The restaurant industry is an extremely lucrative business if managed properly. What’s the difference between those who succeed and those who fail? Well, two of the biggest contributors to success in the restaurant business are knowledge and connections. You can get the knowledge and make the connections you need by going to restaurant trade shows.
2019 is full of a number of restaurant trade shows around the country that can take your business ventures to the next level. Open your mind and get ready to learn everything you can. Here are the top 15 restaurant events this year.
September 27th – 29th
Hosted by the Illinois Restaurant Association, Chicago Gourmet takes place at the stunning Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park in Chicago, Illinois every year in September. The event is the perfect place for people to gather together and enjoy some delicious food before the cold weather returns.
There will be a number of celebrity chefs demonstrating different recipes and techniques on two different stages. There will be demonstrations on just about every style of cuisine, so everyone from vegans to people who enjoy grilling will find something to hold their interest. The celeb chefs will also take questions and even take selfies with fans.
For the people who enjoy a glass of wine or a drink, there will be demonstrations on how to make some great cocktails as well as wine tasting.
Later into the evening, you can enjoy hamburgers and beer from some of the most popular spots in the area. You’ll also get a great view of the Chicago skyline all lit up.
The event is expected to bring a large draw of up to 20,000 visitors. That means that you should be sure to get to your favorite exhibits early to get a good view.
Santa Fe Wine Festival
Santa Fe, New Mexico
July 6th – 7th
Wine has been enjoyed by the most famous people in history for millennia, and it’s still just as popular today. Winos enjoy the annual Santa Fe Wine Festival in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
This is the 26th year that people have come together to enjoy wine. It takes place at the beautiful El Rancho de las Golondrinas. This historic location was once a ranch at the end of the trail that allowed for trade between Mexico City and Santa Fe. It stretches over 200 acres. Now, it is a history museum. It’s also used to host events.
Admission for people older than 21 is $18. Children 12 – 20 are $5. Children under 12 are free. People who want to partake in the wine-tasting must provide proper identification for proof of age.
Everything at this show is local. The wines sampled all come from local wineries in the state of New Mexico. There’s a lot more to do than try wine, though. You can also try a number of different local foods. You can also buy local crafts.
Be prepared to beat the Santa Fe heat Pack sunscreen and dress appropriately to make the trip as fun for everyone as possible.
Texas Restaurant Association Marketplace
July 14th – 15th
Texas does everything big, and that includes their food shows. The Texas Restaurant Association hosts the Marketplace food show every year in Houston, Texas. Houston is considered the culinary capital of the South, so if you want to meet people in the restaurant industry, this is the place to meet them!
The focus of this innovative show is to inspire! Whether you’re just starting out in the restaurant business or the third generation who’s getting ready to pass the torch again, everyone can benefit from the event. It’s a great place to meet new people in the industry who can give you advice and tell you what is working for them at the moment. Texas is a fantastic place to start a restaurant. The industry is booming, and the new restaurants are producing new jobs as well. This means that the Texas Restaurant Association wants to go out of its way to keep the industry successful. Going to this event is a way to learn all the tricks of the trade.
New cooking and storage methods are also introduced every single year to keep all restaurants informed on where the restaurant industry is moving. It’s great to learn about the future so you can keep up.
New Orleans, Louisiana
August 3rd – 5th
The LRA Expo in New Orleans, Louisiana is home to some of the tastiest food in the state known for delicious Cajun cuisine. However, restaurants from all over the country come to fight for the title of King (or Queen) of American Seafood!
If you like Cajun food and seafood, you can buy food from one of the numerous vendors setting up shop. Local restaurants can gain exposure by being one of the vendors serving food. There are also plenty of people from the restaurant industry coming to offer products designed to increase your profits.
Famous names, such as Samantha Carroll from the Food Network’s show Cajun Aces, will be demonstrating for the crowd with guest appearances. She can draw a crowd so be sure to get there early!
September 8th – 10th
Every restaurant owner knows that the restaurant industry relies on the technology it used to stay competitive with the competition and increase profits in a number of different ways. FSTEC at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas is the perfect place for these two industries to come together.
The event is designed to teach people who may be well-educated in food how technology is changing, and how it can affect their restaurant. There are a number of things to cover from POS systems, inventory systems, and payroll systems. The easier the backend operations can be, the more time a restaurant owner can focus on managing the restaurant. New, efficient ways of handling the paperwork will make your day to day operations much easier.
Speakers range from a wide range of experience from Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, to Adam Savage, host of Mythbusters. Check the schedule to see the full list of speakers and go to your favorites. You can even get the chance to meet some of the speakers and get a picture taken with them.
If you want to grow as a business, you need the technology to help you do so. Restaurant owners will be able to tell you exactly how to use technology to your advantage. They were able to do it, and you can do it, too.
Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show
September 15th and 17th
The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, is the largest show in the southeast. All people in the restaurant industry are invited to learn how to create a winning team, making your restaurant run efficiently, trends, marketing, health, and cocktails.
There is a large emphasis on healthy food at this expo, so there will be plenty of things for the health nut in your group to enjoy. Vegans, vegetarians, and people who swear by organic food are all welcome. You may even learn a little something yourself.
Mareya Ibrahim and Shaun O’Neale will be there to show off their amazing culinary skills in demonstrations for the crowd. The demonstrations are entertaining, and they’ll have you leaving inspired to try something new yourself. There’s also a place where chefs display their newest creations, an ice carving demonstration, and plenty of awards for the people who have been excelling in the industry. There’s plenty to do, and it’s all a good time.
Pizza and Pasta Expo: Northeast
Atlantic City, New Jersey
September 25th – 26th
If there’s one thing that we can rely on, it’s that people will always love good Italian food. Italian food is known for large portions, plenty of cheese, the amazing atmosphere, and the perfect glass of wine to go with the meal. The Pizza and Pasta Expo: Northeast at the Convention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey is the place where all Italian food restaurants come together to trade industry secrets.
Just because pizza and pasta have been made for a long time doesn’t mean people aren’t still finding new ways to make them. There will be demonstrations on all of the new innovations in Italian food creation.
There’s also been talk about the popular pizza chain Dominos beginning to utilize drones for automatic delivery. The program is still in its infancy, but it’s an interesting concept. If it proves to be cost-effective, more and more chains may start to use drones for delivery purposes as well.
Prices vary from $10 – $40. Prices go up after July 10th, so get your tickets as quickly as possible. Everyone who thinks some changes could be a good thing for their Italian restaurant should sign up to help their restaurant achieve its fullest potential.
World Dairy Expo
October 1st – 5th
Wisconsin is known for its delicious cheese, so it makes sense that they would host the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin. The event takes place at the Allianz Energy Center. It’s a rural location with all of the space required for such a large event.
The admission is only $12 per day per person 12 and over. Weekend passes can be acquired for $35 a person.
Education is the most important aspect of the expo. Learn everything you can think to know about the production of cheese and other dairy products. The 4-H club and plenty of other experts in the industry speak every day.
Meet the cows that make the cheese in person by witnessing the most popular dairy cow shows in the world. We wouldn’t be able to have the delicious cheeses we enjoy without these creatures. The best and strongest are shown off, and the winners even get a prize.
When the day is done, you’ll likely be thirsty. Be sure to stop by the bar for a drink before you head back home. Plenty of connections are made in business while enjoying a beer together.
America’s Food and Beverage Show and Conference
September 23rd – 24th
The Miami Beach Conference Center is going to host the 23rd annual America’s Food and Beverage Show and Conference in Miami, Florida. Over 11,000 decision-makers in the restaurant industry come to see what’s new in the business. There will be 450 exhibitors to show them the newest things.
There are also several seminars every single day designed to answer all of the questions a restaurant owner might have. Some of the most popular seminars include “How to promote your product on social media” and “How to operate a successful restaurant: effective cost management”. Both buyers and exhibitors will be able to find a seminar to teach them something.
There’s a lot of the Caribbean and Hispanic influence in a lot of the food, so if you work in a restaurant with some spice to it, this will be the perfect conference for you! It also accommodates people who only speak Spanish.
It’s not entirely about business, though. There’s plenty of fun things to do as well! Everyone will come together at night to enjoy drinks and go over everything they learned during the day.
Taste of Chicago
July 10th – 14th
The Taste of Chicago is the largest food festival in the entire world. It’s been a local tradition since 1980. Every summer, people come together to eat and be merry in Grant Park right next to the picturesque Buckingham Fountain.
There are dozens of restaurants that set up tents and sell food to the public. Many of the restaurants are Chicago staples, so expect pizza and hot dogs. There are also plenty of other options as well. If you want to avoid waiting in the massive lines, you can buy tickets early online.
There is also music every day of the festival. There are paid shows at the Taste Oasis. However, there are also free shows outside on the lawn. Even people who don’t have expendable cash can still have a good time.
The event gets crowded, so be sure to plan ahead. Think about taking public transportation instead of driving and struggling to find parking. You should also be sure to acquire any hotels well before your trip. If you want to see Chicago, this is a great time to see what the city is all about.
International Baking Industry Exposition
Las Vegas, Nevada
September 7th – 11th
Bakers are fewer chefs and more artists. Walk into the sweet smells and gorgeous colors of the International Baking Industry Exposition at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
There is a lot more to baking than cupcakes, cookies, and cake. There will be plenty of international treats, so you can see what sweets people are enjoying all over the world.
There are a number of different passes and workshops to choose from. Visit the website to discover the entire cost of your unique trip. You may also get a discount if you are a member of a number of different baking organizations. Check with your organization to learn about all available discounts.
It’s a great way for salespeople in the baking industry to go out and meet possible customers. You may even be able to reach out to a new international market, increasing your sales significantly. Attendees will be able to learn what new products are available. They may even be able to go home with new products that will take their bakery to the next level. They will also be able to make valuable connections.
New Jersey State Barbecue Competition
Jersey City, New Jersey
July 12th – 14th
Ribs, chicken, pork, and a variety of other perfectly cooked meats will have your mouth watering the entire time you are at the New Jersey State Barbecue Competition in Jersey City, New Jersey.
There are plenty of barbecue restaurants from the area selling food to eat. You can also take a cooking class with a world-famous female pit master.
If you think you’re good enough to enter the competition, you need to enter before all slots are filled. There are contests for the best meat, best sauce, best dessert, and for. using a special ingredient. There is over $10,000 worth of prizes given out. Winning can even move you forward to the more exclusive national barbecue competition.
The festival only gets more exciting at night. The Anglesea Blues Festival is combined with the barbecue festival, so you can enjoy both at the same time.
Take the trolly to help avoid parking.
Maine Lobster Festival
July 31st – August 1st
Lobster is succulent and rich. It makes everyone who eats it feel fancy. Maine is famous for its delicious lobster, and they embrace their claim to fame every year with the Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland, Maine.
There’s a little bit of something for everybody. Enjoy the food, take place in the cooking contest, buy arts and crafts, enjoy the entertainment, and watch the parade. In the parade, the newest Sea Goddess will be crowned by the previous queen. There’s even a lobster crate race. There’s also a 10k race for people who care about their health. Finally, there’s plenty of wine and beer to keep everybody satisfied well into the night.
This is not just a celebration of food and the lobster as an amazing creature but the entire state of Maine and the people in it. There were always a lot of exciting summer activities before WW11. After the war, the people of the area came together with a plan to raise the spirits of the citizens again. Ever since 1946, the festival gets 1,000s of guests every year. Everybody in the area should come for the food, but they’ll also stay for the amazing energy.
Association of Nutrition and Foodservice Professionals
St. Louis, Missouri
June 26th – 28th
The ANFP hosts its biggest event of the year in St. Louis, Missouri. Everyone in the industry comes across challenges across the way, and this conference offers a number of educational sessions that can teach people how to handle these challenges.
It’s important to maintain your certifications in the industry. Going to the conference can help satisfy some of the credits needed to maintain a number of those certifications. You can earn up to 20 hours of credits if you attend all the seminars you can.
There are a number of helpful products at the conference. You may find new and inexpensive vendors that can help you save money. You may also find new ways to efficiently manage your restaurant. Be sure to talk to any partners beforehand so you can make decisions on any changes for the restaurant.
The connections you make during the conference are invaluable. You may find a mentor who can guide you in the right direction. You may also find someone to mentor. You may even find someone you’d like to go into business with.
Restaurant events are the perfect way for people in the restaurant industry to learn about the new and exciting things happening and make connections. It’s also a place for people to come together, eat food, and have fun! Being in the industry makes the big trade shows in your area a necessity. But they’re also necessary for the people who love food. Most of them take place in the summer and fall, the perfect times to get away for a weekend.
Make the most of the trade show by going to all the applicable speakers and demonstrations you can. You’ll come back with valuable knowledge. You’ll also come back with a brand new appreciation for the industry and the enhanced love for what you do.