The 2019 International Pizza Expo rolled into Las Vegas on March 4th-7th and it was safe to say that no one went hungry! Who doesn’t love pizza? The International Pizza Expo is the world's largest pizza industry show, which celebrated its 35th year of servicing independent and chain pizzerias with over 7,000 attendees and 1,787 exhibitors. The expo was a product cornucopia for the pizza industry, where you could find anything from pizza ovens, specialty meats, warming bags, GPS delivery driver trackers to POS software. However, the best thing about this expo was the industry information, education, and the FOOD!
So why did an insurance guy go to the Pizza Expo, you ask? I’ve worked in the insurance field for many years and learned the importance of staying on the pulse of current industry trends. It’s absolutely the best way to understand and serve the needs of that particular niche. I spent four days at the expo, hard at work, enjoying exquisite pizza and delicious craft beer, which sounds like a dream come true, but I was there to work (really, I was!). I can hear my wife right now saying it’s unbelievable that this is part of my job! However, I was there with the goal of strengthening my relationships within the Pizza and Pizza Delivery industry and finding out where and how I can help out, regarding all insurance-related needs.
When I walked onto the Las Vegas Convention Center floor, I was immediately hit with a sensory overload of sights and sounds, ranging from a two-story industrial pizza oven, to a traditional Italian band playing live music, to a pizza dough spinning competition, to a man dressed as a large pepperoni pizza! Not only did my senses get overstimulated from all of the action, but on top of that, add in the amazing smells and tastes I experienced as I walked down each and every aisle! The majority of the exhibitors had free samples at their booth which included pizza, gelato, sausages, sauces and craft beer. YUM! It was a true pizza wonderland!
The expo kicked off with some educational sessions such as “So, You Want to Open a Pizzeria: Planning for Profitability, Restaurant Business Essentials and Employee Management Crash Course." These educational sessions went on all day, as well as special events geared towards independent and chain pizzerias, such as the International Pizza Challenge, the World Pizza Games and the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Along with the educational sessions and events, we were treated to two keynote speakers. Chris Bianco, the chef-owner of Pizzeria Bianco, discussed recipes for his signature pizzas, as well as strategies and techniques for translating his methods to the home kitchen. Then Sammy Mandell, the chef-owner of Greenville Avenue Pizza Company and the 2018 recipient of Pizza Today’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, discussed how he developed trademark products and revolutionized his employee culture by harnessing technology and content creation to attract and retain top talent. Good stuff!
During the expo, I met with many industry leaders and was able to get a sense of their needs regarding insurance. This boiled down to two words: Auto and Workers’ Compensation. Fortunately, All Risks, Ltd., the largest independent insurance wholesaler in the United States, has a solution! With our Workers’ Compensation Restaurants and Pizza Delivery insurance specialty product, we are able to assist our industry partners with insuring their restaurant employees. Our Pizza Delivery insurance program is available through an exclusive A+ rated carrier nationwide. We’re able to assist with start-up businesses as well. The fact that All Risks developed a Worker’s Compensation product that is specific to the needs of the pizza delivery industry, was very well received by all of the restaurant owners and industry leaders with whom I met.
I gained quite a bit of insight into the restaurant industry’s insurance-related pain points. All around, it was definitely worth the trip. Please view All Risks’ Restaurants and Pizza Delivery insurance product webpage for more information.
Chris Smith is Assistant Vice President of Workers Compensation Specialties at All Risks, Ltd. in Richmond, VA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 804-212-9784.