Hotel Professionals

How to get the most from trade shows

trade shows

Practically every major city in industrialized countries offers at least one hospitality industry related show annually, and many more than three or four. In some countries, there may be more than one international show attracting professionals from multiple neighboring countries.

Some shows emphasize food and beverage; others promote primarily equipment of all sorts. Most combine food and beverage, equipment, furniture and fixtures, and today more and more electronic equipment companies show their latest innovations.

Shows also include topical seminars to help restaurateurs and hoteliers increase sales, improve service and food and beverage presentation. Some also include cooking demonstrations.

Professionals are well advised to visit as many shows as they can afford to improve all aspects of their operations.

Selecting the best times to visit is an important aspect.  Daily opening time may be the best, as sales representatives are more eager to talk, inform, and demonstrate, but only if they feel you are genuinely interested in buying their goods or services.

Registering online and paying in advance saves times and money for all concerned. Spending more than six hours in any show results in diminishing returns, as the body and mind get overwhelmed with all the information.

Shows that include electronic cooking equipment provide an opportunity to see how the equipment functions, and how the food tastes.

Nowadays, more and more such equipment is exhibited, and could benefit large volume operators i.e. hotels with banquet facilities, convention centers, large caterers, and airport food and beverage operators are onyol some at come to mind.

When prices are quoted, always ask what they include, i.e transportation, installation, training of staff on location, applicable taxes, customs duties (if applicable), guarantees and warranties, service and availability of service, and whether the equipment complies with all regulations of the country of your establishment.

Service contracts come in three categories – Monday to Friday 5 to 9 p.m., regular business hours plus weekends, or 24/7. All costs vary. Hotel and restaurant shows featuring major cooking equipment by their manufacturers are particularly important as sales representatives on the floor are more knowledgeable than those of dealers.

Each year restaurant and hotel shows “feature” more of trendy goods and equipment.

In 2016, the Toronto Restaurant Show, organized by the Restaurant Association featured more quality bread bakeries than any other in memory. (I have visited all Toronto shows for the past 40 years). Gone are the days of soft, airy, sandwich breads; tasty, satisfying, and chewy breads, either delivered frozen, or semi-baked, or fresh daily, replace them.

Last year many “pizza factories” and other fast food manufacturers were eager to promote their products. Some businesses always rent space display their wares to attract news clients, and to renew relationships with existing clients and to introduce new products.

Upon entering any show, it is important to obtain a floor plan and locate sections of merchandise that interest you most. When you are interested in an equipment and talk to a sales representative ask:

  • The names of dealers in the regions of your property
  • Price and what it includes
  • Are sales through a dealership of direct from the factory
  • Is the equipment in compliance with all applicable standards, rules, and regulations of the country or region of your property?
  • Lead times for delivery
  • Warranties and guarantees
  • Which other properties in your area purchased the equipment
  • Attachments to facilitate work, and if so, at what cost
  • Will the manufacturers or dealer train your staff fully and satisfactorily?

Decisions must be made with due care, and planning, when buying expensive equipment.

The biggest and possibly most important Restaurant Show in Canada is organized by the Canadian Restaurant Association headquartered in Toronto.

International shows in other countries are:

New York Restaurant Show,

NRA (National restaurant Association) Show, Chicago.

The hospitality industry is immense with many sectors including – pastry, bakery, restaurants, cooking equipment, furniture’s and fixtures, electronics, lighting, uniforms, security cameras, and telecommunication equipment are just a few that come to mind.

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