While numerous restaurant industry events await our presence this year, there’s one coming up in March that you may not want to miss. From March 18-20, at the Las Vegas Convention Center, you’ll find the Bar & Restaurant Expo. What’s so great about this expo? Samples. Just kidding! Actually, the samples are great and represent the latest food and beverage trends, but it’s also the place to learn, have fun, get inspired, and nudge elbows with the 13,000-plus movers and shakers.
Let’s explore some of the highlights. After all, some call this the best hospitality event on the planet.
Learning From Seasoned Professionals
You could gain a tremendous amount of information by attending all the lectures and even a boot camp from 9 in the morning until 6 in the evening. I’m tired already. There are those, however, with an incredible zest for knowledge that do just that!
If you’re new to the business, the Startup Essentials Bar & Restaurant Bootcamp will touch on the details a new owner or operator needs to know. This full-day affair covers everything from concept development to financing, finding your location, dealing with landlords, hiring, marketing, and more.
You could also attend Mixology Training at the Jalisco Underground in Resorts World. There’s a morning course focused on the ever-expanding non-alcohol craft cocktail and an afternoon on upgrading your cocktail menu.
Here are just a few of the many more topics to explore:
- Finding a Path to Profitability
- The Tipping Transformation
- Optimizing the Customer Journey
- Demystifying Data
- Social Media Tactics
- The Elevated Guest Experience
- Developing and Enhancing Your Menu
- Getting Found on Google
- The Gen Z Era
- And Many More!
On the last day of the expo, four masterclass options can leave you excited about returning to the business with some extra knowledge. These include:
- Bar Manager Masterclass
- Bartender Masterclass
- Chef Masterclass: Discover how to develop a roadmap to ownership
- GM Masterclass
The Keynote Speaker
Many of you have heard of Julie Reiner, the co-owner of Milady’s (a neighborhood bar in New York with elevated food and cocktail offerings), Clover Club (known for its tremendous drinks), and Leyenda (a Latin American-inspired Brooklyn Coctelería).
She’ll explore how to increase profits, create successful partnerships, understand your brand, raise money, and more.
Getting Your Exercise
Did I mention that the showroom floor is 75,000 square feet? Within those square feet are live cooking demos, the zero-proof experience, and the Cocktail Clubhouse with complimentary beverage samples. You’ll also find the Japanese Food and Beverage Showcase and the Food & Beverage Innovation Center. And, of course, many, many exhibitors.
Enjoying the Party
Parties are, of course, a part of the expo and offer an excellent opportunity to network. The Welcome Kickoff Party takes place at the Ayu Dayclub at Resorts World. Southeast Asia’s islands inspired this outdoor oasis.
The Platinum Parties involve getting into exclusive nightclubs with early admission and complimentary drinks. Are you a general manager? The general manager meetup may be for you, a place to share strategies, horror stories, and good food and drinks.
You also get to join in on the fun at the World Tea Expo with international pavilions from Japan, Kenya, Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam, South Africa, and many more.
Who Attends the Bar & Restaurant Expo?
Unlike some events, you can attend this expo no matter your level of expertise in the industry. Restaurant owners, national chain operators, new recruits, and hospitality groups join the fun, learning from successful entrepreneurs and discovering the latest industry trends.
As the expo states, “If you own, operate, plan to open, or work in a bar, pub, tavern restaurant, casino, lounge, resort/hotel/motel, wholesale, distributor, or nightclub, join your crew at the Bar & Restaurant Expo.” Did they leave anyone out?
If you’re in the industry, it’s a great place to source suppliers (500 options) and test new technologies you may not otherwise learn about.
So, set the date, and get inspired!