Foodservice operators can learn a variety of tactics to navigate today's tough economy at The Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo, which kicks off this weekend at the San Diego Convention Center, a new location for the annual event. Foodservice professionals visiting the show, held Aug. 30 - Sept. 1, will have the opportunity to see new products, technologies and services from more 450 than exhibitors as well as learn from more than 20 presentations as part of the Ferdinand Metz Foodservice Forum. The sessions cover topics for new restaurant operators as well as seasoned professionals, with how to start an e-mail club to strategies for multiunit operators. Other session include Operational Financial Strategies to Increase Cash Flow During a Recession and Fast Casual – Changing the Way People Eat and Profiting From It, sponsored by FastCasual.com. Several of the educational sessions feature panels staffed by industry experts, such as The Green Restaurant Revolution All Star Panel. Moderated by Michael Oshman, founder/executive director, Green Restaurant Association, the panels will share how operators, from small, independent businesses to large corporations can be leaders in the effort to raise awareness about restaurants impact on the environment — and make their stores more eco-friendly. The keynote speaker for the show is author and business leader Garry Ridge. Ridge is president and CEO of WD-40 Co. and co-author of Helping People Win at Work, the topic of his keynote address. Ridge will share techniques to how operators can achieve unprecedented levels of employee engagement and commitment.
The expo also features the co-located Expo Comida Latina, the only industry trade event focused on the Hispanic retail and foodservice market and the innovative New Product Gallery featuring new exhibitors and new products. The Hot Spot Culinary Demonstration Theater will host featured chefs including Aaron Song of TV's "Hell's Kitchen." The American Culinary Federation/San Diego Chapter will offer culinary competitions and The Ultimate Barista Challenge will find the region's top professionally coffee preparers. The show floor for the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo will be open Sunday, Aug. 30, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. (Pacific time); Monday, Aug. 31. 11 a.m - 5 p.m. and Tuesday, Sept. 1, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.