2017 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 60 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 29

8:00 a.m.

Attendee Registration Opens

Hall C

9:00 a.m.

Pizza Pizzazz Competition

Competition Area

9:00 a.m.

Keynote Address:
Celebrity chef, restaurateur, James Beard-nominated cookbook author and television star Richard Blais

C 160

10:30 a.m.

Show Floor Opens

 

11:00 a.m.

Plexr: Future Oven Technology Available Today 
Chef Brett Freifeld, Bauer Marketing Group

Watch Chef Brett Freifeld demonstrate the newest oven technology – The Plexr Bolt. This oven can do it all from biscuits and eggs to hamburgers and French fries and even grilled chicken and grilled salmon. You’ll want to bring your appetite and grab a front row seat for this demonstration!

 Demo Stage

11:00 a.m.

Social Media for Restaurant Businesses: How to Connect with Your Customers
Kristin Booth, Main Street Hub

Kristin Booth provides a fun and creative environment to explore the benefits and challenges of new social media platforms to attract and drive customers to local businesses. In the hour-long presentation, Booth provides real-life examples, best practices, and practical solutions so entrepreneurs leave with tangible actions they can apply immediately to impact their presence online. Key topics include:

  • How to use social media as an extension of great customer service.
  • How to search and claim your business online
  • How to optimize your social media pages
  • How customer review sites (Google+ and Yelp) play a role in your business
  • How to find your ‘voice’ and respond to reviews (even the negative ones!)

Tech & Trends Stage

11:00 a.m.

Blast from the Past: Classic Cocktails Made Easy!
Vanessa Frost, Columbus Bartending School

With cocktails, what’s old is new again—and more delicious than ever as mixologists add their own modern twists. Watch Vanessa Frost make a variety of classic cocktails from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s using spirits found on most every bar.

Tasting Pavilion

11:00 a.m.

Put People First
Cameron Mitchell, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants

When Cameron Mitchell set out to create his first restaurant in 1992, key to his personal mission was building "an associate-centered culture fueled by genuine hospitality." Today, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants employ thousands of likeminded associates over 31 units, 12 concepts in 12 states. Mitchell's other-centric nature keeps him active in many charitable causes. Come listen to a motivational master who puts people first.

Innovation Stage

12:00 p.m.

Finding Your Passion
Greg Ubert, Crimson Cup

The nation’s restaurant business was built on the backs of innovative, visionary and motivated entrepreneurs. Listen in as Greg Ubert discusses what it takes to tap your own entrepreneurial drive, fuel that passion and develop it into a powerful business.

Innovation Stage

12:00 p.m.

The Challenges of Food Truck Ownership: A Panel Discussion
Members of the Central Ohio Food Truck Association

Sure, a food truck is but a fraction of the size of a brick-and-mortar building, but just like a fixed structure, it needs equipment, staff, regular maintenance, licensing and, oh, and don’t forget, winterizing. Gain some insight about the challenges of owning one of these micro-businesses from experts who run them.

Food Truck Stage 

12:30 p.m.

Kitchen of the Future
David Ash, Zink Foodservice

The technology behind the equipment in many of the best-run kitchens is as basic as it gets. But as space devoted to kitchens shrinks and the labor force to run them dries up, restaurant operators must turn to modern equipment to address both problems. In his presentation, David Ash will demonstrate the amazing performance and versatility of Combi Ovens, ventless technology and induction cooking.

Demo Stage

12:30 p.m.

Using Your Marketing Toolkit to Fix, Repair and Build Your Brand
Joe Fields, Whipty-Do

At past ORA shows, Joe Fields has packed the Dessert Stage to beyond overflow by sharing his message of improving sales with clever marketing. Let Fields show you how to use your existing marketing tools to create an army of vocal fans of your restaurant, and how to unleash the business boosting power of one surprising item—already in your pocket.

Dessert Stage

12:30 p.m.

Restaurant Success Using Mobile Technology
Alex Barrotti, TouchBistro

Mobile technology - such as mobile Point-of-Sale (POS), mobile wallet, and mobile/online reservations — is a hot trend that’s carving a niche in buying behavior and, ready or not, restaurant patrons will expect these mobile conveniences in the years to come. This educational presentation will help restaurateurs sort out the hype about mobile technologies from the real value and best choices, and provide multiple examples of how restaurateurs are successfully using mobile technology for business growth right now.

Tech & Trends Stage

12:30 p.m.

Deconstructing Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon
Meghan Hardgrove, Wine on High

Join us for an informative, fun and delicious wine tasting of the offspring of Sauvignon Franc and Cabernet Franc, the wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon! 

Tasting Pavilion

1:00 p.m.

Creating an Outstanding Company Culture
Jamie Richardson, White Castle

As a family-owned business dedicated to making memorable by feeding “the souls of craver generations everywhere,” White Castle inspires intense from generations of fans. How has a 95-year-old regional brand managed to stay relevant to customers and while creating one of the most devoted work forces in all of foodservice?  Fourth-generation family “in-law” Jamie Richardson shares a glimpse “behind the Castle Walls,” revealing Castle secrets and sources of passion that have empowered a culture of caring and commitment.

Innovation Stage

1:00 p.m.

Get Rolling with the Right Design
Jeff Morris, All-A-Cart Manufacturing

An efficient and profitable food truck is a well-designed, mobile kitchen and retail outlet. Listen in as All-A-Cart’s Jeff Morris discusses the ins, outs and little known secrets of a well-built and designed food truck.

Food Truck Stage 

2:00 p.m.

How Innovation and Technology on the Farm Define Tomorrow’s Trends in the Restaurant Kitchen
Farmer Lee Jones and Chef Jamie Simpson, The Chef’s Garden

An interactive presentation between The Chef’s Garden’s Farmer Lee Jones and the Chef Jamie Simpson of The Culinary Vegetable Institute. Farming and cooking seem like timeless crafts, but in both fields, innovation, learning and discovery never ends. 

Demo Stage

2:00 p.m.

30 Promotional Events in 30 Days
Steve Christensen, Industry Consultant

How to put an event calendar together and conduct small and large promotions to generate loyalty and Revenue.

Steve recommends two or three a month but in this presentation the process will be maximized to 30 events in 30 days.

Dessert Stage

2:00 p.m.

Cyber Security 101
Jennifer Ihrig, Heartland

Now that credit cards are the preferred form of consumer currency, it’s more crucial than ever to protect your card transaction equipment from data breaches. Learn from expert Jennifer Ihrig about how incorporating encryption can boost your restaurant’s security, and how to manage the EVM-liability shift.

Tech & Trends Stage

2:00 p.m.

The Rhythm of Business
Tom Krouse, Donatos

Did you know that understanding the similarities in music and business leadership basics can lead your operation to success? As CEO of Donatos Pizza, Tom Krouse has mastered these parallels to create a dynamic work environment, and he's turned that knowledge into an innovative presentation in which he shares his secrets. Join him to learn about the unique link between business leadership concepts and the works of some of history's greatest musicians.

Innovation Stage

2:00 p.m.

Our Truck is Right Here! Getting Exposure with Location Programs and Social Media
Nikhil Ghandy, StreetFoodFinder.com

It’s hard to sell meals from wheels when customers don’t know where your truck is parked each day. Nikhil Ghandy created StreetFoodFinder.com and the StreetFoodFinder mobile app to help food truck fans locate their favorite trucks each day. In this seminar, he’ll discuss the process of booking with StreetFoodFinder and the importance of social media to a mobile food business.

Food Truck Stage 

2:00 p.m.

Cold Brew Coffee
Crimson Cup

When it comes to coffee, cold brew is the hottest trend in the business. Just us for a deep dive into the elements of making cold brew, while delving into the latest cold brew trends of nitro-infused latte and coffee cocktails.

Tasting Pavilion 

3:00 p.m.

What Does it Really Take to be Successful in the Restaurant Industry?
Bruce Irving, SmartPizzaMarketing.com

What does it really take to be successful in the restaurant industry? In talking to the top restaurateurs in the business, Bruce Irving will share insights he’s gained from those discussions. In his presentation, you’ll learn their mindsets, the technologies they embrace, how they build great teams, and so much more. 

Innovation Stage

3:30 p.m.

2017 Food Trends
Chef Jennifer Kagy, Sysco

Think your menu is cutting edge? Jennifer Kagy’s look into the crystal ball of 2017 food trends might convince you otherwise. Follow along with her as she describes what’s still hot, what’s certainly not, and what will be the sriracha-like scorching-hot trends in the coming year.

Demo Stage

3:30 p.m.

Omni Channel Marketing for the Restaurant Industry
Edward Luby, REBS Marketing

Not only is mass media marketing expensive and not targeted, the results are nearly impossible to track. Thankfully, advancing technologies have made marketing more multifaceted and affordable than ever, giving restaurant operators the ability to attract customers on multiple fronts. Let Edward Luby introduce you to the concept of Omni Channel marketing and teach you how to form customer engagement strategies over multiple channels.

Tech & Trends Stage

3:30 p.m.

Pizza Pizzazz Awards

Competition Area

4:30 p.m.

Show Floor Closes

 

4:30 p.m.

After-Hours Networking Event

C 160


Monday, January 30

8:00 a.m.

Attendee Registration Opens

Hall C

9:30 a.m.

How To Get the Most Out of Your People Through Positive Leadership
Jeremy Galvin, Master Pizza

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

C 150

9:30 a.m.

Excel in Customer-tainment
Steve Christensen, Industry Consultant

 

Open kitchens and the Food Network have taught us that people enjoy watching their meals being made. Let Steve Christensen teach you how to maximize this "free guest entertainment" by turning your restaurant kitchen into a food theater for your guests.

C 151

9:30 a.m.

Staffing 101: How to Hire and Retain Great Employees
Bob Welcher, Restaurant Consultants, Inc.

When it comes to finding and hiring great talent for your restaurant, chances are you'll soon realize that competing with other restaurants and chains is no easy task. This seminar provides tips on how to hire, train, and retain great employees, so you don't continue to face increased recruiting and turnover costs and get the help you need. Learn how to hire and retain great employees and make running your restaurant more stress free and successful.

C 160

9:30 a.m.

Employee Behavior in a Digital Age
Bob Pacanovsky, Speaker/Trainer

With our technology today, we are now being observed in everything we do. Learn how personal branding and business branding/etiquette may affect the customer experience.  How your employees act and behave in and outside of work, affects both their personal brand and the brand of the company they work for.  

C 161

9:30 a.m.

Be-Laboring the Point – Strategies for Coping with Rising Labor Costs
Dean Haskell and Larry DeVries, National Retail Concept Partners, LLC

National Retail Concept Partners will present this program focused on an interactive discussion of managing labor in a time of rising wage pressures and consumer sensitivity to service and menu price increases.  Various operator responses and trade-offs between menu price and productivity will be discussed.  The discussion will also include a case study of a client who is experiencing large increases in minimum wage.  The program will include a presentation and ample time for questions & answers.

C 171

9:30 a.m.

Proven Menu Engineering Techniques
Mark Kelnhofer, Return on Ingredients

With accurate recipe costing as a base, Mark will walk you through the steps to re-engineer your menu for success and profitability utilizing his proven methods. Review with him the flaws of the traditional dog/star reporting and learn about the proper data to be reviewed. The proper data combined with your passion for your operation can assist you in a healthier bottom line.

C 172

10:30 a.m.

Show Floor Opens

 

11:00 a.m.

Maximum Coffee Flavor Extraction: The Pour-Over Technique
Stauf's Coffee Roasters

Not only are all coffees different, brewing techniques to extract each coffee’s maximum flavor vary widely as well. Sit in on this demonstration of the increasingly popular pour-over technique of coffee brewing, and learn the skills of properly initiating wetting, dissolution, and diffusion for optimal taste.

Demo Stage

11:00 a.m.

The Importance of Social Media and Your Ice Cream Shop
Joe Fields, Whipty-Do

Few things are as appetizing to look at as ice cream, and in this age of social media, operators have more chances than ever to share pictures of their best products. In this seminar, you'll learn to use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to tell your brand’s story with high-quality photos. You'll also get help with Yelp to spread the word about your shop.

Dessert Stage

11:00 a.m.

Foodservice Consumer & Industry Update
Kelly Weikel, Technomic

With each new year, the restaurant industry evolves more rapidly than before as new customers bring new demands, and operators create new products and services. Join us when Kelly Weikel shares where restaurant trends finished last year, and where they’re headed over the next few years.

Tech & Trends Stage

11:00 a.m.

Be a Change-Maker
Joe DeLoss, Hot Chicken Takeover
John Barker, Ohio Restaurant Association

To Joe DeLoss, a hot chicken concept is merely a vehicle for changing people’s lives. Join him and ORA President & CEO John Barker for a candid and friendly discussion on how social entrepreneurship builds your brand and betters your communities.

Innovation Stage

11:00 a.m.

Pie Demo: 4 time U.S. Pizza Team Champion Michael LaMarca, Master Pizza
Michael LaMarca, Master Pizza 

U.S. Pizza Team Captain, Michael P. LaMarca is the owner of the Master Pizza franchise in Cleveland, Ohio.  Michael has competed as part of the United States Pizza Team since 2013 and has been voted "Best Pizza in Cleveland" several times and won 4 national competitions for Best "Pizza in America".

Competition Area

11:00 a.m.

Exotic Cocktails Made Simple
Mark Tinus and Justin Kintz, Karate Cowboy

Over the past decade, cocktails have become the star of the bar all over the world. Now cocktail making is taking on an exotic bent, incorporating ingredients found commonly in food with unusual spirits and liqueurs. Join us when Mark Tinus and Justin Kintz from Karate Cowboy demonstrate how to make those once complex cocktails simple, replicable, economical and profitable in your operation.

Tasting Pavilion

11:20 a.m.

Spin Class
Ryan LaRose, Leone’s Pizza 

5 time U.S. Pizza Team Champion Ryan LaRose of Leone's Pizza in Columbus, Ohio will showcase his spectacular and award winning dough tossing skills as well as teach some of the tricks of the trade. Volunteers wanted!

Competition Area

11:50 a.m.

Pie Demo: Dave Sommers, Mad Mushroom
Dave Sommers, Mad Mushroom 

Dave Sommers, athletic coach to the U.S. Pizza Team, is the owner of 2 Mad Mushrooms in Lafayette and W. Lafayette, Indiana. He also competes on the culinary side numerous times a year, with several medals under his belt.

Competition Area 

12:00 p.m.

Workplace Violence, Legalized Drugs & Uncomfortable Conversations

Presented in partnership with the Ohio Restaurant Association, Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, RiskControl360°, CareWorkComp, Kastner Westman & Wilkins, LLC Law Office, the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health and the National Restaurant Association ServSafe program 

The free course, offered as part of the Ohio Restaurant Association’s (ORA) Restaurant Education Series, satisfies the Ohio BWC’s two-hour training requirement for those companies experiencing claims.  The course was designed specifically for the foodservice industry. The ORA along with our preferred safety consulting firm, RiskControl360°, developed this session titled “Workplace Violence, Legalized Drugs & Uncomfortable Conversations.”  This session will discuss the best way to have those “uncomfortable conversations” with staff on a variety of issues such as drugs in the workplace and workplace violence prevention.  Attendees will learn about Ohio’s medical marijuana law from both a legal perspective and the perspective of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ directly from a BWC representative. Attendees will also hear about workplace violence, working with first responders and the legal perspective of workplace violence issues.  Know “what to say/what not to say” to your team during those “uncomfortable conversations.”

C 160

12:00 p.m.

Farm-to-Table: Selling Local, Organic and Healthful Products
Alan and Lisa Frank, SOL Pie Pizza

Alan and Lisa Frank have learned how going beyond “good ingredients” can make a difference in product and marketing positioning. Let them show you how to turn the benefits of “better for you” products into more profitable sales.

Innovation Stage 

12:00 p.m.

Food Truck Smarts: Operate Yours Safely and Legally
Representative of the City of Columbus

As a retailer of perishable foods, food truck operations must meet the same rigorous health, safety and fire regulations required to operate a restaurant. Learn more about what local governments expect from your food truck operation.

Food Truck Stage 

12:10 p.m.

U.S. Pizza Team Athletic Events 

Largest Dough Stretch, Fastest Pie Maker and Fastest Box Folder. Awards directly after events.

Competition Area 

12:30 p.m.

Cooking with Craft Beer
Chef Bill Glover, Hilton Columbus Downtown and Gallerie Bar & Bistro

We all know craft beer goes great with food, but chef Bill Glover wants to show you how well it goes in food. In this session, the Columbus chef demonstrates how to cook two beer-boosted dishes: lamb shank and frijoles borrachos.

Demo Stage

12:30 p.m.

Create Customer Engagement with Specialty Sundaes
Steve Christensen, Industry Consultant

Creating sundaes to bedazzle your customers is one thing.  Having them involved in the developmental process will not only create brand ambassadors but will also give them some real emotional equity in your business.

Dessert Stage

12:30 p.m.

The Biggest Scoop: How Data Science is Propelling the Restaurant Industry Forward

Dr. Chris Holloman and Leigh Helsel, ICC

This session, led by two of ICC’s leading experts in restaurant data, explores the evolving needs of the restaurant business and how data science is changing the face of the industry. Attendees will gain an understanding of how advanced analytics can positively impact revenue in regards to customer CRM, product rationalization, pricing and promotion and supply chain efficiency. For example, by ensuring proper inventory for limited-time-offers and other restaurant promotions, advanced analytics can help minimize the impact of food spoilage.

Session attendees will have the opportunity to identify advanced analytics’ growing impact on restaurants in areas such as up-selling, demand planning, promotion and supply chain optimization. The session also will cover predictive models to forecast demand and best manage inventory.

Tech & Trends Stage

12:30 p.m.

Food & Craft Beer Pairings
Great Lakes Brewing Company

Great Lakes Brewing will deliver a quick craft beer trends overview, discuss how to pair it with food knowledgeably, and then demonstrate with a taste-for-yourself pairing of their beers with popular food items.

Tasting Pavilion

1:00 p.m.

Hell YES Your Restaurant is Franchisable!
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

1:00 p.m.

Get Rolling with the Right Design
Jeff Morris, All-A-Cart Manufacturing

An efficient and profitable food truck is a well-designed, mobile kitchen and retail outlet. Listen in as All-A-Cart’s Jeff Morris discusses the ins, outs and little known secrets of a well-built and designed food truck.

Food Truck Stage 

2:00 p.m.

On-Demand Disruption
Kelly Weikel, Technomic

For more than a half century, restaurant customers have enjoyed restaurant food delivery. Now they use it for more than mere convenience, and the food delivery opportunities—even non-restaurant outlets—is broader than ever. Listen in as Kelly Weikel brings the eye-opening details about what customers increasingly expect from food delivery services.

Tech & Trends Stage

2:00 p.m.

Our Truck is Right Here! Getting Exposure with Location Programs and Social Media
Nikhil Ghandy, StreetFoodFinder.com

It’s hard to sell meals from wheels when customers don’t know where your truck is parked each day. Nikhil Ghandy created StreetFoodFinder.com and the StreetFoodFinder mobile app to help food truck fans locate their favorite trucks each day. In this seminar, he’ll discuss the process of booking with StreetFoodFinder and the importance of social media to a mobile food business.

Food Truck Stage 

2:10 p.m.

Pie Demo: Jason Samosky, Samosky's Homestyle Pizzeria
Jason Samosky, Samosky’s Homestyle Pizzeria 

U.S. Pizza Team Culinary Advisor and proud owner of Samosky's Homestyle Pizzeria in Valley City, Ohio.  Since 2003, Pizza has been his passion.  In 2005 he earned his first U.S. Pizza Team title, and to date has earned 5 U.S. Pizza Team Championships. They are family owned and operated since 1910, "Four Generations Strong & Still Going."

Competition Area 

2:30 p.m.

Spin Class
Ryan LaRose, Leone’s Pizza 

5 time U.S. Pizza Team Champion Ryan LaRose of Leone's Pizza in Columbus, Ohio will showcase his spectacular and award winning dough tossing skills as well as teach some of the tricks of the trade. Volunteers wanted!

Competition Area 

3:30 p.m.

Show Floor Closes