NAPICS 2009 to serve up operator tips
The sixth annual North America Pizza & Ice Cream Show is slated to heat up Columbus, Ohio, on Feb. 22 - 23 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
 
NAPICS is the largest ice cream show in the United States and the only show of its kind featuring both pizza and ice cream. The show provides operators educational seminars, workshops, access to new products and networking opportunities.
 
"We have some leading industry experts and people working in the industry making it happen, who have answers to a lot of problems," said show chairwoman Ann Reichle. "These people give of themselves to enrich our industry and help you find new ways of doing things."
 
Many of the seminars to be held at the show this year focus on finances and ways to improve the bottom line.
 
Jim Hall, Jim Marmion and Wally Becker from Advanced Gourmet Equipment & Design will host a seminar titled "Frozen Dessert Profit Centers" at 12:30 p.m. both days of the show. The session will focus on how to view core frozen dessert items such as ice cream cakes, novelties, smoothies and shakes as profit centers, not just menu mainstays.
 
At 2 p.m. Sunday, veteran ice cream operator Steve Christensen from Stoelting LLC will host a seminar on the topic of "Money Matters: Making the Right Financial Decisions." Christensen will share the cold, hard facts about why some ice cream shops thrive while others fail.
 
And Mike Marcis from the Kappus Co. will lead a seminar on "Saving $$$ Through Equipment Maintenance" at 4 p.m. on Sunday. Marcis will demonstrate the ease of basic and expense-saving measures that will add years to the life of your equipment and detail the payback that effort will net.
 
Robert Welcher and Randy Sokol from Restaurant Consultants Inc. will talk about "People, Sales & Profits" at 3 p.m. Sunday and 11:30 a.m. Monday. Operators will learn simple techniques for increasing ticket averages, sales and profits using the principles of internal marketing.
 
And no trade show these days, it seems, would be complete without a discussion of Internet marketing. Joe Gabriel of Fishbowl Marketing will host "Email Marketing Delivers the Dough!" at 2:30 p.m. Monday.
 
Gabriel will show operators how to implement effective turn-key communications for their restaurant and how to maximize their online presence.
 
NAPICS is also hosting several pre-show workshops the morning of Feb. 22, beginning at 8 a.m. For $49 per person, operators can choose between workshops hosted by Tom Lehman and Jeff Zeak from the American Baking Institute, "Big Dave" Ostrander from Dave Ostrander Consulting, Kamron Karington, author of the "Black Book" of Pizzeria Marketing or the team from Advanced Gourmet.
More than 220 exhibitors to showcase their products
 
Some of the vendors slated to display their wares at the show include point-of-sale system provider Firefly Technologies, cheese supplier Grande Cheese, pizza topping provider Hormel Food Corp., La Nova Wings and oven maker Roto-Flex Oven Co.
 
"NAPICS is the indicator of where the upcoming season is headed for the pizza, ice cream/soft serve/gelato market," said Charlotte Beere, events manager with Concord, N.C.-based PreGel AMERICA, which manufactures and distributes natural ingredients used in gelato and similar products.   "NAPICS is held before the high season begins for these segments, so owners and operators attend looking for the headliners of the new season," she said. "The intimate setting of a dedicated market show such as NAPICS promotes better communication between the vendors and the attendees."
 
The North America Pizza Pizzazz Competition will be held both days of the show. The Gourmet Pizza Competition will be held Feb. 22, while the Traditional Pizza Competition will be held Feb. 23. 
 
In each round, 75 contestants will make their best pies and submit them to a panel of trained judges who will grade them on taste, appearance and marketability. Six finalists will be chosen to bake their best pies again to determine the category's top three winners.
 
The first-place winner in each category will receive a cash prize of $7,500. Second- and third-place winners receive $500 and $250, respectively. If a first-place winner bakes on a Lloyd Industries product (disk, screen or pan), they will receive a $1,000 cash bonus on top of the $7,500 first prize. Lloyd Industries is also offering each participant one free Nesting Pan or Quik-Disk to use in the competition.
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Round 1 of the competitions will be held at 9 a.m. both days. Round 2 is held at 1:30 p.m. both days.
 
"Where else for a $100 entry fee can you turn that into not only $7,500 but more marketing exposure that you could get in any other manner," Reichle said. "When we won (in 1996) it literally turned my pizzeria on its ear. We had people driving from 50 miles away to eat our pizza."
 
Show hours are 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday and 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday. Admission is $29.95 for advance registration or $60 at the door.
 
More than 5,300 pizza and ice cream professionals attended NAPICS last year. Click here for more information on the show.
 
NAPICS facts
  • Attendees go to one to three food service shows/exhibits/seminars annually
  • Attendees are operators of carryout/delivery establishments (46%); fast food establishments (36%); table service restaurants (26%); and distributors (7 %). The remaining 14% of attendees fall into "other" categories
  • More than two-thirds of attendees are owners of their business; 18% are managers/directors; 6% are staff members; only 4% are marketing/sales personnel.

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