- The Pizza Tomorrow Summit, taking place November 9-10 in Orlando, brings together the pizza world’s movers and shakers for new products, seminars, cooking demos and more.
- Expert speakers include Billy Manzo, David Scott Peters, Alex Koons, Bruce Irving and Dale “The Lease Coach” Willerton.
The pandemic changed the pizza industry in more ways than one—not all of them for the better. But where others saw problems, Glenn Celentano of Grand Slam Events saw an opportunity. He realized that the pizza industry didn’t just survive the pandemic—it kept thriving—and that the time was ripe for a pizza trade show on the East Coast. Thus, the Pizza Tomorrow Summit, taking place November 9 to 10 in Orlando, Florida, was conceived.
This event, produced by Grand Slam Events, will bring together the pizza world’s movers and shakers for two days of moneymaking products, educational seminars, cooking demos and competitions, all in one of the world’s most popular vacation destination cities.
If there was ever a time to ponder what the future of pizza will look like—and to mold it to our own vision—it’s now. The Pizza Tomorrow Summit is the place to start.
A Resilient Industry
Celentano and his partner, Doug Miller, are trade show veterans, with 60 years of experience running large-scale B2B and B2C events between them. Celentano, who previously worked for Reed Exhibitions and Clarion Events, has spent decades running trade shows specifically in the foodservice industry.
The pandemic was in full swing when he hit upon the Pizza Tomorrow Summit idea. His favorite restaurants were closed, some of them never to reopen. But pizza was a different story. “One evening I called my go-to pizza place in town, and my usual 15-minute wait was 90 minutes,” Celentano recalls. “When I arrived to pick up my pie, the line was around the building. It was in that moment that the light bulb went off. This industry is so resilient! If pizzerias can be doing so well during challenging times, I could only imagine how well they would do as things began returning to ‘normal’ again.”
And those pizzerias would be looking for fresh ideas, products and trends to fuel their inevitable rebound. “I knew there was another show out West, but I also knew that it’s a real financial and time commitment to get out there from the East Coast. I wanted to give these operators an event in an affordable destination city that’s easily accessible from everywhere. The rest, as they say, is history!”
Nothing Like a Trade Show
There’s still nothing like a trade show for finding the ingredients, inspiration and equipment you need to make better pizza—and the innovations and technologies to sell more of it. A Google search can only take you so far. “I’ve been running events in the foodservice industry for 25 years,” Celentano says. “I chose foodservice because it’s an industry that requires face-to-face interactions to survive. Without people in the dining room or picking up takeout, there is no restaurant. It’s the same for operators who are making buying decisions. I don’t know about you, but I can’t taste food through my computer screen. I also can’t smell what’s cooking or get real hands-on demonstrations of the newest equipment. Not to mention the peer interactions you get when the industry comes together. We all get lost in emails and chat conversations, and it’s easy to lose sight of the importance of meeting your fellow operators and sharing best practices, successes and ideas. It just doesn’t get any better!”
The Pizza Tomorrow Summit will offer plenty of those opportunities. Expert speakers include Billy Manzo of Billy Manzo Pizza and Federal Hill Pizza in Warren, Rhode Island; restaurant coach and author David Scott Peters; Alex Koons, a plant-based pizza expert and owner of Purgatory Pizza and Hot Tongue Pizza in Los Angeles; Bruce Irving, host of the Smart Pizza Marketing podcast; and Dale “The Lease Coach” Willerton.
“We’ve built this to be an immersive and fun experience,” Celentano says. “From the moment you arrive, you’ll know you’re not at your ordinary, everyday trade show. You’ll be greeted by live music performed by an Italian trio. The entrance to our show looks and feels like you’re entering a pizzeria! We have nonstop pizza competitions going all day long and some really compelling educational content, including topics like vegan pizza, recruiting and retaining a winning team, pizza technology, and so much more.”
The exhibit floor will feature industry leaders like Sysco, Grande Cheese, Bellissimo Foods, Fiero and Pizza Solutions. “We’ve also just added an exciting food truck component that will be detailed in the coming weeks,” Celentano notes.
Finally, he adds, “It’s no secret that our pizza industry is rooted in family, and there’s no bigger family destination in the country—or, arguably, the world—than Orlando. Bring the family and turn it into a short vacation! While you’re mingling with your peers and getting business done at the show, they can enjoy the theme parks and all of the other fun stuff Orlando has to offer.”
In other words, there’s plenty for the spouse and kids to do while you’re busy discovering—and building—the pizza world of tomorrow.