Upcoming Restaurant Trade Shows & Why You Should Attend

Restaurant trade shows

Posted: Mar. 08, 2018

As a restaurant owner or manager, you may feel too busy to even think about attending trade shows, but you should try and find some time; here are a few reasons why.

You might have a concrete reason for attending, like needing a kitchen revamp, a new restaurant POS system, or an equipment upgrade. You might feel that your menu needs a refresh and you’re out of ideas, or you might just need to get your finger back on the pulse of what’s hot in the restaurant scene. No matter what, a trade show is a great place to find what you’re looking for.

Trade Shows can be national or regional, big or small, but you can usually count on a few things.

  • Attending seminars with industry experts
  • Learning about the latest trends
  • Getting hands-on experiences with new technologies
  • Brainstorming and networking with fellow restaurateurs
  • Finding competitive deals from multiple vendors
  • Tasting delicious food and drink samples
  • Accumulating new menu ideas

One of the biggest shows of the year is the NRA show in Chicago. (That show gets its own blog and if you subscribe now you’ll be sure not to miss it.) But before May there are a couple of great shows to think about attending, specifically the International Pizza Expo March 19-22 and the Nightclub & Bar Show March 26-28, both in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada. Attending both might be a stretch, but with their distinct differences, choosing the right one for your needs shouldn’t be hard.

The International Pizza Expo

The International Pizza Expo is the world’s largest pizza industry show and 2018 will be its 34th annual event. In 2017 there were over 500 exhibitors and over 7,000 attendees. Attendees include owners, operators, and managers of pizzerias or pizza-concept restaurants, and exhibitors include suppliers of everything from actual pizza ingredients, to kitchen equipment, marketing solutions, and pizza point of sale systems.

The Pizza Expo is not open to the general public which means you know you’re networking with people with either your same pain points, or those with some innovative solutions to those pain points. The Expo features five days packed with educational sessions on everything from dough fermentation to hiring best practices, as well as demos on subjects like Gluten-Free Top Sellers. If you operate a pizzeria and wonder what to do about all those third-party delivery options, the International Pizza Expo is the show for you.    

Come Visit Us at The Pizza Expo, Booth #2653

The Nightclub & Bar Show

The Nightclub & Bar Show (NCB) is bigger and slightly more inclusive than the Pizza Expo. Any restaurant or pizzeria with a bar or a cocktail menu can benefit from this show right alongside nightclubs and sports bars. The show is a one-stop shop for bar professionals, including not only owners and managers, but also bartenders and mixologists looking to learn the latest trends and convince owners and managers to spend some money on the latest technology, like bar point of sale systems.

NCB is three days rather than five which might be a little easier for busy restaurateurs. There is still plenty of excitement packed into those three days, however. There are seminars, workshops, keynote speakers, trainings, and more. NCB offers different educational tracks for attendees, which helps you to focus on what you need to learn without getting distracted. Tracks include Operations & Management, Beverage Programming, Marketing & Promotions, and more. Sessions range from Mixology Training, to Bar Design, to Social Media Best Practices, and Food Cost Controls. There really is something for everyone.

Another thing the NCB Show is known for is throwing some killer parties. Of course, you are there to learn serious things about an industry you are passionate about, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself. And technically you’ll still be working; attending a well-thrown party at a destination event space in Las Vegas is a great way to learn how to throw a similar party back at your venue. NCB parties are free with a VIP Pass or Expo Plus Pass.  After the amount of walking and learning you’ll be doing during the day, you’ll deserve to unwind at night.

Come Visit Us at NCB, Booth #831

Here are a few tips to help you out no matter which show you attend. These shows can be overwhelming and without some pre-planning you could find your time being a blur of activity without a whole lot of solid takeaway.

  • Make a list of your pain points before you walk into a room with 500+ vendors
  • Choose 3-5 education sessions and schedule around them
  • Schedule meetings with your must-see vendors so you don’t run out of time
  • Save energy for socializing; networking is a huge part of a successful trade show

Hopefully, restaurant trade shows are part of your business strategy and budget. This blog only covers two trade shows and there are so many to choose from each year. Lavu will be exhibiting at several shows in 2018, including the International Pizza Expo, Booth #2653, and the Nightclub & Bar Show, Booth #831. We’ll keep writing blogs to let you know where we’ll be and what you can expect to find at the shows. We’d love for you to stop by and say hi or even schedule a visit with us.

The restaurant industry experiences so much innovation year-round that, as a busy restaurant operator, it is next to impossible to keep track of it all. From new trends in food to exciting new technology, trade shows are a great way to learn all the latest in one place. And if you get to spend part of your time feasting on food samples or sipping on cocktails, it’s really a no-brainer.

 

Posted: Mar. 08, 2018 | Written By: Hilary Wainwright

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