Foodservice Equipment Reports

Western Expo Preview

What do you need? No better place than the proverbial one-stop shopping that is the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo, which will take place Aug. 14-16 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

This year’s edition, which again will co-locate with the Expo Comida Latina, will have three areas of special interest to FER readers: the Expo’s all-new Solutions Center, the Multi-Unit Operator Alliance and a host of educational sessions at the Ferdinand Metz Foodservice Forum. And before you head for Los Angeles, you can get a sneak-preview of more than 40 innovative new product offerings by visiting the show website at

Seeking Solutions

Positioned as the main hub of the show floor, the Solutions Center will be segmented into four “theaters”: Education, Consultants, Food and Beverage. At each Theater, you’ll be able to view, discuss and test or taste an array of new products, giving you firsthand access to the latest trends and operational leaders.

At the Education Theater you can attend sessions on a wide range of topics. First up is a networking presentation entitled “Professional Growth for Women in Foodservice,” taking place Aug. 15 at 9:30 a.m. Later that same day, starting at 1:30 p.m., will be an all-afternoon session on “Trends in Restaurant Nutrition,” in which you’ll learn various ways to tweak your menus in healthier directions.

At the Consultants Theater, you can spend one-on-one time with foodservice consultants and get feedback and suggestions. Topics include staffing, cost savings, cost analysis and operational efficiencies to name just a few. Here you’ll find a roundtable open-house during all three days of the show, with consultants available to discuss core topics of restaurant and foodservice operations.

The Food and Beverage Theaters will feature cooking demos by the area’s top chefs, with tastings, in one theater and an array of beverage- tasting options plus revenue-generating ideas in the other.

Calling All Multiunit Operators

Chain-restaurant operators—whether you have three or 3,000 units—can get VIP treatment by taking part in the Expo’s Multi-Unit Operator Alliance program. Joining the Alliance will bring you such perks as complimentary entry into the exhibit hall for you and up to 10 of your colleagues, and entry to featured sessions at the Ferdinand Metz Foodservice Forum.

Other bonuses include priority handling of your registration—badges will be waiting for you at the VIP Registration Counter at the show. To register for this program, call coordinator Lynn O’Hara at 203/840-5354, or email her at

Educational Programs

Finally, last but hardly least will be the wealth of cutting- edge educational sessions available through the Ferdinand Metz Foodservice Forum, all taking place on Sat., Aug. 14.

Noteworthy sessions for equipment types will include “The Greener Restaurant: How to Meet Your Sustainability Goals and Get Recognized,” presented at 10:30 a.m. by Richard Young, of Fisher-Nickel Inc. at Pacific Gas & Electric Co.’s Food Service Technology Center; and “Trends in the Industry: What’s Hot and What’s Not,” presented at 2:15 p.m. by Melissa Wilson of foodservice research firm Technomic Inc.

For multiunit operators, useful sessions include the self-explanatory “13 Costly Mistakes Restaurant Tenants Make Negotiating Their Commercial Lease or Renewal,” by Dale Willerton of at 12:30 p.m. Also in the same money-saving vein will be “Guaranteed Tips to Cut Your Food Costs” with Menu Engineer Mark Kelnhofer of Return on Ingredients, at 11:30 a.m.; and “Five Key Legal Ingredients to Succeed as a Small Restaurant Owner,” by Andrew Kienle, of Hart, King & Coldren, at 11:45 a.m.

All foodservice operators can find useful tips in the following sessions on hiring, service, and leveraging the Internet and email to increase revenues. The general-purpose presentations include: “How to Recruit, Hire, Educate, Motivate and Retain Today’s Gen Y,” presented by Ken Whiting of Waves for Success, at 10:30 a.m.; “Email Marketing: How to Build A Complete Local Store Program for Skyrocketing Sales,” by Boris Bugarski of mUrgent, at 1:00 p.m.; and “Online Marketing: Strategies to Improve Sales,” by Joe Gabriel of Fishbowl, at 2:30 p.m.

Online Bonuses

Before you leave for Los Angeles, be sure to take a minute to browse the Western Expo Web site,, for new products and at-show specials. You’ll be able to get an online preview of more than 40 innovative product debuts, including both equipment and new technologies. And while you’re online, don’t forget to spend a minute reviewing more than 50 special deals exhibitors will be offering exclusively at the show. Planners recommend that you bookmark this page as it will be updated weekly.

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