Consumer Shows

Waitrose Food and Drink Festival

Number of attendees


Spaces used

Ground floor

Number of sponsors/exhibitors


Event Duration

3 days

Waitrose Food and Drink Festival

a breakdown of the Waitrose event

Showcasing the best of the Waitrose brand and shining a spotlight on some of their premium suppliers, the Waitrose Food and Drinks Festival was a celebration of sensational sustenance and seasonal lifestyle inspiration. Set over four sessions across the weekend, starting on Friday evening and ending on Sunday afternoon, attendees were treated to tasters from the country’s most exciting food and drinks producers, masterclasses, dancing, demonstrations and plenty more treats besides.

In the past the event had focussed solely on drinks, but this year they gave equal importance to food, giving attendees a completely delicious experience. Moving away from the traditional, static exhibition hall model with identical stands, the event was more immersive and creative with a festival atmosphere, attractive to a younger demographic. Displaying Waitrose’s immense diversity of products as well as high quality, the event served to show that their ingredients also represented value for money.

Facilities and facts

Creative venue

Moving from a traditional layout to festival format, the organisers wanted a venue that offered creativity and atmosphere.

Building a journey

Visitors entered through the iconic Wapping Lane gates onto the Quayside Courtyard and left through the Pennington Street exit.

Beautiful branding

Waitrose worked with the unique Tobacco Dock aesthetic to create a stunning branded backdrop to the event.

Why Tobacco Dock?

Moving from a traditional exhibition to food festival layout meant that the organisers were on the search for a venue with a layer of creativity and atmosphere. They loved the fact that they didn’t need to spend a fortune to create a dramatic backdrop; even just the addition of some festoon lighting added an instant festive, cosy look.

The layout of the venue was another draw. While in the past exhibitors had been confined to uniform branded stands, Waitrose gave the green light to exhibitors to bring their own assets. While many chose to use stands provided (coming in a variety of styles), others were delighted to bring along their own stands or custom-made assets. Some used vehicles such as Land Rovers, Airstreams and horse boxes, which were located on our iconic Quayside Walkway.



The main exhibitions are highlighted in purple, while the Quayside Courtyard served as the Brand Activation Area and Christmas Market Village. Demos and workshops took place in the Tasting Room, East Mall 5 and Quayside 2. The Waitrose Champagne Bar in Quayside Bar was also the location for a Wreathmaking Workshop. There was additional catering, using Waitrose ingredients, on Great Gallery Courtyard. On their way out, guests could pop to the gift shop in Little Gallery to buy some goodies for their friends! 

The end results

The event was a festive and delicious experience for visitors even before they entered the venue! Caleño, one of their non-alcoholic drinks exhibitors, had dancers entertaining the queues and handing out drinks. After this, the unique layout of Tobacco Dock lent itself to a sense of exploration and discovery.

Exhibitors were placed throughout the venue in colour coded rooms to help with wayfaring. In previous years, they had arranged rooms according to product, with Wine, Beer, Spirits rooms, but this time they consciously mixed the producers up, to give attendees the chance to experience unexpected products.

Waitrose festive fare was on offer to buy and sample across the event, including in a Christmas Market and as part of Weber BBQ demonstrations. KERB street food vendors also provided a foodie offering using Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients range in their dishes.

Quayside Bar became the Waitrose Champagne Bar, sponsored by Piper Heidsieck, and was filled with flowers and beautiful branding. A Kitchen Disco in East Mall 2, complete with DJ, glitter balls, mixing desk and fake kitchen was a popular place for people to get into the groove after a few gin samples!

‘Meet the Expert’ sessions and cookery demos by Waitrose Cookery School and exhibitors took place in QS2, tablescaping and Wine Tasting at Home Demonstrations were enjoyed in EM5 and pre-bookable immersive masterclasses were delivered in the Tasting Room. Quayside 1 became home to an après-ski themed VIP bar with Piper champagne and Illy coffee.

At the end of their journey, guests left through the Pennington Street entrance, taking a Waitrose goody bag with them!

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