Food fans and businesses braved the elements to ensure another strong turnout at a festival which been tempting the taste buds for 10 flavour-filled years and has grown from 16 stalls lining a street in Hull city centre to take over most of Queens Gardens.
The Yum! Festival of Food and Drink served up delights from cakes and cocktails to halloumi and hog roasts and Kathryn Shillito, Executive Director of HullBID, said the event once again clearly demonstrated the wider benefits for city centre businesses.
She said: “All the businesses which took part were pleased with the crowds, but we know the value extends beyond that. If all the people who come to the festival spend even a few pounds elsewhere in the city you get the bigger economic picture.”
Kathryn’s comments were echoed by two city centre businesses which shared a stage in the food and drink demo arena.
Emma Kinton of Hotham’s Distillery, said: “Our Gin School has been a huge success for us, and events like Yum! are a big help in promoting this. People who come to the Gin School often become regular customers and we have quite a following now.”
Allan Rice of Atom Brewing Co added: “This was our first time exhibiting at Yum! and the big aspect for us was building recognition that the bar is in the city centre and has become a fixture on the Old Town circuit, adding to the quality of the beer and the staff service.”
The first Yum! Festival took place in King Edward Street in 2010. Even with the forecast of downpours this year’s event attracted around 20,000 people and was also supported enthusiastically by traders and sponsors with St Stephen’s Shopping Centre, Hull College and Iguana Developments all investing.
Kathryn said: “Ever since the first event we have always kept the focus on quality whilst offering variety in terms of food and drink options and prices. We endeavour to cater for all tastes and preferences and ensure there is plenty of choice for those on a budget.
“Now we find that Yum! has become a destination event and businesses come to us eager to take a stall because they know we can generate the crowds. Even with the mixed weather we were delighted with so many people across a short period of time.
“We know from speaking to our contacts in hotels that Yum! helps to attract people from outside the city but it also has a huge local following, giving city centre traders the chance to secure repeat business by raising awareness of where they are and what they do.”
Hotham’s exhibited at Yum! in 2018 within days of opening their gin school in Hepworth’s Arcade and Emma said the impact was instant – and lasting.
She said: “It was a big help in raising awareness of what we were doing in Hull, and it was a good springboard for launching our two gins, Hotham’s Original and Hotham’s Cardamom Gin. I remember the Cardamom Gin being such a hit that we were selling bottles faster than we could label them!
“During our first year we noticed a big difference in the number of people seeking us out at events like the HullBID Street Food Nights and the Farmers’ Markets. People came to buy our gin and Gin School tickets and they loved hearing our story.
“That’s why it was great this year at Yum! to have the opportunity to take part in the return of the cookery demonstrations, which were well organised and compered. We were delighted to pair up with Allan for a double act on stage. We share similar company values, and they’re another local company with a great back story.”
Allan added: “It was great to meet people who we don’t often get the chance to talk to directly, send them to try our products at our bar and in Trinity Market and hopefully encourage them to come into the city centre more often.”