The exhibit hall is completely sold out to a highest-ever 220-plus exhibitors. Event organizers said strong early-registration numbers have them expecting an all-time high attendance — better than 4,500 — will come to see, sample and savor exhibitors' wares.
In NAPICS' annual Pizza Pizzazz contest, all 100 competitor slots for the two-day event are filled for the first time ever. The record awards — two first-place prizes of $5,000 cash (in both the Gourmet and Traditional categories) make it the best-paying pizza-baking contest in the world. Such a high pre-event registration surprised no one, said Ann Reichle, NAPICS chairwoman and two-time Pizza Pizzazz champion.
"We wanted to make Pizza Pizzazz stand alone this year as the top contest in the nation," Reichle said. As past winner in the 1990s, the most Reichle ever pocketed for a victory was $350. "We believed a substantial cash prize would really draw them in, and the full registration has proved us right. I only wish it had paid that much when I won!"
Second- and third-place winners in each category will receive $500 and $250 respectively.
On both days of the show the World Pizza Champions team will demonstrate the jaw-dropping dough-tossing tricks and group routines that made the group the best there is. Following Sunday's demonstration, the team will participate in an open forum to discuss how competitive dough tossing has helped boost their businesses.
NAPICS: No show like it
the Mid-America Restaurant, Pizza and Soft-Serve Ice Cream Show, NAPICS began repositioning itself in 2002 as the nation's only tradeshow in the United States with a dual focus on the complementary pizza and ice cream segments. Over those five years, NAPICS has become a highly interactive tradeshow featuring not only multiple expert-led seminars, but hands-on workshops and a test kitchen where attendees make real foods using real equipment — all included in one registration cost.
This year's Interactive Pizza Test Kitchen will feature hands-on help from Tom Lehmann and Jeff Zeak of the American Institute of Baking, "Big Dave" Ostrander, a former pizza operator-turned consultant, and "Pizza Paul" Nyland, a former sales director with Gordon Food Service, who now consults to the pizza industry.
"There just isn't a show like ours where you can touch it, taste it and test it," said Reichle. "Whenever the show floor is open, attendees can come ask for help and discuss any ideas with these guys. This is an invaluable resource."
As always, NAPICS will offer seminars throughout both days of the show. Among the topics to be discussed:
- Perfect portion control
- Pricing secrets
- Motivating managers
- Profitable tax strategies
- Dealing with minimum wage mandates
- Dough demonstrations
- Frozen cake decorating
Pre-show workshops important
On Feb. 24, the Saturday prior to the official start of NAPICS, two pre-show workshops will be held to help pizza operators and ice cream operators move their businesses to the next level.
* In the Pizza Operators Workshop, Ostrander and Lehmann, along with Kamron Karington, marketing consultant and former pizzeria owner, will teach on conquering the competition and moving from an employee-owner's role to that of a true CEO. Six operator experts who still own and operate their pizzerias also will lead sessions on generating attention with local media, building stronger vendor relationships and adapting to future pizza trends. Click here
to learn more.
* The Gelato Workshop will feature Beginner and Master classes to teach operators how to add gelato to their menus or extend their current gelato lines. Already one of Europe's most popular frozen desserts, gelato is catching on quickly in the U.S. For decades it's been pizza's perfect match in Italy.
During the show itself, other gelato seminars will be held. Click here
to learn more.
Despite a record-cold February in Ohio and past NAPICS events visited by snow, safe travel is expected as current weather forecasts point to daytime highs in the 40s and only a slight chance of rain. This year's NAPICS is a no-mittens required event!
* NAPICS is the largest pizza-and-ice-cream centered tradeshow in the Midwest. The annual event draws 4,500 attendees and more than 200 exhibiting companies. Two full days of business-building seminars are available to all paid attendees.
To register for NAPICS: Attendee pre-registration is available for $25 until Feb. 23 — a 50 percent savings from registering at the door. All Sunday and Monday events, including seminars, one-on-one help from experts in the test kitchen, to World Pizza Champions demonstrations and much more, are included in the registration price. To register online, click here
. To register by phone, call 800-909-7469.