International Pizza Expo 2016

As I think we’ve mentioned elsewhere on this website, the planning for this pizza venture started a couple of years ago. Actually, it was almost exactly 2 years ago – and I remember this because I had just bought every book Amazon sold about opening and running a pizzeria and the 1st page of the 1st book I opened said that there was a pizza convention in Vegas every year and that readers should attend, if possible. Pizza convention? Vegas? I’ve been to Vegas more times that I care to (or can) remember but only once for work…and that was somewhat of a disaster (which, truth be told, is how most of my leisure trips to Vegas have gone). Anyway, I thought “this is sorta ridiculous” and I was a little embarrassed to tell people why I was going, but it turned out to be a great decision to fly out for the 5 (long) days. I attended classes, I met with current pizzeria owners, I talked to people who, like me, were thinking of getting into the business, I watched pizza making demonstrations, I listened to Tom Lehmann, the Dough Doctor talk about dough problems, I met with distributors and vendors, I talked to consultants and learned from people the things to do and not to do. It was a whirlwind and so incredibly helpful and overwhelming. And when I got home I went through the bags of brochures and product samples and business cards and segregated them into the ones that could be useful and the ones not so much and followed-up with a number of people and companies. And then 2015 rolled around and though I still hadn’t opened my pizza shop yet, I had finally decided to do the concept as a food truck rather than a brick and mortar by the time the convention started, and I did it all again: classes, conversations, samples (oh so many samples), business cards, lectures, Q&As. All of it great. Again, got home, sifted through my bags of materials and followed up on a number of conversation I’d had (fewer this time, since I was more targeted in my contacts this time, since I actually knew something now). And now I go back for my 3rd International Pizza Expo next week (Monday – Wednesday), and we’ll have been open for 2 months at that point. So I’m kinda an expert on things now. Ok, not really, but now I have a really good idea of what I know and what I don’t and can actually tell vendors who my distributor is (since, you know, I actually have one now) and, most importantly, I no longer have to tell people “I’m thinking of opening a pizzeria” – I can tell them I have a 30-foot NY Pizza Food Truck with dual-deck Bakers Pride Y-602s and a Hobart 40qt packed inside (you may not know what that means but believe me, they’ll be impressed).

I’m excited, and I’ll be posting pics to social media while I’m there so look out for that stuff. And I’ll write a recap when I get back.

Talk soon,

Sean

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