6 Key Takeaways from Vegas (Restaurant Shows)

publication date: Mar 27, 2024
author/source: David "Rev" Ciancio

vegas show


Both the Pizza Expo and the Bar & Restaurant Expo recently concluded in Las Vegas, NV.

Why am I sharing about both together? They happen at the same time in the same convention center and many people attend both.

Not only do I love these shows because they really bring focus to the challenges and solutions for independent operators in focused service categories. Pizzerias, bars and nightclubs are not like other restaurants but also have similarities. Attending these shows helps you to get niche focus but also 30,000 foot views. Both great shows if you want to learn, network and overcome challenges.



This is the hospitality biz so without a doubt, quality product and quality service are paramount. But if nobody knows you exist, its for nought.

Get marketing and if you are marketing but not happy with where the business is at, get smarter with your marketing.

There are 4 parts to restaurant marketing. It's important you understand each of them and where they live in the customer journey. Be sure you optimize for each.

- Awareness - what can you do to get people to find out about your business?

- Acquisition - what can you do to get people to choose to dine with you?

- Experience - what can you do to make the food and service memorable? Be sure you are capturing their contact info so you can market for ....

- Retention - what can you do to get guests to come back?


We hosted a banger 45 minute marketing Q&A session and helped a lot of restaurants get unstuck with their marketing. I know there were a ton of questions we didn't get to, so here's a mini marketing channel plan for the above:

- Awareness - Awareness ads on Meta (Facebook / Instagram), influencer marketing, getting your guests to share on social and in public reviews on Google or Yelp.

- Acquisition - Listings management (local search optimization), Google Search and PMax Ads, landing page campaigns using Meta traffic ads.

- Experience - Capture emails via online orders, reservations & gated WiFi, get feedback from every guest.

- Retention - Weekly email newsletters, reply to all guest feedback and reviews, organic posts on Meta.


You've got to be scrappy. Don't let anything get in your way. Budgets might be tight but there is always a creative, ingenious and innovative way to overcome obstacles.

Don't have a budget for marketing? Make time in your schedule to do it.

Sales are slow on certain day parts? Create an offer, limited time menu item, or unique experience only available at those times.

Having trouble with labor? Make it 2x more awesome to work there so those who do stay and reallocate labor to higher touch positions where you can have tech or equipment do the job instead.


Restaurants: Your guests would love to see what goes on at these shows! Give them a behind-the-scenes view you of what you're doing, what you're learning, selfies of who you're hanging out with and maybe some things that might be coming to the restaurant. Ask for their feedback, show them how the sausage is made, literally. It's very engaging and I guarantee you that other restaurants in your trade area are not doing this it will help you stand out.

Vendors / suppliers: set yourself apart from the competition, get more awareness and show potential new customers what it's like to work with you. All of the vendors at the show who were sharing content while at the show had some of the busiest booths. Plus your content lives even after the show ends.

I helped a couple of great suppliers with an expo showcase. Not only is it still getting views, it will continue to get views. I had people walk up to me at the show and tell me that they went and visited those boots because they saw my content. That could be you. At the time I wrote this, between Instagram and TikTok, that video has been played 20,000 times.


I think this is one of the most important things restaurants can be doing right now. What tasks are currently being done by your team that can be replaced with tech, robots, equipment, AI, outsourcing, etc?

Get those into place and then switch your labor force to doing high touch tasks that elevate the guest experience or make the kitchen more efficient.

At my restaurant, Handcraft Burgers and Brew, even at our absolute busiest, we can run the store on just 4 employees.

We eliminated cash registers and lines with kiosks. We now have one host who can help every guest in the room, especially with orders and one runner / manager to get orders to guests. And our guests love it!


If it's not getting done but needs to, or needs to be done in a better way or you just don't know how to do it … get help.

There are consultants and agencies that can help teach you profitability, build a culture, run your marketing for you, help you figure out how to start franchising, on board tech, up level your marketing team … literally everything.

If you need help with marketing, that's what I do. Hit me up.

If it needs to get done, get help.

David Rev CiancioDavid "Rev" Ciancio is a co-owner of Handcraft Burgers & Brew and also a Brand, Customer & Technology Evangelist. Rev helps tech and software companies generate more leads, quicken the sales cycle, create memorable customer journeys, all while building fervent brand ambassadors and growing business & sales. He helps restaurants to make tech decisions and to create guest acquisition and retention marketing that works. Get more marketing tips from Rev at #revsmarketingtips. If you ever have questions about restaurant marketing, just email me.