St. Louis, MO - Dot Foods customers, manufacturer partners, operators, and employees descended on St. Louis, Missouri, last week for Innovations 2019, Dot Foods' annual trade show.
While the trade show was a one-day event, many attendees enjoyed a few additional days full of insights, connections, and growth.
Activities started Wednesday, May 29, with exhibitors setting up their eye-catching booths at America's Center in downtown St. Louis, and then socializing with operators and Dot's employees at City Museum, a funhouse for adults and kids alike.
Attendees hit the ground running Thursday with a variety of free education sessions.
National account operators attended their own, customized event Thursday morning. Titled "Operator Insights," Jack Li of Datassential discussed the forces shaping the foodservice landscape (such as ghost restaurants) and divulged the latest food and beverage trends (like nduja and aleppo) that he and his company see shifting consumer tastes.
The operators also participated in three breakout sessions and received a sneak peek of the trade show floor during a private event.
Dot's customers and exhibitors also received personalized seminars on Thursday. All were encouraged to pick two topics:
"How to Work with and Lead People Not Like You" by Kelly McDonald
"The Changing Winds of Foodservice" by Jack Li
"The Art of Achieving More by Doing Less" by Tiffany Dufu
"Addressing Today's Transportation Challenges" by Mark Allen and Paul Mugerditchian
"Driving Revenue with Digital Commerce" by Carlos Manalo
Once the seminars wrapped, attendees dug in to delicious and delightful foods and drinks spread out among five ballrooms at the Marriott St. Louis Grand. Each room featured cuisine and entertainment to give attendees a taste of the different regions where Dot's distribution centers call home.
After two hours of mixing and mingling, everyone was whisked off to Stifel Theatre to watch the Goo Goo Dolls perform live. The theatre was packed as the band performed such hits as "Broadway," "Black Balloon," and "Iris."
Before the show floor opened, everyone was treated to breakfast and then Joe Tracy's Industry Update. The Dot Foods CEO covered such topics as the economy, food away from home, freight and logistics, and a Dot Foods update.
After the Industry Update, excited attendees hit the show floor to visit the 370 exhibitor booths, representing foodservice, retail, vending, and ingredients channels, over the course of almost seven hours. See the full list of exhibitors here.
Dot Foods shared its charitable culture with trade show attendees by hosting three nonprofit trade show booth.
Vickie Peters Satterfield said this on Facebook: "Great show with Dot Foods! There are three booths that really are outstanding. The first one is where you can actually stuff a bear for kids with parents in the military who are deployed. The second one is a booth where you can write a thank you note to caregivers of Alzheimer's patients. The third booth is one that explains St. Jude's Hospital and the benefits they provide kids and their parents. Awesome job, Dot Foods!"
Dot wrapped up Innovations with a hosted "Fair-Well" party in America's Center. Just down the hall from the trade show floor, Dot Foods created a carnival-like experience for all involved with rides, games, acrobats, and live music.