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Insights from The International Pizza Expo & Conference: How Business Should Approach Industry Events

In This Episode

Interview Takeaways

  • Networking and Learning in the Restaurant Industry – Restaurant events can be a task. For industry vet, Matt Plapp, events and expos are an opportunity to network with others in the space to stay abreast of what is happening in the present and coming in the future.
  • Maximizing Business Opportunities at Industry Events – Industry events are much more than a showcase. Rev Ciancio believes if restaurants attend events, such as the Pizza Expo, only to compete, they are missing an enormous opportunity.
  • Adjusting Brand Communication to Fit the Platform – Felix Bazgan understands in order to have a strong brand voice, businesses need to understand their audience. In today’s landscape, that audience changes depending on which social media platform is being used.

The International Pizza Expo & Conference isn’t just about dough and toppings—it’s a hub of industry insights and networking opportunities. 

Cali BBQ Media Owner and Digital Hospitality host Shawn Walchef attended the event to get insights from industry leaders, like Matt Plapp of America’s Best Restaurants and Rev Ciancio the founder of Branded Restaurant Marketing Summit

Plapp spoke passionately about the importance of breaking free from the daily grind of restaurant operations to stay ahead of the curve. 

“You can’t leave. And you turn around, and it’s four or five years later, and you’re four or five years behind.” he warns. Instead, events like The Pizza Expo offer a chance to network, learn about emerging trends, and forge valuable connections.

Ciancio echoes this sentiment, stressing that successful participation in industry events goes beyond mere competition. For him, the Pizza Expo presents a wealth of opportunities for restaurants to grow and evolve their businesses, beyond just showcasing their skills.

“if you’re coming here just to compete in the pizza competition, like, I think you’re leaving stuff on the table.” he expresses. “This is a land of opportunity, and you should walk in here and go, what can I get out of this?”

Felix Bazgan, the Director of Marketing at Cambro, speaks to Walchef about adjusting brand communication to fit the platform. Understanding the nuances of different social media channels is key to reaching and engaging with diverse audiences. Whatever the channel or message, Bazgan preaches consistency.

“You have to alter your message…from channel to channel,” he advises. “There’s no quick one hit wonder type of thing. If you’re going to get into it, understand that there’s literally no finish line. You’re in it for the long haul. So you might as well be consistent with it.”

Walchef also spent time with 303 in the Cut owner, Guiliano Raso. Raso’s social media consistency has seen his food truck grow to having lines from opening to close. 

“I had very limited followers on TikTok and Instagram, YouTube, shorts, Facebook, all of them. And I just started being consistent,” says Raso. “The consistency is what matters. Out of all of it. And over time, I grew.”

 From networking and learning to seizing business opportunities and adapting brand communication, the International Pizza Expo & Conference offers a rich tapestry of insights for restaurant professionals looking to stay ahead in a competitive landscape.

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About Cali BBQ Media

Digital Hospitality is an interview-based video podcast hosted by business owner Shawn P. Walchef (@shawnpwalchef) and produced by his Cali BBQ Media company. The weekly digital series explores the ways successful businesses and entrepreneurs have merged old and new with innovative digital strategies that harness the power of the Internet and social media. Shawn is the founder of Cali BBQ Media and creator of the Restaurant Influencers podcast on Entrepreneur Media.

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