Restaurant Trade Shows: Most Popular Restaurant Expos

Nick Mirev
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    Just like other niche markets, the restaurant industry is rapidly changing. Currently, the usage of AI in restaurants seems to be one of the major trends alongside sustainability and eco-friendly restaurants. One of the easiest ways to stay in the loop with the dynamics in the food service industry is by attending restaurant trade shows and expos. These events gather thousands of professionals under one roof. Attendees have the opportunity to chat with exhibitors, find new partners, and see the latest technologies in the sector. As we shared in our articles about wholesale trade shows, these events often play an important role in the B2B omnichannel marketing of products and service providers in the industry. They allow them to showcase their business to a crowd full of professionals in the sector. That’s why attending major restaurant trade shows and expos is a must for reputable companies in the food service industry.

    Key takeaway: There are dozens of restaurant trade shows and exhibitions in the US every year. Some of them cover a wide range of topics while others focus on specific aspects of the industry like software or plant-based food and beverages. The networking opportunities and the chance to meet new potential customers and partners are the main reasons why experts attend or exhibit at restaurant trade shows.
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    Benefits of Attending Restaurant Trade Shows

    Why Exhibit at Restaurant Trade Shows

    Exhibiting at expos has the potential to bring a lot of business to your company. Service providers like financial institutions, marketing agencies, and software companies that specialize in the food service industry often showcase their custom-tailored solutions to professionals from the sector. Restaurant trade shows are a unique type of marketplace where people find suppliers of various goods and services. Furthermore, these events give businesses the chance to improve their relations with existing customers.

    A lot of companies use the opportunity to exhibit at expos as a way to present new features or a new line of products to thousands of professionals from the sector. In addition, these corporate events can be a way to check the competition.

    Why Attend Restaurant Trade Shows

    Attending conventions and trade fairs is a great way to stay in touch with the industry. Companies that send team members to these business events usually set goals for them. These goals vary from finding new distributors of restaurant supplies to examining the trends in the field of restaurant automation.

    The possibility of networking is a major benefit of attending expos. During the days of these events, professionals can share experiences with other movers and shakers in the sector. International visitors can also share the trends in their markets and plan for the future of their business.

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    Popular Restaurant Trade Shows

    The National Restaurant Show

    This trade show is among the biggest events in the restaurant and foodservice sectors. The National Restaurant Show is an annual event in Chicago. With more than 50,000 professionals from over 100 countries attending, it is a must-attend event for restaurant managers, owners of catering businesses, and companies looking for customers in the restaurant industry.

    Bar and Restaurant Expo

    With more than 13,000 professional visitors, this annual event offers attendees and exhibitors multiple opportunities for networking and meeting new partners. During the conference and educational panels, people have the chance to meet with movers and shakers from successful restaurant businesses. Furthermore, the event covers a variety of themes. From restaurant marketing and guest experience to operations, the Bar and Restaurant Expo in Las Vegas showcases the trends in the food and beverage market.

    Winter and Summer Fancy Food Shows

    These two events have a decade-long history. The Winter and Summer Fancy Food Shows are among the biggest trade shows for specialty food. Exhibitors and attendees include distributors, retailers, restaurant and hospitality groups, grocery stores, and other professionals from the specialty food sector. This event is especially suitable for B2B distributor marketing as wholesalers can showcase their products to thousands of potential customers.

    Food Processing Expo

    Since 1905, California has been the home of the Food Processing Expo. It’s an event that gathers the movers and shakers from the processing industry in California. Around a quarter of the attendees come from other parts of the US. In addition to industry suppliers and businesses in the food processing sector, this event also attracts professionals from educational institutions, representatives of government agencies, and other stakeholders.

    Plant Based World Expo

    From plant-based milk to dairy-free yogurt alternatives, an increasing number of customers look for plant-based food and beverage products. Plant Based World Expo gathers thousands of professionals from this rapidly growing sector. Whether you’re looking for ways to incorporate these high-demand products in your business or wish to find suppliers that offer a wide range of plant-based products, this event is the answer.

    Natural Products Expo West & East

    These two events focus on sustainability and natural ingredients. As eco-friendly policies become more important for consumers, a growing number of businesses aim to integrate such practices into their processes. That’s why the Natural Products Expos see a growing number of attendees and exhibitors every year.

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    Frequently Asked Questions about Restaurant Trade Shows

    BlueCart is the reliable option for wholesalers and vendors who are looking for an easy solution to showcase their products and automate various business processes. Our team understands the troubles and trends in the food service and wholesale industries. Thus, you’ll find useful information on various topics in our blog.

    Are Restaurant Trade Shows the Same as Expos?

    No, there are differences between the terms trade show, expo, and trade fair. Trade shows are not strictly B2B events. They are public and open for visitors who wish to see the latest restaurant industry trends. Trade shows are a better option for exhibitors who wish to showcase new products and services and their primary objective is to increase brand awareness. Trade fairs, on the other hand, are either closed or have a high attendance fee. This makes them suitable only for professionals in the industry. Trade fairs are more suitable for direct B2B interactions and have a higher potential to strike deals and partnerships. Expos usually cover various topics and often include entertainment, exhibits, and networking sessions. The terms expo, trade fair, and trade show are often used interchangeably.

    What Businesses Attend Restaurant Trade Shows?

    Expos and trade fairs are visited by a wide range of businesses. They sent their representatives either as attendees or a full team of professionals to exhibit their products and services. Here are some of the main visitors of restaurant trade shows.

    1. Restaurant operators.
    2. Suppliers from the food and beverage industry.
    3. Professionals from the hospitality industry.
    4. Software companies and restaurant technology providers specializing in the food service and hospitality sectors.
    5. Marketing and consultant agencies.
    6. Representatives of financial and insurance institutions.

    How to Prepare for Restaurant Trade Shows?

    The most important task when preparing for any trade fair or expo is to set goals for this event. They should be based on your business objectives. These goals can be related to finding new customers or finding software suppliers. Make sure to also prepare business-wise. Any new features, products, or services can be shown to multiple managers from the restaurant industry at these events. Also, prepare various promotional materials starting from business cards to more elaborate ones like e-books. Whether you’re a broadline distributor looking for new customers or you wish to present new features of your restaurant sales forecast software, restaurant trade shows are a great place to do that.

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