The educational programming and demonstrations were well attended. AIB International, Manhattan, KS, offered tips and problem-solving through its seminars on shelf life, cake production, par-baking, freezing and formulations. The show was timed perfectly for Stanley Bass of The Cheesecake Factory who is installing a second line in his operation. “I’m meeting with vendors with whom I’ve already placed orders—confirming delivery dates and other details—and I’m finding new vendors. I’ve written a lot of business on the show floor.” Bass also mentioned that he was making good connections that will be useful as he starts adding new products to his mix. Many other exhibitors also commented on how much business they were able to do on the trade show floor, touching base with established customers and meeting new ones.
A pleasant surprise to vendors and show organizers alike was the number or international visitors in attendance. Luc Imberechts of Bakon USA commented, “We came expecting a regional event and were shocked at how many national and international buyers we’ve seen in our booth. I think it’s the education program that’s attracted to them to the show.” Imberechts commented that Bakon would be securing booth space in Houston for 2012.
Show organizers were very pleased with the turnout, commenting that this launch event has given them a great foundation on which to build for the years to come. Although registration was about 75% higher than RBA’s standalone event in 2009, exact numbers are not being released. Instead, organizers will be doing post-event qualitative and quantitative research to determine attendee and exhibitor ROO and ROI and to collect information that will help in making the show even better in 2012 and beyond.