As always, this year’s Pizza Expo was a grandiose affair with something for everyone in the pizza industry. Exhibitors from around the world displayed their best and newest products, from flour, to ovens, to vegan cheese, to boxes, to point of sale systems.
At SpeedLine, we take this opportunity every year to speak with many of our customers in person, and learn more about our market’s needs.
The morning keynotes are always a must see. On Tuesday, Chris Bianco with Pizzeria Bianco took the stage to tell us about his experience in the pizza industry. He grew up in the Bronx, NY, and later moved to Phoenix, AZ, where he started out in the industry by making and selling mozzarella and tomato sauce to local Italian restaurants.
“I learned things by burning things.” - Chris Bianco, Pizza Expo 2019 Keynote Address
When he started out, he didn’t have any resources like Pizza Expo to help him out. He emphasized the need for community within the pizza industry, and a “better together” mentality.
On Wednesday, Sammy Mandell with Greenville Avenue Pizza Company woke us up with a powerful talk about being creative to solve business problems. When Mandell opened his first restaurant his only experience was a 3-month serving job. Over the years, he’s dealt with many business problems, from employees to cash-flow, and was hit hard by the 2007-2010 recession. He overcame it by being creative, networking, and putting everything he had into his pizzeria.
Beer and Bull
The Beer and Bull is an excellent forum of short presentations (a contrast to the day’s longer, more in-depth seminars) that are open to questions from the audience.
The first presentation was by Nino Coniglio, about social media marketing. To him, now is the “greatest time to be a marketer,” and not enough pizzerias are advertising on social media. He suggested restaurant owners take the time to learn how to properly advertise and target their audience.
The second presentation was by “Pizza Man Dan” Dan Collier. He discussed the do’s and don’ts of profitable delivery programs.
“Wanted to start out with a pizza joke, but I couldn't figure out the delivery.” - Dan Collier, Pizza Expo 2019 Beer and Bull
There are two ways to offer delivery for your pizzeria: do it yourself, or have a third-party deliver on your behalf. The first method will increase your sales by 40-50%, while the second with increase them by 20%, according to Collier. Having your own drivers comes with many costs, including auto insurance, wages, mileage, but it also comes with control over how your food arrives at your customer’s door. “Do it yourself” delivery is half an hour to the door, and hot and fresh for your customers, while third party delivery can take an hour or more.
On the Show Floor
The Pizza Expo trade show floor is where the action was throughout the day. Competitions occured, samples were eaten, and people meandered through rows of exhibitors.
We spoke with customers throughout the show on Facebook Live about their experiences at Pizza Expo and with their SpeedLine POS. Everyone was happy to be at the show, and enjoying their time in Las Vegas.
We’re already looking ahead to Pizza Expo 2020 to do it all again!