a future in managing the infrastructure of attractions and reducing labour costs.
Finally, facial and voice recognition are expected to play a major role in the design and operation of interactive rides in the future where guests control the outcome or path of the experience. Disney is believed to be looking into rides that can be customised from reading the visitor’s emotional reactions based on facial recognition.
Keep Up With Modern Trends
Amusement and theme parks are constantly evolving to make the experience even better for visitors. Modern technology is expected to play a major role in the future. With this new level of sophistication comes an opportunity for street vendors and caterers to provide food and beverages that challenge the traditional fare of burger, chips, pizza and hot dogs.
The price of theme park entry encourages a full day visit rather than a few hours. Catering must therefore optimise the opportunity to offer a wide variety of food for all mealtimes.
Let’s talk about coffee, the favourite drink for all age groups. There is no getting away from the fact that coffee drinking has expanded exponentially over the past decade. Coffee franchises, independent sellers and street vendors on virtually every high street corner now cater for our coffee time.
Today, the trend is not so much the product taste, but the product provenance. And this is making a difference in the economic fortunes of less affluent coffee-producing countries.
Coffee Time History Lesson
Coffee cultivation and trade began on the Arabian Peninsula in the 15th century. By the 17th century, had made its way to Europe. Today, the ideal conditions for coffee trees are found along the Equatorial zone called The Bean Belt . Coffee now grows in around 50 countries in the world from the USA to Mexico to East Africa and Asia. Good coffee beans depend on plant variety, soil chemistry, the weather and even the precise altitude at which the coffee grows.
Instant coffee represents by far the biggest share of the global coffee market. As with any coffee, it needs to be roasted relatively near to the end consumer so that it maintains its taste until it is actually drunk.
Ethical Coffee Trends
There is a growing call for ethical coffee, with an increasing number of consumers willing to pay more for ethically sourced coffee. The argument is that ethical sourcing benefits everyone from the farmers who grow the beans to the cafes selling the beverage.
Contemporary consumers are more interested in the provenance of the coffee beans. which has a direct influence upon their choice of coffee. According to statistics from the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo), “smarter processing, branding and marketing makes a huge difference to growers and their communities”.
And with baristas armed with knowledge about the provenance of what they are serving, consumers are making the choice to help struggling individual farmers in less affluent countries. This trend means that farmers in the developing world are getting a better share in the global value chain.
For this trend to continue, we should look to the Continent for a different approach to coffee drinking. Takeaway coffees are the norm for busy people on the go but in some European countries, this is not necessarily the most popular way to enjoy a cup of coffee. Take Italy for example. The majority of Italians prefer their local coffee shop rather than a coffee to go for these very good reasons.
Firstly, it takes no time at all to walk into a coffee shop, order a coffee and drink it. Downing a freshly brewed espresso shot takes a matter of seconds and the coffee is fresh, readily available and tasty. Secondly, drinking coffee has become a ritualistic break. Those on the go can take a moment to recover, regenerate their batteries. And above all enjoy a quiet moment to enjoy the coffee. And finally, Italians do not like their coffee so hot that it burns the mouth. They prefer coffee served cooled down at the right temperature, so it can be drunk immediately.
The Cloud on the Horizon
For the third year running consumption has outstripped production. So far the good years have provided a buffer but this cannot last.
As Dr Tim Schilling, director of the World Coffee Research institute, an organisation funded by the global coffee industry, says: “The supply of high-quality coffee is severely threatened by climate change, diseases and pests, land pressure, and labour shortages – and demand for these coffees is rising every year“. In some coffee areas, temperatures have already risen enough to begin having quality impacts, he adds.
In the future production areas in Ethopia could be halved and Brazil reduced to a third of today’s. This can only mean that new varieties will come to the fore and the taste of coffee will change. So the next coffee time, ask where the beans come from and then enjoy the moment.
A total of over 1500 exhibitors attended the whole event. They represented the whole spectrum of the food and drink supply chain, from retailers to manufacturers.
There is an increase in demand for locally farmed and sourced produce. According to one report, retail sales are expected to rise to £4.2bn from £3.6bn by 2021. Therefore, the popularity of the Farm Shop & Deli Show 2018 was extremely high with visitors already relishing the idea of artisan products. And the show did not disappoint.
The Farm Shop & Deli Show is the sector’s leading event for delicatessens, farm shops, garden centres, restaurants, food halls, butcheries and bakeries. Hence hundreds of companies showcased their best wares.
The Farm Shop & Deli Live stage offered an all-star speaker line up. Each session was curated to cover relevant trends within the sector, such as the importance in terms of adding value of sourcing local produce and stocking identifiable brands. Topics ranged from food waste to the booming trend of free-from foods.
The Dragon’s Pantry offered daring entrepreneurs the opportunity to present their best ideas to a panel of industry experts. New products and ideas were pitched. In return, experts offered professional advice on the best way to market and refine the offerings.
According to Farm Shop & Deli Show 2018 Commercial Manager, Dan Eversfield, “artisan food continues to be one of the success stories of the UK food and drink industry, driving growth in this sector. British food and drink exports grew by 8.3% year-on-year to £4.9bn, with international retailers looking to take advantage of the UK’s food and drink manufacturing expertise. When you also take into account the weaker pound, products from these shores are in demand and we expect this year’s event to be a hive of activity with buyers joining from around the globe.”
Cross country representation
This year, 25 countries were exhibiting in the overall Food and Drink Expo. They were from Canada, China, Cyprus to Iceland, India and Iran with nine featured pavilions. These include Taste of Nova Scotia; Taste Cork; Food & Drink Wales; Scotland Food & Drink; the Italian Trade Commission; Orkney Quality Food; and Chambre D’Agriculture De Dordogne, as well as Dadao TONGTU (Beijing Expo) and Iran International Exhibitions Co.
The 5 shows return in two years time at the same venue to offer unparalleled networking opportunities as suppliers, retailers and manufacturers from across the industry gather in the heart of Birmingham.
There is really only one subject dominating the news at the moment and that is the issue of free school meals. School lunches have been offered for decades. Those in primary education in the 1960s and 1970s will probably still recall the trays of overboiled cabbage and swede, and solid pastry mince beef pies.
The great British school lunch menu has come a long way since then, with a choice of much healthier and more nutritious meals. The last week or so however, has seen a storm brewing over the axing of free school lunches due to Government budget pressures.
The Education Department has revealed that it does not think that “a free school lunch for every child in the first three years of primary school… is a sensible use of public money”.
Free school lunches came into effect in September 2014 and at the time, the introduction caused a great deal of consternation within schools as 2,700 primary schools had to install new catering facilities before they could even think about offering free meals.
However, the majority rose to the challenge and adapted their kitchens for the provision required. And the policy has shown results, with many schools reporting an increase in the uptake of cooked school lunches, not only by those entitled to free lunches.
Entitlement to Free Meals
With the old scheme, all children in reception, Years 1 and 2 automatically qualified for free school meals in England and Scotland. In Year 3, free meal eligibility is linked to benefits.
Now, parents earning up to £7,400 a year are entitled to a free school meal. The average cost of a lunch is £2.30, which equals £46 per month per child. Multiply that by two or three or four children at school and the cost rises to £92, £138 and £184 per month respectively.
Perhaps it is understandable why the National Union of Teachers general secretary Kevin Courtney said cancelling the universal offer of a hot meal in the day “mean-spirited and wrong-headed”.
Valentine Mulholland, head of policy at the National Association of Head Teachers, said: “after the nightmare of bringing this policy in at breakneck speed and all the capital funding spent to upgrade kitchens and dining facilities, it’s pretty sad to see this U-turn.”
A Department for Education spokesman said: “we continue to support the country’s most disadvantaged children through free school meals, the £2.5bn funding given to schools through the Pupil Premium to support their education and the recently announced £26m investment to kick-start or improve breakfast clubs in at least 1,700 schools.”
Best Meal of the Day
The only alternative on the table so far is free breakfasts, which are vastly cheaper at a 10th of the price, and if this is the case, then the catering staff may have to change the menus so that children get maximum nutritional value from the first meal of the day.
A sugar tax on fizzy drinks has just been announced and it is believed that the revenue from that (expected to be £200m+) could be reinvested in breakfasts. The days of the full English breakfast may be returning, with the most nutritional meals being served up to provide energy for the rest of the day.
BREAKING NEWS! Mary Berry has been spotted chatting with Marcus Bean, Nadiya Hussain and a whole host of other top chefs. But rumours of a rival show to the Great British Bake Off have, were quashed as the chefs were united at the annual Good Food Show Birmingham NEC from 30 November – 3 December 2017.
With four days of live entertainment, shopping, innovative products and cooking demonstrations galore, over 450 exhibitors took part. They were joined by an exciting menu of top chefs and cookery experts. Mary Berry, Tom Kerridge, Michel Roux Jr, James Martin, The Hairy Bikers, Raymond Blanc, Anjula Devi and Nadiya Hussain were in attendance bringing demonstrations and advice to the masses who came through the halls.
The Big Kitchen super-theatre was the highlight of the Good Food Show Birmingham. Here the celebrity chefs cooked festive recipes and warming winter foods. This year brought a new element to the first day. Visitors who had booked the session, were able to enjoy a free Eat Like a Local session.
New for this year was the Friends and Family Festive Kitchen, hosted by Chris Bavin. Live cookery demonstrations and inspired recipe ideas gave plenty of thought for the Christmas period. These included ideas for a Caribbean Christmas and the perfect Christmas dessert.
There were plenty of other opportunities for the public to hone their cookery skills in the Skills School. On offer were masterclasses in Naked Cake Decorating with Sophie Godwin and a Sourdough Workshop with the BBC Good Food cookery team.
There was also the chance to learn a range of knife skills from the Zwilling professionals. This included different sharpening techniques, which type of knife should be used, how to use a knife for specific techniques and how to master the pinch grip.
Finally in the Skill School was the Sipsmith Gin Tasting. Historically, alcoholic tipples were almost exclusively served warm as a cosy way to get through the long, cold nights. The Sipsmith masterclasses offered tips on serving the ideal hot G&T.
Whisky and Northern Ireland Highlights
There was special interest in The Whisky Blending Lab from The Whisky Lounge. Blended whisky has apparently been ignored for far too long. So the idea was for visitors to construct their very own blended whisky. Those who took part not only blended the whisky but named it and walked away with a labelled bottled miniature!
Our final highlight was the Taste the Greatness of Northern Ireland Sampling Theatre and Pavilion. This was hosted by chef, Paula McIntyre, alongside a selection of producers. According to the showguide “Northern Ireland is a place of greatness because of a deep down determination to make the best of everything they’ve got. That same determination has taken hold of producers, processors and restaurateurs alike and is winning awards and international acclaim by producing world class ingredients and causing an explosion of authentic producers.”
Perfect for getting us in the mood for Christmas, the Good Food Show Birmingham returns to the NEC at the same time next year.
Fast food and mass catering may appear to be the invention of the 20th century but catering for the masses transcends millennia. Evidence has been excavated at the site of the Pyramids. This revealed a mess hall for the workers, long benches and tables and fish and meat bones. Armies throughout history were fed en masse (possibly not with the healthiest food but fed nonetheless) so catering as a trade has a long heritage.
The modern idea of fast food evolved with the inception of the motor industry where it became easier for people to pop into a store to buy a burger. By the 1950s in the USA, fast food was in full swing. It wasn’t long before heavy advertising and the introduction of children’s meals made it a firm favourite. Today, the global contribution of fast food outlet revenue is in the region of £500 billion.
Fast Food Growing
According to a recent report in the Guardian, the total number of takeaway food shops in England has risen by 4,000 in the past three years. This is an increase of 8%. There are currently 56,638 takeaways in England. They comprises more than 25% of all the country’s food outlets.
Many of the 326 local authorities in the UK have seen significant increases in the number of fast food outlets. Between 2014 and 2017, 20 record rises of more than 20%. Only 40 councils (12%) have seen the number of fast food outlets fall or stay the same.
Since 2012, the fast food and mass catering industry has performed relatively well. Takeaway operators have responded to higher levels of consumer expenditure by introducing higher quality food, often using organic produce and ensuring low-fat, low-sugar and low-salt meal options.
Despite the constant criticism of unhealthy and high calorific food content, fast food is still very popular . Reasons include affordable prices, busy lifestyles and increasing on-the-go consumption. There is also a much wider variety of products available to accommodate different dietary requirements.
With any mass catering, the emphasis is on efficiency and hygiene. This is true whether it is for a fast food chain or a mess hall, hotel, hospital, airline or school. Too many instances of bad practice resulting in food poisoning or infection have been traced to bad habits in the kitchen or inadequate cooking facilities.
An oven, such as the Rational units, must not only cook the food but also synchronise the cooking of each individual element. It should also be fast and reliable in performance. In addition, the oven must be regularly serviced and checked. This is best as part of an ongoing maintenance regime to ensure top performance.
Contact AC Services on 01454 322222 if you are a fast food and mass catering organisation for appliance best practice .
It’s a veritable smorgasbord this week with events related to the food industry. lunch! 17 opened at ExCeL London for two days, welcoming visitors in their thousands. For those who missed the show, worry not, there’s another one, the Food Entrepreneur Show opening this Wednesday. And 5 other shows at Excel.
lunch! 17 offered up its biggest and best show yet, with a new venue, over 330 exhibitors, two education theatres, thousands of products and tons of tasty treats. Dedicated to the food-to-go sector, the show celebrated its 10th anniversary with a packed itinerary. This included a number of influential keynote speakers.
lunch! 2017 saw the return of the Innovation Challenge Awards, showcasing the most innovative products in the food-to-go sector. This year, there were 70 new products presented to the public.
In addition, the Start Up Zone presented a plethora of start-up companies from across the food-to-go sector. 24 companies not normally found at trade shows displayed giving visitors the opportunity to see, taste and source innovative products. New companies included 4SOME Health, C’go Drinks, Doughlicious Ltd, Iraw Healthy Habits and The Hangry Food Company Ltd.
The Café Life Awards 2017 organised by the Café Society took place at the end of the first day of lunch! This was acclaimed as celebrating the leading operators in the café industry, hosted by celebrity chef Theo Randall. The awards “highlighted those involved in the sector who are pioneering and leading the market, whether in the development of new products or the creation of excellence in the high street.”
The Live Challenges this year included the Da Vinci Gourmet Speciality Drink Challenge, the Norseland Toasted Cheese Sandwich Challenge, the Florette Food to Go Challenge, New York Bakery Croll Challenge and the judging of the Café New Drink Innovation Award.
Food Entrepreneur Show and Five Others
Following lunch! 17 at ExCeL is the Food Entrepreneur Show 2017 on 26 and 27 September 2017. Exhibitors, suppliers, feature zones, live demos and talk shows are all on the menu. The show is the best opportunity for any entrepreneur striving for success in the food and drink industry.
The show runs alongside the Takeaway & Restaurant Innovation Expo, Restaurant Technology Live, Bar Technology Live, Hotel Technology Live, Restaurant Design Show and Street Food Live. So something for everybody!
The seminars and talks promise to be entertaining and informative, with subjects such as Marketing in 2017, Bear Traps, The Recipe For Future Takeaway Success, How Sustainable is Your Restaurant? And my particular favourite, Busy Fools, Honey Pots & Burgers.
Food & Drink Innovation Awards
The Food & Drink Innovation Awards at the Food Entrepreneur Show recognise the pioneers that have made an outstanding impact on the food industry in the last year. Four awards are up for grabs to those who have a product or service that is breaking boundaries in the food sector.
In addition, throughout both days of the show, the FoodTalk Radio Show will be interviewing new exhibitors, gaining insights into the concepts behind their products, services, and business. The event is completely free to attend and all of the seminars and features are free too.