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2024 Restaurant Industry Conferences, Trade Shows, and Expos

Whether you’re a restaurant owner or manager, restaurant conferences, expos, and trade shows are valuable resources for gaining relevant industry insight, unearthing the latest trends, and networking with other food service pros.  

Restaurant events keep foodservice professionals up on the latest trends and developments in the industry, offer invaluable networking opportunities, and provide a front row seat to developments in the business.

Why to Attend 

To gain a competitive edge in the hospitality industry, attending food trade shows is a strategic business strategy as these events offer a multitude of benefits. Not only do tade shows keep you well-informed, making sure you don’t fall behind competitors, but you’ll gain access to innovations and information you might not otherwise be exposed to. 

In addition, these events are excellent networking opportunities, offering the chance to connect with industry leaders, suppliers, and potential partners.

Because attending expos, conferences, and trad shows is an excellent opportunity to add to your business-building tool chest, we’ve compiled this list of the top US restaurant events  to attend in 2024.

Must-Attend 2024 Events

Bar & Restaurant Expo, Las Vegas, NV

When: March 18-20, 2024

Where: Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV

Who: Bar and restaurant operators and owners, franchisees, executives, hospitality group reps, and bartenders 

Discover strategies and innovations driving financial success in the food and beverage world at the Bar & Restaurant Expo, tailored to address the unique challenges facing the industry today by offering practical solutions and innovative ideas for unlocking untapped revenue streams.

From single-unit operators to national chains, join over 13,000 restaurant movers and shakers for an exciting and insightful event where experts and successful entrepreneurs come together to network, share their knowledge, and learn how to maximize profits in the always-evolving food and beverage sector.

There will be exclusive conference sessions, cutting-edge solutions,  and samples from over 500 suppliers. 

Opening Keynote: Julie Reiner, Co-Owner, Milady's, Clover Club, & Leyenda

March 19, 11:00 am 

In this game-changing keynote, Liquid Assets - Turning Your Venue into a Profit Powerhouse, discover the secrets of transforming your venue into a profit powerhouse.

Topics will include

  • Creating Successful Partnerships

  • Building Your Team

  • Making The Best Deal for Yourself

  • The Importance of Understanding Your Brand and The Market It Appeals To

  • Location, Leases and Ownership

  • Investors and Raising Money

More to See and Do

When: March 19-21, 2024

Where: Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV

Who: Suppliers and pizzeria owners, operators, and managers 

The biggest US trade show in the pizza industry, the 40th annual International Pizza Expo will feature educational seminars, workshops, and national competitions. 

Unchallenged as the industry’s leading event, visitors will have the opportunity to network with thousands of pizzeria pros for 3-days dedicated to all things pizza.

With suppliers from across the globe, educational sessions taught by top industry professionals, and national competitions, this event promises to be a little slice of pizza heaven!

When: April 14-17, 2024

Where: JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, Phoenix, AZ

Who: Restaurant executives, especially chain executives.

Over 100 chain executives, financial experts, leadership mentors, and more make up this year’s  speaker roster. With over 2000 attendees from the world of hospitality, you’ll be sure to come away with an abundance of insider insights and inspiration to boost your business.

The list of experts and thought-provoking keynoters, leaders from all corners of the industry, come together to share their advice, wisdom, and strategic expertise.  Lifestyle icon, Martha Stewart, with a keen eye for food and design trends, will share her outlook during a fireside chat.

When: May 8-10, 2024

Where: The Bellagio, Las Vegas, NV

Who: Restaurant owns, managers, virtual kitchen operators

The only conference solely dedicated to off-premise restaurant operations, the Food on Demand Conference will cover themes like mobile ordering, native and third-party delivery, catering, and restaurant technology. 

When: May 18-21, 2024

Where: McCormick Place, Chicago, IL

Who: Decision-makers in the restaurant industry 

One of the largest foodservice events in the Western Hemisphere, attendees at this year’s National Restaurant Association Show can socialize with hospitality leaders, learn about cutting-edge technology, and listen to keynote speakers on the latest food and beverage trends. 

When: August 25-27, 2024

Where: Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, CA

Who: Restaurateurs, foodservice and specialty beverage professionals, and suppliers 

Packed full of educational programs, feature demonstrations, and culinary competitions, the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo offers attendees endless information about menu trends, state-of-the-art design, and restaurant décor.

When: September 4-5, 2024

Where: Atlanta Marriot Marquis, Atlanta, GA

Who it’s for: Quick-service restaurateurs, owners, operators, and manage

The QSR Evolution Conference focuses on the development and needs of quick-service restaurant operators. Attendees will hear and share perspectives on running the quick-service restaurant of the future.

Topics covered will include:

  • Growth and Sustainability

  • Franchising

  • Labor, Leadership, and a Changing Consumer Habits

  • Technology 

  • Drive-through service

Tom Curtis, President of Burger King North America

Katerina Glyptis, President of Tim Hortons U.S

Sabir Sami, Chief Executive Officer, KFC 

Sami Siddiqui, President of Popeyes North America

Mike Hancock, President of Firehouse Subs 

Jim Holthouser, Chief Executive Officer for GoTo Foods 

Scott Murphy, Chief Brand Officer of Inspire Brands: Arby’s, Baskin-Robbins, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dunkin’, Jimmy John’s, and SONIC 

FSTEC , Grapevine, TX

When: September 16-18, 2024

Where: Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center, Grapevine, TX

Who: Restaurant executives and innovators 

FSTEC celebrates innovative restaurant technology in both commercial and noncommercial foodservice, including the latest cutting-edge tools in foodservice.

Making the Most of Attending Trade Shows

To help you maximize your investment and strategize your trade show attendance, we've put together a few tips for getting the most out of these multifaceted events.

  • Determine your Goals

Whether you want to discover new technologies for improving kitchen operations, learn about the latest in delivery operations,  or talk to other restaurant owners face-to-face, write down a few specific objectives before the event to help you stay focused.

  • Make a Plan

Look closely at the event’s agenda, speaker lineup, and seminar schedule and choose which session you want to attend in advance. If there are overlaps in the schedule, make a plan as to which events are most important to you and find out if recordings will be available after the show for seminars or speakers you may have missed. While it’s important to plan ahead, it’s also wise to remain open to last minute, spur-of-the-moment opportunities and be willing to be somewhat flexible. 

  • Make Connections 

One of the greatest opportunities to take advantage of at restaurant conferences is the ability to forge or strengthen connections. Instead of being stuck in conference sessions the entire time, do some advanced footwork and set up meetings with other attendees.. 

Dive into the potential list of delegates  and consider reaching out via email to set up a meeting or conversation. LinkedIn can be a great source, but many events offer custom mobile apps that allow attendees to manage their networking objectives. 

  • Curate a Post-Conference Strategy

Make the most of your investment with a post-conference strategy that allows those who could not attend the event to benefit as well. Share the insights and information you gathered with the rest of your team and make a plan to test or implement what you’ve learned. 

Take Away

As a restaurant operator, attending expos, food shows, and conferences can be highly beneficial for your business. The opportunities to network with industry professionals, discover new trends, and gain valuable insights into the latest technologies and products can exponentially improve your views about how to operate your restaurant. Attending these shows can also help you get a leg up on your competitors, help you to enhance your business operations, and provide inspiration.

And while the large national events are enormously beneficial, attending local and regional events can prove to be extremely worthwhile as well. Keep your eyes and ears open throughout the year and check our blog for the latest trade shows, hospitality events, and conferences. 

By Eileen Strauss


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