FINAL EXPO POST! [Part 3 of 3 posts] Earlier this month, I went to the international Pizza Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Amidst a busy time at work, I was able to steal away 2 days to see what many pizza stars, restaurant owners, and vendors consider the “Superbowl” of pizza conventions.
This post is my last of three posts about the expo.
- International Pizza Expo- The exhibitors- Food & cool products
- International Pizza Expo- The competitions- International Pizza Challenge & World Pizza Games
- International Pizza Expo- The Seminars- Learning from the best
OH, the seminars.
The pizza Expo was great because of one of its main attractions; it allows pizza owners & operators to learn from others on how to make their business better. Although there was an overwhelming amount of booths & pizzas, the scheduled seminars brought another level of depth to the week. I was lucky to travel with pizza operators Brianna and Jon from Old Town Pizza and Mike & Brianne from DeNunzio’s Pizza. From their experiences and anticipated concerns, I learned more than I ever thought I would about today’s pizzerias and what they need to become successful. Read ahead for a few highlights:
- I sat in a seminar about Pinterest that highlighted its unique advancement in the social media marketplace.
- I learned about PIECE pizzeria in Chicago, and how their quirky ads inspired loyalty in their fan base.
- I went to a seminar led by two general mills dough experts. They talked about all things dough… what happens when the yeast has taken a new form, what if you overchurn your dough, how about and the length of rest before rolling it into the best pizza pie?! All these questions were answered by highly educated specialists.
- I sat in on a great seminar with Marco of Marco’s Coal Fired Pizza. He talked about how he increased the business for his lunch time crowd. He had his employees walk to nearby businesses with free pizzas & coupons and advertise lunch meetings to be held at the restaurant. Also, he delivered pizzas to offices. He made his pizzas available to all customers in whatever capacity possible. These simple tasks helped him become the successful businessman that he is.
- When I learned about the growth of Romeo’s Pizza, I learned a lot about most of the pizza owners at the expo. They were an individual pizzeria and they grew into a >11 unit operation which surpassed competitors and gave a face to the small business owner. He also told us some secrets to finding out about your competitors… top secret . I was inspired… should I open my own? Should I wait and see? All these questions were running through my head.
The combined enthusiasm of all the presenters was inspiring. There was so much energy in each seminar. People were asking questions, listening intently, and giving personal advice. I couldn’t help but feel the urge to try it myself… but alas: my heart is with pizza, but my brain has not followed. One day I can imagine opening my own restaurant, but maybe I’ll be happiest with one of those fancy coal ovens in my own home. It all depends where my career aspirations end up. I can’t wait to find out for myself.
And now, a few pictures!