Should You Send Restaurant Employees To Industry Events and Food Shows?

food show

When you’re in the restaurant or food and beverage industries, there are plenty of events to choose from that you could send employees to, but should you? If you’re on a tight budget, is it worth it? In a lot of cases, the answer might be yes.

Some of the top restaurant and food service shows include FMI Connect which is for food retailers. There’s the United Fresh Show that focuses on fresh produce throughout the supply chain. There’s the aptly named Summer Fancy Food Show for people who are in the specialty food and beverage industries. There are also even more specialized events like the Seafood Expo North America, the Pizza Expo, the NYC Hot Sauce Expo, and the New England Food Show.

If you’re in the food and beverage industry, and you want to have your employees represented at an event, but you’re unsure about the costs or the logistics, the following are some things to consider.

Expense Automation Software

Most companies are on a tight budget when it comes to sending employees to industry events, but they miss out on opportunities in many cases. If you have an automated expense management solution in place that can make it easier to manage things like business expense receipt handling, you can stay on budget without missing prime opportunities.

With automated expense management, the benefits will extend outside of just sending employees to industry events. Your employees can create expense claims when they’re on-the-go, so they can focus on what they’re there to do. If your employees are going to offsite training and they need to take an Uber somewhere, that can be managed with an automated expense solution.

It’s a good all-around tool to have for your business, and especially if you’re concerned about sending employees to events around the country or even the world.

Skill Development

Even outside the food and beverage industry, certain events offer excellent opportunities for skill development, and often this can occur at a lower cost than comprehensive training would cost. For example, your employees can participate in presentations from key people in the food and beverage industries.

It’s a great way to revive your creative side when you’re in the F&B industry and to remain competitive in your local area.

Food expo
Certain events offer excellent opportunities…

There are so many ways that people who attend industry events can be educated. It’s not just the presentations and demonstrations. Just by interacting with some of the best in your industry it’s a great way to learn by osmosis.

Even if you can just afford to send one employee to an event, they can come back and share what they learned with everyone.

Fresh Energy and Enthusiasm

No matter what your area of specialty within the food and beverage industry, staying on top of trends is essential. You want your staff and your company to constantly be learning, growing and bringing new ideas to it all. Food and beverage are creative arenas.

If you send an employee or multiple employees to an event, it’s a great opportunity not just to learn specific skills, but also to revive their energy and enthusiasm. They’re more likely to come back feeling ready to innovate and come up with new ideas.

Sending Teams to Food Shows

If you can send just one employee to an important event, that’s great. If you can send teams, that’s sometimes even better. When you can send a team of employees, it can help strengthen your company culture and bring those people together so that when they get back, they’re working together well. There’s a sense of natural comradery that can develop when people attend exciting industry events together.

It also helps spark inspiration even further when there’s a team there experiencing the energy of the event and bouncing ideas off one another.

If it’s a big event, sending a team is logistically useful. The team can spread out and make sure they’re attending as many presentations or speaking to as many exhibitors and networking as much as possible. They can cover a lot more ground than one person can.

Of course, you probably don’t have the budget to send a team of employees to every interesting food and beverage event that comes up, but if you can be strategic and pick one or two throughout the year, set a budget and create a policy to guide how employees attend these events, you might find they pay for themselves many times over.