Southwest Foodservice Show

The 2001 Southwest Foodservice Expo was held this year at the Dallas Convention Center in Dallas, Texas. There were more than 27,400 attendees, 1,278 booths and over 760 exhibiting companies. The show alternates between Houston and Dallas, which was a good thing this year considering Houston was experiencing massive flooding at the time of the expo. The more than 27,000 attendees was quite impressive, but regular attendees and exhibitors said attendance was down due to the bad weather in Houston that drew national attention. Those who did attend were treated to a great show with plenty of ideas and products to browse. Here are some of the best ideas we found that will interest pizza operators.

Southwest Saw Corporation

According to PMQ research, take-and-bake operations are among the fastest growing segments in the pizza industry. Finding equipment to pre-wrap the pizzas is one problem, affording it is the other. Southwest Saw Corporation has a product that helps both problems with their MiniPack line of wrappers. For around $1,800 you can get a machine that can shrink wrap pizzas up to 10-inches in diameter or for around $3,200 you can wrap pizzas up to 16-inches. For more information contact Dickie Mayer at 800-334-8613 or visit http://www.minipack-torre.it.

Private Eye Enterprises, Inc.

Theft is one of the biggest problems that cause your bottom line to drop. Private Eye Enterprises offers video surveillance systems, which can store image streams from up to four cameras for periods up to 30 days. If the system is set to record by motion detection, it can store video streams even longer. Because you are not using tapes, which take considerable amounts of time to locate specific time segments, you can go directly to specified days and times in seconds. They also sell hidden cameras disguised as exit signs, smoke alarms, sprinklers and many other options. For more information contact Michael Dear at 972-960-2266 or visit http://www.pidallas.com.

Acurid

Never let an unwanted pest cost you a meal again. Acurid, the commercial division of Orkin Exterminating, has a guarantee that says you won't. Within 24 hours of your call, they will have an extermination expert come out and check your location and provide a quote. Once you sign a one-year extermination agreement, they will guarantee no pest for the duration of the contract. If a pest is sighted and you have to comp a meal, they will not only reimburse you for the cost of the meal, they will personally send a letter of apology to the customer and invite them back to your restaurant. For more information call (Contact person needed) at 972-438-7227 or visit http://www.orkin.com.

Long Range Systems, Inc.

The best way to anger and possibly lose a customer is to have them miss their table call when they have been waiting to be seated. The best way to increase bar sales or give them some freedom while waiting is to provide them with a pager so they can be paged when it is time to be seated. With Long Range Systems' on-site paging system you can allow customers to visit the bar, go to their cars or do some window shopping while they wait. You can equip your restaurant with 20 pagers for around $1,600 and never tick another customer off by giving their table to someone else. Let them go to the bar and have a drink or order some appetizers. They also just released their new electronic survey pad which allows you to customize electronic surveys to determine customer satisfaction at the end of the meals without having the waitstaff grill them or keeping up with loads of paperwork. You can even have random prize winner selected for filling out the survey. Both ideas can increase customer satisfaction with minimum effort on your part. For more information call Ken Lovegreen at 800-437-4996 or visit http://www.pager.net.

Chalk Talk signs

Your signs are your first impression on many customers. Nice looking signs in and outside your store are a great way to entice customers and get your relationship off on the right foot. Chalk Talk has a group of artists that do custom hand-drawn chalk signs that are affordable and help promote high profit items, increase store traffic and sales and really grab customers' attention. These signs have a great look and can have replaceable slats that you can customize and with erasable chalk prices. They can be used outdoors or indoors and have a variety of framing choices and backboard designs. They offer everything from small 'specials' boards, two-sided sidewalk and 3×4-feet signs in any size and art style you want. For more information contact Steve Martin at 800-492-4225 or visit http://www.chalksigns.com.