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The Top Restaurant Trade Shows and Conferences in North America (in 2021)

The Top Restaurant Trade Shows and Conferences in North America (in 2021)

Let’s face it, the world has changed, and one of the industries that suffered one of the biggest (and quickest) head-to-toe transformations has been the events industry. While the in-person component of many restaurant trade shows or conferences has gone virtual, most events are still powering through to find new creative ways to educate, inspire and connect—and we all know how much we need a little bit (or a lot) of that these days. For early 2021 many events have shifted to online platforms, while many are still holding out hope for the possibility of hosting in-person events later in the year. 

Staying relevant, active and keeping up with the latest trends is essential in surviving the ever-changing unknown that is managing a hospitality business in 2021. So whether you’re running a restaurant, bar, nightclub, cafe or bakery, one of the keys to sustained success is educating both yourself and your team, which is why we’ve made a list of the best restaurant trade shows and conferences to attend this year. 

No matter what type of establishment you work in, there’s an event below that will help you grow your business—whether you’re looking for new marketing and management techniques, new ways to prep your food, new cocktail recipes or new products from suppliers. 

  1. Restaurants Canada Show (February 28–March 3)
  2. Food Marketing Conference (March 23–24)
  3. Restaurant Franchising and Innovation Summit (May 4–6)
  4. National Restaurant Association Show (May 22–25)
  5. Coffee Fest (June 18–19, July 18–20, August 22–24, November 5–6)
  6. Nightclub and Bar Show (June 28–30)
  7. The International Restaurant and Foodservice Show of New York (July 18–20)
  8. The Northwest Food Show (August 1–2)
  9. Western Foodservice and Hospitality Show (August 22–24)
  10. Canadian Coffee & Tea Show (September 19–20)
  11. HT-Next (December 13–16)

Hospitality in 2021

Find out how you can prepare your restaurant for short and long-term success in this new year.

Restaurant trade shows and conferences

1. Restaurants Canada Show

  • Website: https://www.rcshow.com/ 
  • When: February 28–March 3
  • Where: Online
  • Who should attend: Professionals in the restaurant, foodservice and hospitality industry.
Psst! Lightspeed will be attending with some of our industry experts. Come say hi and get the latest scoop on our suite of hospitality products.

2.  Food Marketing Conference 

The Food Marketing Conference, now in its 55th iteration, focuses on effectively marketing your restaurant. This two-day virtual event is centered around presentations from restaurant marketing experts and networking opportunities with industry experts. 

Whether you’re looking to refine your marketing strategy or stay on top of the latest digital marketing trends to increase visibility, you’ll leave the Food Marketing Conference with actionable tips to reach more customers. Better yet? All Live, Interactive Sessions will be available on-demand the day following their presentation until April 23, 2021.

3. Restaurant Franchising and Innovation Summit

Are you thinking of expanding your restaurant to multiple locations? Are you considering starting a franchise? If you’re an executive that’s responsible for franchise development, marketing and branding, then the Restaurant Franchising and Innovation Summit is the place to be.

This three-day event puts emphasis on elevating your marketing and implementing tech that will support your establishment as it grows. It’s time to get inspired and take the next step in growing your business.

*This event is an in-person event. Check the website regularly for any updates or changes regarding attendance or a virtual event. 

4. National Restaurant Association Show 

The National Restaurant Association Show is a must-attend event for anyone who owns, operates or manages a restaurant or bar.  This show has been a go-to event for foodservice and hospitality industry professionals since 1919. This year, the National Restaurant Association Show is here to help you discover the innovations, ingredients, and insights to help you overcome new challenges and prepare for the future of hospitality, all in one convenient location. 

Register now and get exposed to the latest equipment in the food and beverage industry,  attend information sessions and keynote presentations where internationally-recognized chefs and mixologists share their secrets. 

*This event is an in-person event. Check the website regularly for any updates or changes regarding attendance or a virtual event.

5. Coffee Fest 

  • Website: https://www.coffeefest.com/
  • When: June 18–19, July 18–20, August 22–24, November 5–6
  • Where: San Antonio, New York, Anaheim, Portland
  • Who should attend:  Professionals in the coffee or tea industry—from roasters, baristas and pastry chefs to owners, operators, restaurant buyers and distributors. 

Whether you’re an independent roaster, barista, marketing executive or a coffee shop manager, Coffee Fest Indianapolis is an incredible business-to-business conference where you and your team can learn new skills, taste new blends, connect with other coffee aficionados and ultimately take your business to the next level. 

6. Nightclub and Bar Show 

  • Website: https://www.ncbshow.com/ 
  • When: June 28–30
  • Where: Las Vegas, NV
  • Who should attend: Bar, nightclub and restaurant owners, operators, managers, bartenders and mixologists.

The Nightclub & Bar Show caters to professionals in the nightlife industry. With bars and nightclubs facing some of the strictest closures during the pandemic, this trade event arrives just in time to help professionals in the industry find new ways to evolve and reinvent themselves to survive and succeed in 2021. 

Connect with knowledgeable vendors and top brands to test, taste and learn about the latest trends and products. Attend training sessions and learn how to run your restaurant in light of new regulations, staff your bar and make guests feel welcome.  

If you’re a bar owner, this event will let you get on the ground floor and network with suppliers to grow your business. It’s time to meet the biggest venues in the world and learn tips and tricks from some of the most established managers in the business. 

*This event is an in-person event. Check the website regularly for any updates or changes regarding attendance or a virtual event.

7. The International Restaurant and Foodservice Show of New York

Join thousands of industry peers and enjoy samples, culinary demonstrations and more at the largest food and beverage experience in the northeast. Don’t miss their Education Program, providing industry-leading educational content and the latest information on trends and best practices in the market. On the floor you’ll find the latest products and equipment from an exhibitor list boasting 550+ vendors and top restaurant suppliers.

*This event is an in-person event. Check the website regularly for any updates or changes regarding attendance or a virtual event.

8. The Northwest Food Show

  • Website: https://www.nwfoodshow.com/
  • When: August 1–2
  • Where: Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, CA 
  • Who should attend: Professionals involved in the restaurant, foodservice and hospitality industry.

The Northwest Food Show is the largest and best known business-to-business foodservice event in the pacific northwest. Talk with over 300 exhibitors about everything from operations and labor costs to diversifying food and the importance of marketing. Learn how you can increase revenue, experience new technology and participate in equipment demonstrations.

In its 2021 edition you’ll be able to experience the best wine, beer and spirits in the northwest in the event’s Tasting Pavilion, check out restaurant, commissary and catering kitchen equipment, food suppliers and much more. 

*This event is an in-person event. Check the website regularly for any updates or changes regarding attendance or a virtual event. 

9. Western Foodservice and Hospitality Show

  • Website: https://www.westernfoodexpo.com
  • When: August 22–24
  • Where: Anaheim, CA 
  • Who should attend: Professionals involved in the restaurant, foodservice and hospitality industry. 

With over 450+ exhibitors, The Western Foodservice and Hospitality Show has something for everyone. Managers and marketers can get tips on effective social media marketing while chefs can perfect new food preparation techniques to get even more creative in the kitchen. 

At the conference, you’ll have access to live culinary performances, awards ceremonies and roundtables. You’ll also be able to pick from within their program tracks: Hot Topics, Bar & Beverage, Marketing & Social Media, Operational Excellence and more. 

If you want to learn more about the event you can even check out their 2020 virtual edition of the conference, “Live at Your Table”, for free content like demonstrations and educational sessions. 

10. Canadian Coffee & Tea Show 

  • Website: https://www.coffeeteashow.ca/
  • When: September 19–20
  • Where: Toronto, ON
  • Who should attend: Professionals in the coffee or tea industry—from roasters, baristas and pastry chefs to owners, operators, restaurant buyers and distributors. 

The Canadian Coffee & Tea Show is the country’s #1 coffee and tea industry event. Thousands of exhibitors and attendees come together under one roof. Discover new products and equipment on the trade show floor while connecting with industry experts and leading suppliers to grow your sales. 

*This event is an in-person event. Check the website regularly for any updates or changes regarding attendance or a virtual event.

11. HT-Next

  • Website: https://www.ht-next.com/
  • When: December 13–16
  • Where: Scottsdale, AZ 
  • Who should attend: Professionals involved in the restaurant, foodservice and hospitality industry.

HT-NEXT has quickly become a must-attend educational and networking event for hospitality professionals, focusing on technology and innovation. In a program that combines two leading industry events—Hospitality Technology’s Hotel Technology Forum and HTNG’s North American Conference—HT-NEXT is where the industry meets.

In 2020, HT-NEXT reinvented itself to meet the virtual needs of its attendees by creating a simulated hotel experience built for the “new normal” complete with operational areas like a lobby, guest room, back office, plus an exhibit hall, auditorium and more. This year, HT-NEXT will be bringing back the in-person component of their hospitality event. 

*This event is an in-person event. Check the website regularly for any updates or changes regarding attendance or a virtual event. 

 

Learn with Lightspeed

While there are many amazing trade shows and conferences to choose from, you can also check out our Lightspeed events calendar at any time for upcoming and past free restaurant webinars with industry experts or to see which hospitality events we will be attending in 2021.

Don’t be shy! Head on over to our webinars page or come meet us at the amazing trade shows throughout the year.

 

 

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