Some exciting restaurant trade shows are on the horizon, most notably the National Restaurant Association Show, which runs for one week in May each year. With over 60,000 attendees and exhibitors registered to attend, the NRA’s show is set to be the industry’s top event. If you are there, be sure to stop by Lavu’s booth to say hello!
Why Restaurateurs Should Attend Trade Shows
Trade shows provide an important opportunity to grow your business, get inspired, and connect with old and new acquaintances. You’ll be able to get a first look at the latest technology, and you can expect to hear invaluable information from prominent guest speakers. Most trade shows are in culinary and hospitality hubs, but there are also smaller shows focusing on the food trade of specific regions. Not all trade shows are all-inclusive, like the NRA show. If you’re a brewery, check out the National Beer Wholesalers Association Annual Convention. If you want to learn more about merchandising and packaging, then the PMA Fresh Summit Convention and Expo has got your name all over it.
For restaurant owners, trade shows are not just occasions to unwind and meet peers. You can also use them as opportunities to establish yourself as a key player in the industry. It’s a strategic setting to promote your business. Plus, you’ll be exposed to new services and technologies. Your finger will be on the pulse of the hottest trends in the industry.
Here are 10 reasons why restaurants need to attend trade shows in the upcoming year.
- Get the chance to ask detailed questions. Are you thinking of making kitchen renovations? Are you changing your point-of-sale system? At a restaurant tradeshow, you will find experts on everything food-industry-related. They’re expecting questions, and they’ve come prepared with thoughtful answers. Take advantage of this unique chance to hear directly from the best.
Write down your questions and know what your goal is in seeking information. At these food industry trade shows, you are surrounded by a wealth of knowledge, take advantage of it.
- Get information about franchises. If you want to buy a franchise, now is your chance to do some research. Drop by the booths of franchises, get to know the people behind the brand, and gather as much information as you can. You can align your dreams and values with a franchise that represents your personal identity.
Conversely, if you’re interested in selling franchises of your restaurant, you won’t find such a wide pool of potential franchisees anywhere else. Share the benefits of being a franchise partner with your restaurant, and be prepared to answer questions.
- Experience new technologies hands-on. Take your pick from the latest restaurant technologies, from operational interfaces to new kitchenware. Restaurant trade shows give you the chance to test out new products before investing big money. You can’t buy everything you see, but it’s great knowing what’s out there.
- Taste food! For many attendees, tasting new food products is the best part of the show. At a trade show, you might find a new appetizer or premade dessert that would be perfect on your menu. Just don’t get too distracted—you want to get the best deal, too!
- Save money. You can get excellent deals at food and beverage tradeshows. Exhibiting companies are ready to make deals; they’re coming with their best pricing, to nab new customers. If you think you’re getting overcharged by a supplier, you might just find a new contact with better prices. Check here for more tips on saving money with your restaurant.
- Attend innovative seminars and presentations. Learning about new business practices is one of the biggest takeaways from trade shows. Experts in your field might share their stories or offer new operational practices that will inspire you to make some changes. There’s usually some pretty nice refreshments at restaurant seminars, too!
Consider being a speaker, or presenting on stage at the next trade show. As a restaurant owner, you have valuable insights to offer. Use your knowledge to help others build their business while building great connections through exposure for your restaurant through public speaking.
- Expand your network or resources. Most restaurant owners are working all week, plus weekends and sometimes even holidays. At a trade show, though, you’re not working, you’re networking, which means you can let your hair down and focus on getting to know your peers. Meeting new people builds your network, and these connections can have a deep impact on your business down the line. You can also check out opportunities to join local restaurant associations, to stay on top of the news in your area.
- Learn about new trends. At Lavu, we are big advocates of staying on top of restaurant industry trends, and there is no better place to do that than at a trade show. Knowing what’s the hottest trend out there gives you a chance to stay ahead of the game at your restaurant or bar.
- Attract new investors for your restaurant or food concept. This is a rare chance to meet an investor you can connect with. Even though people at trade shows are relaxing and enjoying themselves, you can expect both guests and exhibitors to be ready to talk business. That includes attendees who are looking for exciting businesses to invest in.
- Promote your business. Don’t be shy. Circulate among the crowds and tell people about your restaurant or bar. Talk about all the things that make your establishment special, and you’ll soon learn that others are interested in your stories. By doing so, you not only build awareness of your existence, but you might find some new business opportunities!
No matter what your reason is for attending a restaurant trade show, make the most of it. You’ll meet new people with exciting ideas, have a chance to learn, and can share your own ideas. Show up with an open mind and immerse yourself in a sea of networking gold and industry knowledge. Get prepared for your next event and be ready to next step in growing your restaurant business.