Over the years, we’ve seen sushi bars and brick-oven pizzas, organic smoothies and made-to-order paninis. What will be the next big trend in foodservice? And what do you need in your arsenal to be ready? Come to the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center to see the newest trends and ideas in foodservice. Sponsored by the California Restaurant Association, this year’s exposition again is organized by Urban Expositions, Shelton, Conn., marking its second year with the show. With more than 8,000 expected attendees, 450+ exhibitors and three days packed full of show-floor demos and educational programs, the expo features plenty of opportunities to see new things, learn ways to help your business succeed and meet with others in the industry to expand your network.
The Future Is Now
It doesn’t take a fortune teller to figure out what the future holds for the foodservice industry. The National Restaurant Association’s 2015 Restaurant Industry Forecast reports that 76% of consumers say they are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers healthy options, and more people are looking for low-sodium, vegetarian and gluten-free options. That led to the creation of the Healthier Choices Pavilion, which will host about 20 companies that provide new sourcing and purchasing options to help your business deliver healthier options to your customers. Cooking styles and the right equipment choices play a big part in tapping the trend.
The Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo provides an opportunity for continuing education through the show’s Ferdinand Metz Foodservice Forum. This year’s schedule of classes offers a variety of topics, from improving operations to marketing tips. A few highlights include:
â€¢ “7 Simple Systems to Control Your Food Cost and Explode Your Profits,” Aug. 23 at 4 p.m., and “7 Successful Strategies for Driving Revenue Into Your Restaurant,” Aug. 25 at 11:30 a.m. Controlling food costs and building profits not only has a lot to do with the type of food you’re preparing, but also how you’re cooking it and what equipment you’re using. Learn how to become more efficient and drive success with your equipment choices.
â€¢ “Online Marketing Recipe Book for Success,” Aug. 23 at 1 p.m. There are so many new ways to reach out to people, and technology and social media are constantly transforming. Be sure you’re on top of the best strategies with this class.
One of the most exciting aspects about the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo is the show floor. About 25% of the exhibitors this year are equipment manufacturers, allowing attendees the opportunity to taste new foods and try new equipment while talking with the people who know the most about their products. “Education sessions are important, but I think there’s just as much that can be learned out on the show floor,” said Ron Mathews, Event Director. “You just can’t replace the value of face-to-face contact with someone who can really explain the product to you.”
In addition to the show floor, there are a lot of other exciting events taking place to give you firsthand knowledge of the latest trends and techniques in foodservice. Check out the Culinary Clash presented by Coca-Cola, a cooking competition with chefs from top restaurants as well as the Los Angeles Chefs Mystery Box Cooking Competition, where some of L.A.’s rising chefs have only minutes to create a winning dish. Also make plans to visit the Culinary Demonstration Theater, an interactive exhibit of live demonstrations that show you how to prepare and serve the foods trending now.
The show floor and other events surrounding the expo are great networking opportunities for anyone who attends. You will be able to learn what others in your field are doing, compare best practices and make contacts who will be helpful resources even after the show is over.
Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo
Aug. 23-25, 2015
Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles
Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Monday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tuesday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
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