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19 Can’t-Miss Experiences at Catersource 2020

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Bill Hansen speaking at Catersource 2019

Who’s going to Catersource this year?!

Catersource 2020, which will be held March 9–12 in Las Vegas, will feature dozens of sessions led by the best in the biz.

We’re really looking forward to the interactive components this year (especially Hotbox 101).

And of course, we can’t forget the presentation of this year’s ACE and ICA CATIE award winners!

If you’re a Catersource veteran, you probably have your own list of must-attend events.

But if you’re looking to switch it up this time around, here are the top sessions and events we’re eyeballing this year:

1. How Sugarsnap Catering Hit 20% Profit in Two Years

In 2019, Sugarsnap had its best year ever in every category: profit, revenue, stress level, time off and more. In this session, Abbey Duke will do a deep dive into the five strategies she used to build a year-round, sustainable business in a small market.

Abbey is a long-time client and friend of ours, we’re super excited to see her on stage.

From Barely Breaking Even to 20% Profit in Two Years: How We Did It

Abbey Duke (Owner, Sugarsnap)

When: Thursday, March 12 | 4:00pm–5:00pm
Where: South Pacific B

2. Meet the Experts

Catersource has more than a few important candid conversations happening this year.

Here are a few that we’re interested in listening in on:

Up Close and Personal with Roy Porter

Join catering industry legend Roy Porter, director of Engage-Works Inc., for a Q&A discussion replete with stories and frank (and often contrarian) answers to important questions on a wide variety of off-premise catering subjects. Roy’s experience spans over 2,400 weddings and many of So-Cal’s high-profile mega-events.

When: Tuesday, March 10 | 9:15am–10:15am
Where: South Pacific

Bill Hansen speaking at Catersource 2019
Bill Hansen @ Catersource 2019

Bill Hansen: A Year in Review

Come hear the latest from Bill Hanson, Catersource guru, Michael Roman Lifetime Achievement Award winner and owner of Bill Hansen Catering and Event Production. Be prepared to be blown away by the incredible growth his company has had over the past year. If you’re looking to grow your business, bring your questions!

When: Thursday, March 12 | 4:00pm–5:00p
Where: South Pacific I

Jeff Ware on Sustainability

Jeff Ware, director of operations at Catering by Michaels, and the panel from his earlier session will continue the conversation and dive into more detail about how they planned and executed a multi-day program for 2,500 attendees and sent zero waste to the landfill. Have questions about sustainability for your business? Jeff and team will offer guidance and focus on answering them.

When: Thursday, March 12 | 2:30pm–3:30pm
Where: South Pacific I

Chef Vagn Nielsen on Creating a Unique Presentation

Join the imaginative Chef Vagn Nielsen, corporate executive chef of the Atlanta-based Proof of the Pudding, as he takes your questions about preparing high-quality food with unique presentation for everything from formal dinners to outdoor barbecues. Chef Nielsen’s background and insight related to catered events is not to be missed.

When: Wednesday, March 1 | 2:30pm–3:30pm
Where: South Pacific

Michael Stavros & Jonathan Jennings on Work/Life Balance

Ask anyone in the catering or events industry what they would do differently, and almost all will talk to you about being kinder to themselves and how to blend career and “life” earlier on. Join Jonathan Jennings, executive vice president of CT Wedding Group, and Michael Stavros, partner and director of BizDev, M Culinary Concepts, as they discuss stories and strategies for managing oneself.

When: Tuesday, March 10 | 1:30pm–2:30pm
Where: South Pacific I

3. Hotbox Mastery

In their first-ever national appearance, join hotbox masters Juan Soto and Jorge Soto and the Lee Brothers of Hotbox fame as they demonstrate several hands-on techniques for maximizing the usefulness of a hotbox. The Sotos’ technical artistry is not to be missed!

Hotbox 101

Matt Lee (Author, The Lee Brothers), Ted Lee (Author, The Lee Brothers), Jorge Soto (Chef de Partie, Soto Brothers), Juan Soto (Chef de Partie, Soto Brothers)

When: Thursday, March 12 | 10:30am–11:30am
Where: Hands-on Stage

4. 45 Marketing Trends to Know in 2020

We will share what 2019 marketing trends are here to stay, what’s new for 2020 along with actual marketing catering and venue marketing campaigns. Hold tight! In this fast-paced session, we will leave you with 45 ideas in 45 minutes that you can take and use for your 2020 marketing plan.

Expect short, actionable content just like our Instagram.

45 Marketing Ideas & Trends in 45 Minutes

Jamie Pritscher (Partner, Nuphoriq); Erin Walter (Partner, Nuphoriq)

When: Thursday, March 12 | 4:00pm–5:00pm
Where: Islander

5. The Importance of Knowing Your Worth

Alan Berg wants to know: do you know what you’re really selling, and do your customers understand your value? Important learning objectives of this class include knowing the difference between price and value, learning how to sell with your “why” (not “what you do”) in mind and running through the right and wrong ways to set prices.

Alan’s presentations are a must-see at Catersource, we look forward to them every year!

Sell Your Value & Charge What You’re Worth

Alan Berg, CSP (Owner, Wedding Business Solutions LLC)

When: Tuesday, March 10 | 8:00am–9:00am
Where: South Pacific F

6. Meryl Snow Dives into Buyer Perception

Meryl reminds us that perception is everything, especially when it comes to differentiating your business in this highly competitive industry. When given a choice, what buyer wouldn’t want to seek services from a business that is perceived to be the best in their city, state or even in the country? It’s not enough to simply close the sale. You’ve got to help your clients fall in love with you and your business.

Meryl Snow

Buyer Perception Can Make or Break You and Your Business

Meryl Snow (Owner, SnowStorm Solutions)

When: Tuesday, March 10 | 9:15am–10:15am
Where: Mariners

7. Catering Virtual Reality

Virtual reality has found its way into the world of Fortune 500 companies, and its implementation in the event industry is inevitable. In this session, you’ll dive into the future of event tech, how VR solutions can impact your business and what you need to know before you make the jump.

The Future of Virtual Reality in Catering

Sandy Hammer (CMO and Co-Founder, AllSeated)

When: Thursday, March 12 | 1:15pm–2:15pm
Where: Islander G

8. How Event Companies Can Help Save the Planet

Join catering leaders for an informative, engaging session focused on designing and reproducing successful, sustainable events. Learn how to adapt event sustainability concepts and key operational efficiencies to your year-round operations, scaling up and down for events of all sizes and scopes and more!

Recycling is worth the investment

Saving the Planet, One Event at a Time: Waste Reduction at Events of All Sizes

Stavros (Partner | Director of BizDev, M Culinary Concepts); Eric Gray (Senior Associate – Technology, Innovation and Strategic Alliances, Waste Management)

When: Tuesday, March 10 | 4:15pm–5:00pm
Where: South Pacific F

9. Jennifer Perna Gives Tips on How to Talk to Your Boss

One of the largest responsibilities for sales managers that’s often overlooked is effectively communicating with their manager. This class takes a targeted approach on how sales professionals can share challenges and opportunities in a structured, methodical way with their superiors.

Managing Up! How to Talk to Your Boss

Jennifer Perna (Owner and Founder, Fulton Market Consulting)

When: Tuesday, March 10 | 9:15am–10:15am
Where: South Pacific H

10. Carl Sacks Talks Costing & Pricing

Catering industry financial guru Carl Sacks will explain the relationship between costing and pricing and provide advanced pricing models used by large industry-leading companies that can be used by practically any caterer to help improve both revenue and profit.

The Costing & Pricing Matrix

Carl Sacks (Senior Consultant, Managing Director, Certified Catering Consultants)

When: Tuesday, March 10 | 1:30pm–2:30pm
Where: South Pacific J

11. Chef Greg on Fermentation

Learn everything you ever wanted to know about fermentation in a catering kitchen. WHY it is so important to use everything we purchase in our kitchens. HOW to use the fermentation process to add to value and flavor to menus. WHEN the right time is to ferment foods. This session includes a sample!

Funk, Bacteria and Bubbles

Greg Shapiro (Chef/Owner, Tastebuds Custom Catering)

When: Tuesday, March 10 | 3:15pm–4:00pm
Where: South Pacific E Culinary Experience

12. Maximize your book of business and profitability

This session is for off-premise caterers that have recently taken on a new exclusive venue or are looking to boost an established venue. Join Jonathan as he discusses innovative ways to maximize your business and increase profitability, turning your idea of venue pricing upside down.

The CT Wedding Group team
The CT Wedding Group team

Pricing for Venue Profit!

Jonathan Jennings (Executive Vice President, CT Wedding Group)

When: Tuesday, March 10 | 8:00am–9:00am
Where: Islander H

13. Health & Sobriety in the Workplace

Join Steve Palmer, co-founder of Ben’s Friends, a food and beverage industry support group offering a path forward to professionals who grapple with substance abuse and addiction, as he discusses addiction and offers advice on how you can promote health and sobriety within your workplace.

Say Grace: How the Restaurant Business Saved My Life

Steve Palmer (Managing Partner/Founder, The Indigo Road Hospitality Group)

When: Tuesday, March 10 | 3:15pm–4:00pm
Where: South Pacific F

14. The Latest Word on Vendor Meals

Vendors meals are a hot topic right now for caterers and planners. This session touches on the pros and cons of feeding the vendor team, the issues that can arise with team members working on different schedules and how to think about the return on this investment.

Vendor Meals 101: How To Make Everyone Happy, Including You

Fausto Pifferrer (Vice President/Owner, Blue Elephant Events and Catering); Reuben Bell (Owner/President, Blue Elephant Events and Catering)

When: Tuesday, March 10 | 3:15pm–4:00pm
Location: South Pacific J

15. John Reed Talks Cuisine from Around the World

Chef John Reed will help you break down a specific cuisine, from its history, geography, techniques and ingredients to creating menus and dishes for your most discerning guests. Chef Reed will provide a Q&A as well as product sampling of various core flavoring agents such as sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami. This session includes a vegetarian sample!

Chef John Reed chopping asparagus
Chef John in action

Global Cuisine in the Catering World

John Reed (Owner, Customized Culinary Solutions)

When: Thursday, March 12 | 4:00pm–5:00pm
Where: South Pacific E Culinary Experience

16. The Art of Plating

You can pull off any off-site multi-course plated event by pre-planning with sales, staffing, organization, plating lines, times and execution. Chef Keith Lord breaks down how and gives you the tools to execute any plated meal beautifully, effectively and timely.

It’s All in the Plating

Keith Lord (Owner, Stratəjē Fourteen)

Tuesday, March 10 | 4:15pm–5:00pm
Location: South Pacific D

17. Menu Pricing Tips to Maximize Profits

There are a number of factors that go into crafting sustainable menu pricing. Join top catering industry experts in this session as they discuss ways that you can use market trends, smart spending and food value to help your profits soar.

Maximizing Your Catering Profits

Clint Elkins (VP of Sales, SB Value), Anthony Lambatos (Co-Owner & CEO, Footers Catering), Lon Lane (Owner, Lon Lane’s Inspired Occasions), Adam Gooch (Corporate Executive Chef, Common Plea Catering)

When: Wednesday, March 11 | 1:15pm–2:15pm
Where: South Pacific D

18. Why Design Matters

In this session, you will learn how to implement design details into each facet of your event. From your staff uniforms to menu cards, passing trays, plate selections, disposables and even bar signage…design matters!

It’s in the Details: Implementing Design into Your Events

Renee Miner (President | Chief Event Designer, Empyrean Events and Catering)

When: Wednesday, March 11 | 2:30pm–3:30pm
Where: Islander G

19. What’s Your Leadership Style?

Discover the leadership style that’s best for you. This father-daughter duo will walk you through the way they approach today’s workplace trends. You may think they’d have the same answers, as they both have built cultures that put people first, but the generational difference has given them different approaches to leadership, companies and the people-based cultures they have built.

Two Different Leadership Styles. One Powerful Company Culture.

Erin Walter (Partner, Nuphoriq); Tom Walter (Chief Culture Officer, Tasty Catering)

When: Wednesday, March 11 | 2:30pm–3:30pm
Where: South Pacific H

We can’t wait to see everyone! Come visit us at booth #846!

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Meet Nuphoriq
Nuphoriq is a marketing company for caterers and event venues. And we're fun to work with! We work alongside everyone from family businesses to the Leading Caterers of America and partner with organizations like the ICA, LCA and Catersource.
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