The Mid-America Restaurant Expo, brought to you by the ORA, is now in the history books.
Two days of excitement in late January beginning with celebrity chef Richard Blais, who entertained, talked “foodie” and brought smiles to an early morning crowd on a Sunday.
What followed was a completely re-imagined trade show focused on what ORA members said they needed to help their businesses thrive --- thought leadership about innovation, technology and trends.
For 2017, we broadened the Expo to focus on the needs of the entire food service industry, while still highlighting our legacy with an outstanding pizza competition and ice cream experts. We produced 61 educational sessions versus 25 the previous year. We packed in about 4,000 attendees, up from 3,500 the year before. And the Expo featured 282 booths, compared to 205 a year ago, with 113 first-time exhibitors.
See highlights of the Expo in this video. Also, I encourage you to view our website and ORA social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) for more highlights.
Yes, the Expo was bigger. But, more importantly, it was better as the ORA continues on a journey to evolve from good to great.
A special thanks to Bradie Berry and Debra Seiple on our ORA team for quarterbacking the successful Expo. They did a spectacular job ensuring that our vision for the Expo became reality and they managed what seemed like a million details. You should also know that every member of the ORA staff contributed significantly to the Expo’s success in a myriad of ways – planning and executing at an A+ level.
The Expo was a big win for the ORA, the state of Ohio and the Midwest, according to comments from our vendors, sponsors, strategic partners, purveyors and attendees. Stay tuned as we tabulate more results from an attendee survey and a technology survey. We will use the feedback to refine the Expo for next year. Yes, it will be even bigger and better in 2018!
Write in the date on your calendar for the next Expo – January 28-29, 2018 – at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
And, watch our ORA communications for an action-packed calendar of events and thought leadership opportunities for our members, including our Legislative Day on March 8, our Idea Factory, Town Halls, Alliance meetings and our Restaurant Education Series.