March 1, 2015 |

Expo Spotlight: It’s show time!

By Bill Oakley

Pizza Expo crowdshot

It’s hard to describe Pizza Expo in words. You really have to experience Pizza Expo to understand the excitement and interaction that takes place among our attendees and exhibitors. Everyone is truly anxious and motivated to get into discussions about new products, new technology, the latest industry trends and hot-button issues facing the industry today. At this year’s show, we’ll have more than 1,100 booths, 475 exhibiting companies and 12,000 pizza professionals.

Bill Oakley

Bill Oakley, Executive Vice President

Pizza is a favorite food all over the world. It’s nearly impossible these days to travel anywhere and not find a pizzeria. At this year’s show we’re expecting more international visitors from more countries than ever before. International Pizza Expo continues to be the premier global networking event for the pizza industry.   This year’s show will offer an immense opportunity for our attendees and exhibitors to establish global contacts. We’re always seeking new ways to facilitate networking and idea swapping among attendees. This year we’ve reconfigured the always-popular Beer & Bull session to better focus some of the conversations. We’re adding topic tables with moderators who are experts on subjects including dough, service, marketing, technology, operations and the workplace.

The one thing that really separates International Pizza Expo from all of the other general foodservice shows is our educational component, which we expanded again this year. We’re offering more than 95 business-boosting seminars, demonstrations, workshops and networking events for our attendees to choose from. Our speaker lineup includes more pizzeria operators than ever before. In fact, we lined up some of most successful pizzeria operators on the planet. Where else but Pizza Expo would you have an opportunity to learn from a super-successful panel of fellow pizzeria operators from all over the world? I’ll tell you, nowhere. In fact, I like to think our pizza-focused seminars and demonstrations alone are worth the price of admission. The bottom line is there’s always something new you can learn or see at Pizza Expo that will improve your pizzeria and boost the bottom line, whether you’re an industry veteran or just opening your first shop halfway across the world.

This year we made a few changes to the International Pizza Challenge that I think will make the competition better than ever and further establish it as the Pizza Making World Championships for the industry. First and foremost, we’ve added a Pizza Napoletana Division that is sure to attract more international competitors. In fact, due to the prestige and reputation that the International Pizza Challenge now has with pizzeria operators from around the world, we’ve decided to raise the bar for our judging panels. For the first time, we are going to bring in accredited chefs to judge the Pizza Napoletana Division, the finals for the Traditional and Non-Traditional Divisions and the Pizza Maker of the Year competition. With all the money and prestige that’s on the line, we thought it was important to have an expert panel of judges to decide the winners.

We’re always making changes to improve the show and with that in mind, I would welcome any suggestions that would improve the event. Better yet, instead of dropping me a note or e-mail, you could just post your ideas on our Facebook and Twitter pages.


We Mean Business!



Bill Oakley
Executive VP

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