Pizza Expo 2024 — 40 Years of Community
The pizza industry is different than most. There is a strong bond, a sense of community and a helping spirit. It wasn’t always that way. What changed the industry was the first International Pizza Expo in 1984. Today, the pizza industry is a realization of the vision of the inaugural Pizza Expo.
Pizza Expo 2024, commencing at the Las Vegas Convention Center, March 19-21, is expected to be biggest and best Pizza Expo yet. Attendees and exhibitors can expect fanfare and celebration of our four decades. “If you don’t make it this year to our 40th anniversary show, you’ll have missed being part of the largest gathering of pizza professionals ever assembled” says Bill Oakley, Pizza Expo Show Director. “It’s going to be a record-breaking show in terms of attendance and net square footage of exhibit space. Each year, we are committed to improving the experience for attendees and exhibitors alike in response to the industry’s ever-changing needs, demands and market changes.
“Expo attendees each year gain access to the latest equipment, technology, and software, as well as an education and demonstration program second to none. But they should also expect to find more new exhibitors and products than ever before. Pizza Expo continues to be your one-stop shop for everything you need for your restaurant all under one roof. It’s also your single best opportunity to discover what’s new, what’s working and what’s trending. You’ll be able to obtain new industry knowledge, insights and ideas that will help you position your pizzeria for improved profitability and future growth.”
What’s new at this year’s Pizza Expo?
Each year, we up our game at Pizza Expo, invigorating the show with new ideas. The 40th iteration will see the introduction of new competitions and events sure to satisfy attendees.
Oakley gave a breakdown on some of the exciting new additions to Pizza Expo 2024. They are:
1. The World’s Best Cheese Slice competition is new to the 2024 International Pizza Challenge.
2. We have 2 new pizza-making competitions this year.
a. Ooni Pizza Throwdown – The Ooni Pizza Throwdown will have two divisions, Traditional and Pan. Each competition will be limited to 15 entrants in each category. Entrants may only compete in one
category. Pizzas will be made in an entrant’s choice of Ooni oven – either Ooni Koda 16 (Natural Gas), Ooni Karu 16 (Natural Gas) or Ooni Volt (Electric.) Traditional pizzas can be any style cooked directly on the stone. Pan can be any style cooked in a pan or sheet.
b. Plant-Based Competition – A Plant-Based Competition featuring Daiya Foods Dairy-Free Cheeses! The crust/dough/batter must be fresh or parbaked. In addition, the dough — and all toppings — must be plant based. Each competitor’s goal will be to showcase Daiya Foods’ dairy-free cheeses and blends, including, but not limited to the following.
- Daiya Dairy-Free Mozzarella Style Cheese
- Daiya Dairy-free Shredded Italian Blend Cheese
- Daiya Dairy Free Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- Daiya Dairy-free Cream Cheese
3. 2 new hands-on Pizza Making Workshops (Paid – $250)
a. Reaching for a New Generation of Pizzaioli – Francesco Marra, Co-Founder and Director, Pizza University & Culinary Arts and Giulio Adriani, Master Instructor, Pizza University and Culinary Arts
b. Mastering Dough with Sourdough Willy – Will Grant, Owner and Master Pizzaioli, Workshop Presenter, That’s A Some Pizza
4. New School of Pizzeria Management Workshops (Paid – $250)
a. 1 New – Master Profitability: Conquer Budgeting Fears and Empower Financial Success and What to do BEFORE You Increase Menu Prices – David Scott Peters
b. Crafting Your Brand and Marketing Strategy – Mike Bausch, owner-operator, Andolini’s Pizzeria
c. Maximizing Revenue via Online Ordering – Melissa Rickman, owner – CFO Wholly Stromboli
The Sunday and Monday fee-based workshops were added to Pizza Expo less than a decade ago. In that time, they have helped many operators grow their business through intensive courses. “The workshops are so detailed,” says Content Director and Editor In Chief Jeremy White. “They give attendees the opportunity to really deep-dive into the subject matter with proven experts in the field. The knowledge you walk away with from these pre-show workshops is very valuable. I highly recommend attending one, particularly if you’re just getting started in the business. You’ll find a real nuts-and-bolts approach that leads to initiatives and procedures that you can immediately implement in your business to help it thrive.”
Pizza Expo has a long history of providing a top-notch education program. This year’s offerings include hard-hitting critical issues facing pizzeria owners. Bring your team and assign everyone educational sessions so you don’t miss any.
“This year’s education program has plenty of new workshops, seminars and demos that are sure to appeal to Pizza Expo attendees,” White says. “Scott Anthony is doing a seminar on exit strategies for retirement, a topic many pizzeria owners don’t plan for enough in advance. Drew Butler is a new face to the program. He’s going to discuss how he turned his pizzeria ownership dream into a reality. Eric Von Hansen is covering the importance of building meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships with vendors. Anthony DeSousa, another new face to the program, will detail how he took his online ordering sales over the $1 million mark. Lars Smith will be doing a seminar on using locally grown ingredients. Lots of exciting new things going on!”
Demonstrations on the show floor add to the excitement of the exhibit hall. Demos fill up fast. Arrive early, ask questions and take notes. Let’s highlight a few can’t miss demos. “You won’t want to miss Frank Zabski’s demonstration on New Haven Apizza,” White says. “It’s a style that is not very prevalent across the country outside of its home base in Connecticut. But it’s gaining traction, and for good reason. Plus, Frank is an energetic and entertaining speaker. It’s the perfect demo to kick off the show. You also don’t want to miss Tony Gemignani’s demo on Chicago Tavern Pizza or Scott Sandler’s presentation on how to make vegan nut cheeses. Our entire demo lineup is first rate, so make sure you plan in advance so you don’t miss the ones that are most applicable to your pizzeria.”
Let’s get the party started right by planning your Pizza Expo experience ahead of time. Go to PizzaExpo.com and download the app. See you in March.