Here is the inside scoop for Pizza Expo 2012
Listen as Tony G. talks about what he will be doing at Pizza Expo:
The first two days of Pizza Expo will kick off with remarks from a couple of industry standouts with very different stories to tell.
Tuesday, March 13, begins with a speech—open to all attendees—by Nick Sarillo, owner of two hugely popular Nick’s Pizza & Pub locations in suburban Chicago.
Dubbed two years ago as the “Blue-Collar Millionaire” by Inc. magazine, Sarillo left his first career as a home-builder and dusted off some old family recipes to enter the pizza business in 1995. He placed two goals among his top priorities: creating a family-friendly restaurant that would become a hub for repeat business; and molding a new model for employee culture, one that drives his staff to stay longer and work harder.
That he’s succeeded is obvious by the multi-million-dollar revenue at both Nick’s restaurants, and by the advance interest in his new book outlining his business philosophy, A Slice of the Pie, scheduled for releas in summer 2012.
Wednesday, March 14, will be launched with a 7:45 a.m. keynote by Marla Topliff, president of another suburban Chicago-based success story—the 170-unit Rosati’s Pizza chain.
She’ll share her personal journey from local representative for Welcome Wagon to a position as its national sales manager, and relate how some of Welcome Wagon’s then-novel neighborhood marketing tactics still apply today. But Topliff credits another position she held while raising her children as her truest training ground: president of the local PTA. She’ll explain how running a Parent Teacher Association group educated her in the arts of politics and persuasion, and helped fuel her rise from marketing director to president at Rosati’s, where she is one of the top women executives in the pizza business.
She’ll also address the role marketing has played in Rosati’s tremendous growth and explain how the company’s cohesive brand image continues to solidify its success.
For the 2012 show, we’re adding a new demonstration area—located on the Exhibit Hall floor and outfitted with stadium seating—allowing us to expand the International Pizza Challenge? while continuing the Making Dough With Tony Gemignani workshops and a full slate of pizza-making and hot-topic menu item demonstrations.
The Pizza Challenge will feature four divisions in March 2012: Traditional and Non-Traditional, plus the first-time categories of American-Pan and Italian-Style. Attendees can observe the preparation and judging of these entries and taste the pies themselves to form their own opinions. Winners in each division move on to the Pizza Maker of the Year finals.
The Challenge will also bring back past Pizza Maker of the Year winners for a special “Best of the Best” competition that is sure to wow the audience.
Seminars and Workshops
Among the 75-plus seminars and cooking demonstrations will be these special new sessions:
We’ll convene panels consisting of top operators who are on the cutting edge in their approaches to top-of-mind topics. You’ll be able to learn from the best on subjects including: finding and keeping the best pizzeria employees, building blocks for profitable menus and proven tactics for driving business with social media marketing.
We’ve gone to great lengths to bring in more pizza owners and operators to speak about how they excel in specific segments of the business. Among the operator-presenters appearing at Pizza Expo 2012 are: Peter Cooperstein of Amici’s on delivery, Glenn Cybulski of Seasons Pizzeria and Clovers Sports Bar on appetizers, Doug Ferriman of Crazy Dough’s on selling slices, Clayton Krueger of Farrelli’s on social media, George Hadjis of Oggi’s on building community partnerships—and several more.
Seminar sessions on the final morning of Pizza Expo will be turned over to special topics presented by those who know them best—pizza people. The morning will begin with a Power Panel on social media marketing featuring advanced practitioners of this new advertising art. Breakout sessions will follow: Bill Jacobs of Piece Pizza on his branding campaign, Mike Rangel of Asheville Pizza and Brewing on tapping higher beer sales, Matt Galvin of Pagliacci’s on growing the catering segment, Michael Shepherd of Michael Angelo’s on working well with vendors—and more.
After a well-attended day of workshops and seminars geared toward new operators and first-time attendees in 2011, we’re expanding the offerings in 2012. In addition to repeating Big Dave Ostrander’s workshop, “So You Want to Open a Pizzeria,” a second pay-to-attend session is being added: “How to Turn Your Good Restaurant Into a Great Business” with restaurant business guru Jim Laube.
A special Power Panel—“The $2 Million Club”—will also convene, featuring Tony Gemignani, Peter Cooperstein, George Hadjis, Bill Jacobs and Mike Rangel, all of whom preside over pizza operations that average $2 million-plus per unit in revenue. Their subject: “How to Outcompete the Big Chains.”
And a track of afternoon seminars for first-time attendees is being added to go with the track for new operators that was so well attended at our last show.
Here is what Tony had to say to me last year at The Pizza Expo:
As a side note:
Attending Pizza Expo 2012
will be an incredible opportunuty for you and your business!
If you are serious about your pizza business, just do it!
The Pizza Promoter