seminars + demonstrations

Attendees of the Mid-America Restaurant Expo have full access to our dynamic exhibit hall, where more than 300 exhibiting companies show their equipment and share their edibles. But for no extra charge, they also have full access to an incredible lineup of 50 educational and business-building seminars.

Expo programming will focus on the innovation, technology and trends transforming the foodservice industry and include the following presentations. 

Sunday, January 28

8:00 a.m.

Attendee Registration Opens

Hall B

9:00 a.m.

Pizza Pizzazz Competition

Competition Area

10:00 a.m.

Show Floor Opens

 

10:30 a.m.

Marketing Your Store Inside & Out
Joe Fields, Whipty-Do

Since we’re surrounded by advertisements, we assume marketing is an off-premise effort. But research shows that great in-store marketing plays the most important role in driving profit-boosting incremental sales and upcharges. Learn how to make an inside job of marketing in this seminar.

Dessert Stage 

10:30 a.m.

Artificial Intelligence for the Restaurant Industry
Lauren Maddern, Dayhuff Group

Artificial intelligence used to be the stuff of sci-fi movies, but in the real world it’s become a powerful tool for improving a host of operational issues in your restaurant. Sit in on this seminar to learn how “A.I.” can help with everything from cooking the perfect burger to managing customer insights and feedback.

Technology & Trends Stage

10:30 a.m.

Food Truck Technology 101: Skillful Scheduling

Managing where your food truck will be and when takes organized effort. In this seminar, we’ll discuss effective booking, the best way to find a replacement truck if yours can’t be there, and how to operate legally in the public right of way.

Food Truck Park 

11:00 a.m.

Executive Leadership Panel Discussion
Gary Callicoat, President, Rusty Bucket Restaurant & Tavern
Chuck Kline, Senior VP of Operations, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants
Kristen Hinshaw, HR Director, Rusty Bucket Restaurant & Tavern

Some of the stiffest challenges faced by every restaurant company include employee retention, managing a Millennial workforce and creating a company culture that meets everyone’s needs. Gain the wisdom of these expert restaurant operators in this engaging and informative discussion.

Innovation Stage 

11:00 a.m.

Proven Menu Engineering Techniques
Mark Kelnhofer, Return On Ingredients

Menu engineering starts with accurate recipe costing. Let Mark Kelnhofer lead you through the steps to re-engineer your menu for success and profitability utilizing his proven methods. He’ll show you that the proper data combined with your passion for your operation can assist you in a healthier bottom line.

B 140

11:00 a.m.

Marketing to Millennials in Today's Influencer-Driven Landscape
Kate Finley, Belle Communications

Engaging social media influencers has become one of the most powerful ways to build relationships between your brand and new customers. Learn how to do that through easily actionable, cost-effective strategies to engage influencers and create brand ambassadors through Millennial-driven social medial platforms.

B 142

11:00 a.m.

Real Estate: What Restaurant Owners Can’t Afford to Overlook
Kerry Boyle, Isaac Wiles

Of all the reasons a great restaurant concept may thrive or die, real estate choices could be the most influential. Learn the essentials of lease agreements—percentage rent, CAM, tenant allowance, right to terminate and more—that will help you make the most affordable and profitable decision for your next location.

B 144 
11:30 a.m. 

Food Truck Operators’ Forum
Members of the Central Ohio Food Truck Association

Join us for a frank and fun roundtable discussion with some top Central Ohio's food truck operators. 

Food Truck Park

12:30 p.m.

Keynote Address:
A Culinary demonstration by celebrity chef, restaurateur and television star MICHAEL SYMON

Demo Stage

1:30 p.m.

Food Truck Safety: Fire Code Knowledge

Food truck fire codes are ever-evolving. Learn the nuances of these important rules from the Columbus Fire Prevention Bureau.

Food Truck Park 

2:00 p.m.

Building a Brand for Sale: The Legal Side of Going from 3 to 30 Restaurants and then Cashing Out
Bruce Burkholder, Isaac Wiles

Building a profitable business is one thing, but cashing out through selling it is a complex and nuanced effort. This seminar will discuss the details of preparing for the “end game” of selling and transferring that business to another party.

Innovation Stage 

2:00 p.m.

YouTube and Live Video to Promote Your Business
Steve Christensen, Industry Consultant

TV and radio advertising can cost a fortune, but a Facebook Live! chat or YouTube video costs nothing but the time you invest into it. Learn how to leverage the power of these mainstream social media channels to promote your business cost free!

Dessert Stage

2:00 p.m.

Order Up: Building Business with Self-Serve Tech
Michael Wills, Apex Supply Chain Technologies

Ever think restaurant operators could learn something from the Cincinnati Reds? They can in this seminar, which discusses the advantages to be gained—and arguably needed—from self-serve automation that increases throughput and customer convenience.

Technology & Trends Stage

2:00 p.m.

Food Safety: Implementing a Sous Vide Cooking Program the Right Way 
Brian Kellerman, Kellerman Consulting

The precision and control provided by sous vide cooking leads many chefs to adopt this culinary technique. But for all its incredible benefits, the technology requires disciplined management to ensure food is served safely. Join us to learn the details of this widely desired but not always correctly used cooking technique.

B 140 

2:00 p.m.

AI in Restaurants and Food Services - An Overview of Impact
Dan Faggella, TechEmergence

Artificial intelligence has achieved the status of "buzzword" - but what real impact will it have on restaurants and food services businesses in the next 2-3 years? What applications could be useful for business owners today, and which are totally unrealistic and overhyped? In this session, TechEmergence CEO Dan Faggella will explore the current use-cases and applications of AI in language that business leaders can understand. Insights will be drawn from TechEmergence's own research into AI in food services.

B 142

2:00 p.m.

5 Things that will Make You the Most Profits in Catering
Sandy Korem, The Catering Coach

Almost anyone can have high gross sales in catering, but few master the skills that yield great net profits. In this session you’ll learn the five keys of catering business management that ensure your events generate the bottom-line results you want.

B 144

2:30 p.m.

Cutting Edge Solutions and 2018 Food Trends
Chef Jennifer Kagy, Sysco Cincinnati

Learn what foods are on trend for 2018 during this interactive and exciting demonstration that’s sure to leave your mind brimming with new menu ideas.

Demo Stage 

2:30 p.m.

Food Truck Insights: Finding the Right Builder

Many claim to be able to build your food truck, but not all are experts. Join us for this insightful discussion with local food truck builders and learn how to choose the best food truck builder for your needs.

Food Truck Park 

3:00 p.m.

Partnering with Restaurants to Develop Custom Catering Programs
Larry Clark, Made From Scratch Catering

Caterers are experts at preparing fresh food off premise, but a developing trend is serving food prepared by others such as local restaurants. Learn how to leverage other businesses’ food by adding it to your lineup of catering offerings.

Innovation Stage

3:30 p.m.

Tips for an Effective Digital Marketing Strategy
Marc Hawk, RevLocal

When it comes to low-cost, high-impact awareness for your operation, digital marketing is the best way for businesses to reach more consumers. Learn how to build the most effective digital marketing strategy that includes optimizing your website, reaching more customers through social media, and generating good leads with content marketing.

Technology & Trends Stage

3:30 p.m.

The Key to Finding Good Employees and Increasing Customer Satisfaction
David Scott Peters, The Restaurant Expert

Employee training sounds simple, but it’s often ignored and undervalued—even when studies show businesses commonly lose customers to bad customer service. In this seminar you’ll learn how to attract and keep good restaurant employees through effective, ongoing training.

B 142

3:30 p.m.

Tackling Local Search Engine Optimization
Michael Terranova, Optimize Marketing

This class will take you through some of the industry's best practices when it comes to local search engine optimization. As a business owner, you have to ask yourself, what are you doing with online search that sets you apart from the competition? We will take a closer look at the factors that affect local search and tips for enhancing your brand.

B 144 

3:30 p.m.

Pizza Pizzazz Awards

Competition Area

4:00 p.m.

Chef Demonstration: Beef. Accented by Alcohol
Chef Chris Tostenson, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff

The foodservice industry has advanced way beyond simply cooking and pairing food with wine. Now chefs (and consumers) are experimenting with hard alcohol, beer and cider in a variety of menu and home use applications. Chef Chis will discuss how he approaches cooking and pairing beef with alcohol and how the hot trends in foodservice influence his creation of delicious beef dishes.

Sponsored by the Ohio Beef Council

Demo Stage

5:00 p.m.

Show Floor Closes

 

5:00 p.m.

ORA Industry Awards Celebration

B 131


Monday, January 29

8:00 a.m.

Attendee Registration Opens

Hall B

9:00 a.m.

CONNECT at the Expo Networking Breakfast

B 131

10:00 a.m.

Show Floor Opens

 

10:00 a.m.

Expo Burger Battle

Competition Area

10:30 a.m.

Financially Fine Tuning Your Business
Steve Christensen, Industry Consultant

Sales are strong and the bottom line looks good, but from a financial perspective, is your business running as well as it should? Learn how to give your operation a financial tune-up that’ll leave it humming through 2018.

Dessert Stage

10:30 a.m.

What is Your Digital Footprint?
Kathleen Chugh, Bravo|Brio Restaurant Group and Chairman of the ORA Technology Committee

Ever assessed your digital footprint? Your business has one even if you’re not aware of it. Join us to explore the digital channels available to your restaurant business—websites, social media, search engine optimization and more—and receive a free digital audit checklist for your business.

Technology & Trends Stage

10:30 a.m. 

Dessert Trends: Mirror Glaze
Summer Schott, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants

Chef Schott will briefly discuss some of the 2017-2018 trends we are seeing in the pastry community.  The discussion will be followed with a demo of a chocolate mirror glaze from the dessert menu at M at Miranova and was also used for the dessert duo at Ocean Prime’s recent James Beard Dinner.

Demo Stage

10:30 a.m.

Food Truck Technology 102: Smart Marketing

Even if your food truck serves the best meals on wheels, if it’s not marketed properly, you’ll lack customers. In this seminar we’ll focus on social media automation, how best to promote the next “spot,” and how to communicate effectively with customers as a mobile business.

Food Truck Park 

11:00 a.m.

Company Culture - Insights from a CEO
Lisa Ingram, White Castle

Few restaurant Ohio brands are as iconic and successful as White Castle. Join us to hear Lisa Ingram, this historic and innovative chain’s CEO, discuss leadership and company culture with John Barker, CEO of the Ohio Restaurant Association.

Innovation Stage

11:00 a.m.

Back of the House Beef Breakdown
Chef Chris Tostenson, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff

This session focuses on DIY butchery and getting the most out of beef subprimals available at retail. Chef Chris will break down (and discuss creative menu applications for cuts from) the beef Tenderloin, beef Ribeye and beef Strip Loin.

Sponsored by the Ohio Beef Council

B 140

11:00 a.m.

Marketing to Gen Z
Kelly Weikel, Technomic

Generation Z represents people born from the year 2000 onward, and this influential group represents your business’s emerging market. Learn what they like, how to court them as customers and assemble of toolbox of tactics that will turn them into fans.

B 142

11:00 a.m.

HR Insights: Hiring & Onboarding in 2018
HR Butler

It’s tough enough keeping up with shifting labor regulations, but in an extremely tight labor market, it’s costlier than ever to retain good employees. Join us to learn how to hire employees on variable hour schedules, how to acquire WOTC credits, and how to use electronic onboarding successfully.

B 144

11:30 a.m.

Food Truck Operators’ Forum
Members of the Central Ohio Food Truck Association

Join us for a frank and fun roundtable discussion with some top Central Ohio's food truck operators. 

Food Truck Park 

12:00 p.m.

Chef Demonstration: Italian Demonstration
Mario Rizzotti, The Italian Culinary Expert and Iron Chef America Judge

Demo Stage

12:00 p.m.

The Importance of Social Media for Your Restaurant
Joe Fields, Whipty-Do

Social media has proven its power as the fastest way to share information about your restaurant, and operators who use it effectively know the increased sales and attention it brings. In this engaging seminar, you’ll learn how to use social media to grow in-store traffic, increase sales and generate positive word-of-mouth.

Dessert Stage

12:00 p.m.

Why Traffic Isn't Your Main Problem: A Restaurant Industry Outlook
Jenna Telesca, Nation’s Restaurant News

Claiming traffic is the restaurant world’s biggest issue right now misses the point. The "traffic" refrain allows the industry to lump a multitude of industry challenges into one convenient scapegoat.  Join us to get specific on the challenges (and opportunities) for restaurants in 2018.

Technology & Trends Stage

12:00 p.m.

Impact HR has on Performance: Foodservice Safety Training
Presented in partnership with the Ohio Restaurant Association, RiskControl360°, Kastner Westman & Wilkins, LLC Law Office, and the National Restaurant Association ServSafe program

The Ohio Restaurant Association (ORA) is sponsoring a FREE in-person safety training session designed specifically for the foodservice industry. This training session includes expert speakers offering safety cost solutions designed to help your business prevent workplace injuries, and reduce your workers’ compensation expenses. Learn to set the tone of your safety culture through the hiring process, orientation, and reinforcing correct behavior.  Gain a legal perspective on HR practices – proving you have a safety program thru documentation, enforcement, and retraining. Be involved in your company’s safety structure by identifying risky behavior, who is responsible for it and where the breakdown in the process is happening. 

B 131 

12:30 p.m.

Positive Leadership = Positive People & Increased Sales!
Jeremy Galvin, Master Pizza

Leaders don’t just instruct, they inspire, coach and encourage their teams. In this session, Jeremy Galvin will demonstrate how to build a positive culture at your company by learning what motivates your team to perform at the highest level and increase sales.

B 140

12:30 p.m.

Employee Benefits: Building an Innovative Package that Attracts and Retains Employees and Doesn't Break the Bank
Jenny Matthews, CEBS; Stephen Gallagher; and Cameron Neiheisel, Marsh & McLennan Agency

Keeping good employees is essential to your business’s success. In this seminar you’ll learn how to create a benefits package that differentiates your operation from competitors’ by using innovative and inexpensive products that will help attract and retain employees.

B 142

12:30 p.m.

Never Be Underprepared for a Catering Job Again! How to Pack for an Off-Site Event
Sandy Korem, The Catering Coach

You booked a great off-premise event, but are you prepared to pack and travel for it? Experienced caterers know these tactics because they learned them the hard way! Learn how to pack for perfection whether your next event is in the middle of a cow pasture or at an elegant rooftop venue.

B 144

1:00 p.m.

Preparing Your Restaurant to be Sold
Randy Sokol, Sokol & Associates

Part of building a great business is being able to sell it for a great price. Join us for this seminar in which we will teach you the essentials of preparing your business for sale, capturing buyers’ interest, and how to choose the right time for you to sell.

Innovation Stage

1:30 p.m.

Food Truck Safety: Fire Code Knowledge

Food truck fire codes are ever-evolving. Learn the nuances of these important rules from the Columbus Fire Prevention Bureau.

Food Truck Park 

1:30 p.m.

Harnessing Your Customers' Community
Steve Christensen, Industry Consultant

Tailoring your business and products to the desires of communities you serve transforms it from just another place to buy food to a valued local asset. Join us to learn how to examine your community’s specific preferences and then alter your business to meet local needs.

Dessert Stage

1:30 p.m.

Five Consumer Trends for 2018
Kelly Weikel, Technomic

There’s no better restaurant research firm than Technomic, and its team is bringing the freshest insights for 2018 to this, the first major tradeshow of the year. Expect loads of news about what’s happening now and what experts at this venerable firm are forecasting to happen in the coming year.

Technology & Trends Stage

1:30 p.m.

Chef Demonstration: Beef. Inspired by International Flavors
Chef Laura Hagen, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff

In the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner Culinary Center international ingredients and flavors play a prominent role in beef foodservice recipe development. Chef Laura will bring her testing experience and stories to the stage with a discussion about beef cuts, ingredients featuring prominently in the test kitchen right now, and show-off some international dishes currently under development.

Sponsored by the Ohio Beef Council

Demo Stage

2:00 p.m.

Three Cost-Effective Ways to Clean Up Your Menu
Alan and Lisa Frank, SOL Pie Pizza

A growing number of consumers want “clean” ingredients that have no artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors or colors, yet many operators fear such changes will increase food cost. In this seminar you’ll learn three essentials for “cleaning up” your restaurant’s menu affordably, impactfully and sustainably.

B 140

2:00 p.m.

How to Avoid 3 Deadly Mistakes in Labor Costs
David Scott Peters, The Restaurant Expert

While labor is often your company’s largest expense, it’s a high cost you can control if you avoid common mistakes. Join us to learn how to dodge the three most deadly labor mistakes through proper budgeting, staffing efficiency and cost controls.

B 142

2:00 p.m.

Drive Traffic and Reach Consumers Through Effective and Inexpensive Solo Direct Mail
Shayne Walters, Synergy Direct Response

Learn how the USPS Every Door Direct mail service can help you reach consumer residential addresses in neighborhoods surrounding your establishment at reduced rates.

B 144

2:00 p.m.

Benchmarking the Restaurant Industry
Vince Stasiulewicz, Hylant

How does your business compare to others like it? If you don’t know, perhaps you need to benchmark it. In this seminar you’ll learn how to analyze your income statement, expenses, sales averages and restaurant industry trends to see how your business is doing compared to others in its segment.

Innovation Stage

2:00 p.m.

Burger Battle Awards

Competition Area

2:30 p.m.

Food Truck Insights: Power Up!

Proper wiring is vital to the success of your food truck. Learn from professional electricians how yours should be wired safely and securely for feeding on site.

Food Truck Park 

3:00 p.m.

Franchising 101 - What Do I Need to Know and Do to Franchise My Restaurant?
Michael LaMarca, Master Pizza

Want to know whether your restaurant is ready for franchising? Let Michael LaMarca guide you through the options, the process of preparation and the details of how to get started in franchising.

Innovation Stage

4:00 p.m.

Show Floor Closes