Restaurant & Bar Pros Owe It to Themselves Not to Miss This Conference

As you may have heard, it’s time to book tickets for Nightclub & Bar Show in Las Vegas, the nation’s largest expo for bar and restaurant professionals, this year from June 22 to June 24, 2020. And if you know what’s what, you’ll use the promo code VINEPAIR to get $30 off your ticket.

Before leaving for Las Vegas you’ll want to map out which of the 70 talks, panels, bootcamps, workshops, off-site trainings, and industry parties best suit you. This year, the conference sessions have been brilliantly planned around five different tracks: Food & Beverage, Guest Experience, Marketing & Promotions, Operations, and People, making it very simple to identify which events fit your needs and interests. Use the show’s Sched site to navigate between each track.

For those looking to raise capital, the Operations track is the way to go. Don’t miss “How to Raise $1M in Less Than 24 Hours” from the managing director of Hunt Hospitality, Stephen Hunt. And there’s a crucial seminar for employers in the People & Staffing track called “Inclusivity Increases Profits,” a discussion with Charleston-based beverage ambassadors Johnny Caldwell and Taneka Reaves of Cocktail Bandits.

If you’re looking for tips and tricks for improving guest experience and customer service, be sure to check out this talk from Linden Pride, the owner of NYC aperitivo bar Dante, on how to anticipate your guests’ needs and then over-deliver. And if you’re searching for ways to get the word out about your business, then you’ll likely sign up for the Marketing & Promotions track. Be sure to attend the “Best Practices When Working With Social Media Influencers” talk with Natalie Migliarini, founder of Beautiful Booze.

Photo by Getty Images

Perhaps you’re looking to revamp your business’s food and beverage options so you stand out from the competition? In that case, be sure to look through all 13 informative talks and workshops that fall under the Food & Beverage Conference Track. The sessions will cover a wide range of topics, from how to execute high-volume cocktails to how to capitalize on the plant-based eating trend. We caught up with two speakers from the Food & Beverage Track to hear what they have in store for participants in their sessions.

Mark Fine, director and beverage buyer for Norwegian Cruise Line, heads up a team that develops and implements beverage programs across 17 cruise ships, making him the perfect speaker to lead a conversation he’s calling “Designing an Award-Winning Beverage Program Is Not Magic.” Despite the title, Fine promises a bit of magic during his talk (he was once a magician who performed in clubs and on cruise ships). Aside from the tricks, he’ll elaborate on “ways to better understand your guests and what they’re looking for, and how to train your employees and staff to be successful.”

Fine has attended the conference and expo for seven years. Apart from discovering innovative technology, new organic and biodynamic wines, and creative cocktail ingredients, Fine loves the social aspect of meeting industry colleagues from across the country and the mind meld that ensues. Last year, Fine toured all the local Las Vegas tiki bars, including The Golden Tiki, Frankie’s Tiki Room, and Tiki di Amore with a handful of Nightclub & Bar Show attendees. Along the way, they had eye-opening conversations about decor, menu design, and ingredients over tropical drinks.

Fine admits that he most looks forward to sampling around at the expo. “You get to taste everything on the floor, which you have to be careful about,” he warns.

Photo by Getty Images

And it’s not just beverage experts leading talks at the conference. Chef Nick Liberato, who spent 220 days last year traveling around the world for his new Netflix Original show, “Restaurants on the Edge,” will lead “What’s Next In Culinary Trends,” along with hosting a live cooking demo on the expo floor. “This will be my sixth year at the Nightclub & Bar Show,” explains Liberato. “For this year’s demo, I’ll be cooking crispy calamari with pickled Fresno chiles, orange glaze, furikake, and scallions.”

Liberato, executive chef and partner of the Venice Restaurant Group in Los Angeles, knows a thing or two about what makes restaurants a huge success. He took over The Venice Whaler in 2014, taking it from a $3-million-per-year business to a $10-million-per-year business. Liberato now oversees three restaurants in Venice Beach, including The Venice Whaler, The Pier House, and Cartolina. During his “What’s Next In Culinary Trends” talk, Chef Liberato will look at environmental sustainability in bar and restaurant operations and the growing interest in healthier menu options and more health-conscious lifestyles on the part of both customers and chefs.

No matter if you’re looking to raise quick capital to grow your business or revamp your food and beverage menu, the beauty of the conference is that there is something for everyone, no matter your business goals or aspirations.

For more information on Nightclub & Bar Show, or to buy tickets, visit Remember! VinePair readers will get $30 off their ticket price with promo code VINEPAIR.

This article is sponsored by Nightclub & Bar Show.