Northern Restaurant & Bar acquired by Diversified Communications


Today, Diversified Communications announced the acquisition of Northern Restaurant & Bar (NR&B) – the highly successful annual trade show, which brings together operators and suppliers, representing and leading the hospitality sector in the North of England.

The event, which will celebrate its 22nd edition in March, has become the must-attend event for anyone involved in hospitality in the North of England. The most recent edition, held at Manchester Central last March, was the most successful to date, with 8,416 visitors, 296 exhibitors, and around 60 speakers. The event also hosts the prestigious NR&B Top 50, the annual celebration of the most important and influential individuals within the Northern hospitality industry. This success, driven by the event’s high-quality content and seminar programme, and the quality of operators who come to the event each year, has been led by CEO, Thom Hetherington, and Event Director, Andy Clayfield. While Hetherington will be leaving to focus on his non-Executive roles and hospitality and cultural consultancy, Clayfield will remain with the show and join Diversified Communications.

The event complements Diversified’s industry-leading portfolio, including lunch!, Casual Dining, Commercial Kitchen, and Natural & Organic Products Europe, which all take place in London. Diversified also organises the successful Accountex Summit North event at Manchester Central.

Commenting on the news, Diversified’s MD Carsten Holm says: “It’s great to be welcoming Northern Restaurant & Bar, together with Andy Clayfield, to Diversified Communications. We have always been impressed with what Thom and his team have created, with what has undoubtedly become one of the most important events for the hospitality industry not just for Northern England, but in the UK. Their personal approach, customer focus, long-term vision, and attention to detail are very similar to our way of doing things. It’s also a great fit for our other successful events in this space, with real synergies across the shows, which will result in tangible benefits for visitors, sponsors, and exhibitors across all events.

With our shared vision, and the added resources of Diversified, I know the industry will continue to enjoy and benefit from the event as much as it has in the past. This is an important development for Diversified’s UK business and our team is incredibly excited to be getting involved with this iconic show.”

Chris Brazier, Group Event Director of Diversified’s food portfolio, added: “I have known Thom and the team for many years. We look forward to working with them over the coming months to ensure it remains an essential resource for the all-important hospitality industry.”

Thom Hetherington, CEO of Northern Restaurant & Bar, agrees: “I am so proud of what we have achieved since acquiring NR&B almost 20 years ago. We had a very clear vision for the event, which was to make Northern hospitality feel proud of it and part of it. We wanted to both reflect the region’s sector whilst also informing and inspiring its continued development. We are so grateful for the amazing support we have received along the way. So many people have shared our vision and played their part in making the event a vital and unmissable celebration of our incredibly vibrant Northern hospitality sector.

Whilst I have enjoyed every single minute of the past 20 years, the time has come to hand over the baton. I am therefore delighted that we have been able to find a new long-term home for NR&B in a company that shares our values and philosophy and has a very similar culture and work ethos to our own. Being part of Diversified Communications will give NR&B the support required to drive the show forward, unlocking the considerable potential for the event, its exhibitors, and of course, visitors.”

Andy Clayfield, who will be joining Diversified as Commercial Director of NR&B, also welcomed the announcement: “The Diversified team has a reputation as an entrepreneurial, innovative company in the food and drink sector, and their passion for content, marketing, and above all customer experience, is well known. This is good news for our market, and I look forward to working as part of the Diversified team and continuing to serve the market as the leading event for hospitality in the North.”

The next Northern Restaurant & Bar takes place at Manchester Central on 14-15 March 2023 (

Mayfield Merger Strategies acted as adviser to NR&B owners, Holden Media.

Adam Parry
Author: Adam Parry

Adam is the co-founder and editor of Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.

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