The Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver will host the Colorado Restaurant Show on Monday and Tuesday, October 9 and 10, with keynote speaker, Danny Meyer, founder and CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group. Named one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” in 2015 Meyer is known as one of the world’s best restauranteurs, responsible for successful establishments like Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Maialino and Shake Shack, which opens its first Colorado location in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood in 2018.
Meyer will begin the two-day event with an exclusive book-signing at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, October 9, and then roll into a presentation from 9:30a.m. until 11:00 a.m. that focuses on his philosophy of “Enlightened Hospitality”. Meyer incorporates these techniques into all levels of his businesses, which are fine dining and fast casual, Meyer will share the stage for a moderated Q&A with Bobby Stuckey, co-proprietor of Frasca Food and Wine and Pizzeria Locale based out of Boulder, Colorado.
“The restaurant show for us is a conference and trade show but it’s also an opportunity for the hospitality and the food service industry,” says Nicolle Montgomery, director of sponsorship and event strategy for Colorado Restaurant Association. “If they’re involved they can be inspired by keynote presentations and learn about regulations to keep their businesses running as smoothly as possible. It’s also an introduction to new products. We really like it to be a one stop shop for the industry to find out what and who they should know.”
This year’s theme is “Think Big. Grow Locally” and includes networking opportunities as well as panel conferences and discussions that offer direction and support for businesses in the Rocky Mountain region. It also highlights ways to improve their businesses through the integration of state of the art product development and thorough information sessions and exhibitions.
Conference subject matters include:
· Culture Club: How Colorado Restaurateurs are Creating a Lasting Culture
· New Age of Immigration Compliance
· Breaking Bad Behavior: Employee Behavior Do’s and Don’ts
· Sex, Drugs and Tip Pooling
· Tips(y): Top Liquor License Violations and how to Avoid
· Sustainable Food Sourcing: Opportunities and Challenges
· Online Reputation Management for Restaurants
The trade show portion is open from 12:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. and features more than 150 exhibitors. It’s free to walk the expo floor but tickets are necessary to attend Meyer’s speech and the additional conferences. The event doesn’t “sell out” and guests can register on-site or online for $25. The CRS expects between 1200 and 1500 attendees this year which Montgomery says is “great, because it’s the second year of it’s induction and we’re growing at a good rate.”
The Colorado Restaurant Association previously had a concept in play for the last 50 years but recently there has been a shift to bring education into the format which Montgomery says “is just as vital as the trade show piece.”
“We structured the show so day one is all about culture and the other is about industry trends,” says Montgomery. “Day one is how to create the best company culture to stand out and then how to retain the right people. Day two is all about compliance, like top liquor law violations, Human Resources and labor law snafoos. How to avoid them, how to get people in the door and how to stay in business.”
The Colorado Convention Center is a bubble of hustle as they host Great American Beer Festival Thursday, October 5, through Saturday, October 7, and then the Colorado Restaurant Show just a few days later. Over the next few days Denver encapsulates and celebrates Colorado’s ever-growing food and beverage scene.
“We’re really excited and to have a speaker of Danny’s caliber in this market,” says Montgomery. “We know it’s hard to leave your restaurant, so to see so many people interested makes us really happy.”