We are just a couple of weeks out from Catersource and it’s a good time for attendees to start preparing to make the most of the experience. Attending a major conference like Catersource is not just a financial investment, but it also pulls you away from your regular business operations — so, you’ll want to really take advantage of all that it has to offer.
We spoke with our experts who have attended Catersource in the past (some have spoken, too!) and they shared their best practices for maximizing your experience onsite.
Attendees at Catersource 2019 in New Orleans, LA
Pack the essentials
“It always amazes me how many people don’t bring business cards as attendees,” says Alan Berg of Wedding Business Solutions, LLC. “You never know who will be sitting next to you in a session or at a meal or event. Whether it’s just a good connection or someone who can refer you, always be prepared with business cards.”
Berg adds: “Portable phone chargers are a must as your phone uses more battery when searching for a signal, which is common in convention halls. Lastly, don’t underestimate how much you’ll be walking, so have comfortable shoes and maybe something to eat and drink.”
Catersource 2020, co-located with The Special Event, is coming up soon! Click here for more information or to register!
Make a point to network
“Networking is a great tool to meet other caterers just like your company,” shares Adam Gooch of Common Plea Catering. “I have met some long term catering friends that I can reach out and talk about events and strategies , which has made me very successful because of that knowledge.
Lon Lane of Lon Lane’s Inspired Occasions elaborates: “Network with people that have information you need. If you are wanting to know more about venue contracts, then find a company that has lots of venues, make friends, and talk. Chances are you will become friends and you have a new resource to call on as you need help and advice.”
“Begin with a clean plan of what you want to get out of the conference,” encourages Anthony Lambatos of Footers Catering and MIBE Tribe. “Each of our team members usually identifies 3-5 objectives and focuses the classes they attend around those objectives.
Lambatos continues: “I always recommend going to 1-2 classes that are completely outside of your expertise or related to your day-to-day job. Instead of saying ‘this doesn’t apply to me,’ look at it as an opportunity to see things from a different perspective and think about how it could apply to what you do.”
Make the most of each session
“Before you go, set up files — whether it’s digital or paper with these headers: education, culinary, networking, inspiration, and tradeshow,” urges Meryl Snow of Feastivities Events. “At the end of each day before you go out to dinner, organize your notes. You’ll be happy you did when you return to your working life.”
Snow adds: “Write down 12 ideas from each class that you attend, even if you don’t think it would be suitable for your company. It will be inspiration to rework that idea to suit your company.”
As you’re planning your trip to Vegas in March, don’t just settle on your flight and accommodations — be smart and make a game plan to ensure that your time away from your business is well worth the investment.