February 2, 2015 |

The Show of All Shows Returns

By Jeremy White

International Pizza Expo 2015 offers opportunities, solutions for pizzeria owners

WorldpizzagameswinnerThe world of pizza will invade Sin City March 22-26 for a no-holds-barred five days of education, showmanship and camaraderie. Everything from marketing awareness to culinary chops will be dissected, explored and reimagined in a joint effort designed to elevate the entire $44 billion industry.

International Pizza Expo isn’t dubbed “The Show of Shows” for nothing. When more than 10,000 industry professionals gather under the same roof at the Las Vegas Convention Center, it’s a sure bet sparks are going to fly. That’s why the world’s largest pizza party has been awash with a new wave of fans every year for more than three decades.

“I read Pizza Today faithfully, front to back, and I don’t miss much,” says Tom Iannucci of Kauai, Hawaii. Iannucci attended his first Pizza Expo in 2014 in preparation for opening his first pizzeria. “That is why I decided to finally come and experience the International Pizza Expo. I cannot begin to … tell you how great a week that was. Truly, I learned so very much; things of value, things that I will need to take with me in opening a business, insight, advice, practical knowledge and application. Of course, the connections I made, the people I met, the food I tasted — all an unbelievable experience.

“It should almost be mandatory for every new pizza operator to come and attend this Expo.”

New operators are so important to the show, in fact, that an entire day full of events is dedicated to them. “New Operator Monday” features workshops geared specifically to newbies, as well as a New Operator Reception.

Keynote Speaker -- Jason Dorsey, The Center for Generational Kinetics, Austin, Texas, Chief Strategy Officer

Keynote Speaker — Jason Dorsey, The Center for Generational Kinetics, Austin, Texas, Chief Strategy Officer

Following School of Pizzeria Management Advanced-Track Workshops on Sunday, March 22 and New Operator Monday on March 23, the main body of the Expo officially kicks off on Tuesday, March 24 with a keynote address by workplace expert Jason Dorsey. During the one-hour session, which begins at 7:45 a.m., Dorsey will explore Generation Y and what pizzeria owners need to know about employing today’s young staffers.

A second keynote address by Marc Malnati of Chicago’s Lou Malnati’s fame is slated for
7:45 a.m. on Wednesday, March 25.

A series of concurrent seminars will run from 9 to 10:30 a.m., as well as from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. The exhibit hall will open from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the first two days of the show. On Thursday, March 26, the show floor will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The seminars will run from 9 to 10:30 a.m. only. The show officially closes at 3 p.m.

In between the Advanced-Track Workshops on Sunday and the close of the show with a $20,000 MEGA BUCKS Giveaway on Thursday, a full-throttled lineup of exciting events offers something for everyone. The World Pizza Games and International Pizza Challenge give those with competitive spirits a chance to strut their stuff, while those seeking educational opportunities have the seminars as well as an impressive array of culinary demonstrations from which to choose.

Keynote Speaker -- Marc Malnati, Chicago's Lou Malnati's

Keynote Speaker — Marc Malnati, Chicago’s Lou Malnati’s

In fact, the International Pizza Expo Demonstration Stage will feature five food demos on Tuesday, five on Wednesday and four on Thursday. From dessert pizza to oven-prepared wings to Korean-style pizzas, the range of topics covered will offer something for just about any operator’s menu. The demos will be led by skilled pizza makers from across the country and beyond: Australia’s Theo Kalogeracos, San Francisco’s Tony Gemignani, Boston’s Doug Ferriman, Denver’s Mark Dym, Minneapolis’ Ann Kim and Ohio’s John Gutekanst, just to name a few.

“Pizza Expo is a spectacular way for pizza operators from across the country to come together, learn what’s new in the industry, network, find new ways of addressing problems and search for new products,” says Pete Lachapelle, president and publisher of Pizza Today. “The industry is growing, and what better time to find new solutions and opportunities than at Pizza Expo?”

Pizza expo show floorWith more than 1,100 booths and 475 exhibiting companies, every important industry supplier will be under one roof. That’s a powerful opportunity for pizzeria owners who want to see new equipment, test the latest technology, compare ingredients and look into the most up-to-date marketing programs. And just as the show floor is a smorgasbord of business ideas and supplies, the seminar program is second-to-none.

Well known speakers and panelists — including many well-versed pizzeria operators who are in the trenches just like you every day — will cover a diverse palette of topics such as digital marketing, restaurant management, branding, wages and benefits, catering, hospitality and more.

30th birthday party“The one thing that really separates International Pizza Expo from all of the other general foodservice shows is our educational component, which we are expanding this year,” says Bill Oakley, executive vice president of Macfadden Protech, parent company to Pizza Today and Pizza Expo. “There’s not another food show around where you’ll find 85-plus seminars and demonstrations devoted to a single industry except International Pizza Expo. In fact, I like to think our pizza-focused seminars and demonstrations alone are worth the price of admission.”

For more information on International Pizza Expo 2015, check out the brochure that was mailed along with this issue or log on to www.PizzaExpo.com.

Jeremy White is editor-in-chief of Pizza Today

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