The Mid-America Restaurant Expo 2017: The best of the best
From new technologies to sweets, meats and veggies, PMQ staffers share their favorite discoveries at this year’s event.
PMQ Co-Publisher/Sales Director
Baker’s Quality Pizza Crusts
The buzz word of the moment is “organic.” If you want to easily upgrade your menu with an organic pizza option, look to Baker’s Quality Pizza Crusts’ new organic dough balls. They can remain frozen for up to 90 days and thawed for two days. The organic dough ball gives you the flexibility of creating a pizza crust or other menu options like calzones, breadsticks and garlic knots. With Baker’s Quality, you can add some diversity to your menu without adding any hassle.
Drinks are a scarcity at a food trade show, and most are sugar-laden or some trendy concoction. So I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon Natura Water and their triple-filtered water system. This high-tech water purification system dispenses chilled sparkling, still and ambient water. Their purification process removes sediments, chlorine and pollutants, leaving a pure and crisp taste every time. Imagine offering consistently great-tasting water to your customers!
You know Lloyd Pans as an industry icon for quality baking pans and pizza disks. They are always looking for innovative solutions to help out pizzeria owners. With portion control and nutrition labeling being hot topics, Lloyd Pans created a multi-blade rocker knife called the Equalizer. It’s designed to ensure that every customer is completely satisfied and nutritional goals are met. So if control is what you need in your kitchen, this cutter is for you.
The days of just running phone book, TV or radio ads are gone. That’s why I liked Rebs Marketing. They allow you to engage your customers across all media, platforms and devices. Omnichannel direct marketing lets you deliver your message in multiple ways: mail, email, digital ads, social media and videos, all delivered on phones, tablets and computers as well as directly into the physical mailbox. Rebs Marketing can handle the whole process from start to finish.
Michael’s Finer Meats & Seafoods
Here was a booth that was in danger of running out of samples. I couldn’t keep my hands off of their specialty cheeses and cured meats. Their range of products stretches from olive blends and hard, cured Italian meats to duck breast, corned beef and pastrami. Tell them you read about them in PMQ!
614-527-4900 (Michael’s Finer Meats & Seafoods, Columbus), 513-721-5503 (Chefs’ Warehouse Midwest, Cincinnati), michaelsmeats.com, chefswarehouse.com
Cannoli and Italian desserts are the perfect ending to a great Italian meal, but let’s face it: You’re a pizza maker, not a pastry chef. Brooklyn Cannoli solves this problem by providing about 40 different restaurant-style desserts, including Tiramisu, Cannoli Cream and Cannoli Shells, Italian Cheesecake, and a full line of Classic American cakes precut for your convenience. They also offer private labeling.
Tiger Mushroom Farms
Just a quick visit to their website will show you what first drew me into their booth, but the flavorful mushrooms are what kept bringing me back throughout the show. This family-run mushroom farm has the most adorable nine-year-old spokesperson—he’s truly the leader of this family business. (Just watch his Steve Harvey Show appearance!) Mushrooms are often touted as the second most popular pizza topping. Shouldn’t you be offering a mushroom worthy of that honor?
Given a choice for restaurants, my kids either choose one with tabletop gaming or the infinite-choice drink machine (notice food doesn’t even come into consideration). So I was excited to see BuzzTime at the show. BuzzTime has really upped its game and added tableside payment and menu-marketing options to its tablet game and trivia game lineup. This is a win-win for family-oriented pizzerias. If you haven’t checked them out lately, go see what all the buzz is about.
Have you bitten the bullet and added online ordering yet? How about Facebook ordering? You know you need to do it, so why not now? Let the friendly folks at Orders2.me help set you up with their easy, all-inclusive ordering system for less than three dollars per day. It even works with most POS systems. In no time, you can start reaping the rewards of increased sales from Facebook and online ordering.