2010 March: Expo News

In challenging economic times, it’s not just about knowing how to produce a quality pizza and understanding your customers’ needs and wants to maintain and grow your pizzeria. Attending an industry tradeshow – even during an economic slowdown – can be the best vehicle to obtain new knowledge, insight and ideas that can help you position your pizzeria for future growth. As an independent pizzeria owner, you may be under pressure and/or worried about how your pizzeria is going to survive. The fact is you may need to slow down in order to speed up your business. You may also need to do some creative thinking to come up with some innovative ideas to boost your bottom line. Attending Pizza Expo can stimulate that creativity and provide the momentum you need to move your business forward.

Below are a few tips that will help you get the most out of your tradeshow experience:

? Time is at a premium. Come prepared with a plan of attack. Schedule appointments with key contacts you want to meet with. Make a list of what you want to learn and see. Review the seminar program and pre-show workshops to see what’s being offered that will have the greatest benefit and impact on you and your business.

? Take charge! You may want to arrange to meet with suppliers and/ or other pizzeria operators to find out what they’re doing and what they see happening in the future. Or better yet, just make plans to attend the Beer & Bull® idea exchange.

? Take time to walk the show floor thoroughly and completely. Jot down the products, companies and booth numbers that grab your attention. Pay particular attention to new products being offered at the show, as well as any new exhibitors.

? Knowledge is Pizza Power! Gather as much information as possible while at the show. Find out what products, services and techniques are available to you that will improve your product, productivity and best of all, your bottom line.

? Take time to talk to industry consultants and experts to pick their brains to find out what they’re thinking and doing. What are the new trends and how can they help or hurt your business?

? Last but not least, this may be one of the best times ever to purchase new equipment … certainly a buyer’s market. The fact of the matter is no one wants to take their equipment and products back to the warehouse. Take advantage of the show specials and steep discounts being offered by our exhibiting partners. You may not have an opportunity like this ever again.

? What is the competition doing and how does your pizzeria compare?

? Can you leverage vendor/supplier expertise?

? Is there an opportunity to expand your menu?

? What can you do differently to outshine and outperform your competition? Finally, write down what you learned at the show and rethink or analyze your business strategy and philosophy. How can you better position your pizzeria in the marketplace? What new ideas can you implement to achieve your goals?

There will always be winners and losers, but only those pizzeria owners and operators that arm themselves with new industry knowledge and are willing to take action towards positive change will have the ability to compete and win in today’s economy. At International Pizza Expo® you’ll gain new industry insight, as well as the knowledge that will help you strategize, improve operations and make the right decision for you to compete and WIN! We mean business!

Bill Oakley, Executive Vice President