Mid-America Restaurant Expo

ORA Members Receive Free Tickets to the Mid-America Restaurant Expo

ORA members in good standing receive one free ticket for every $100 paid in membership dues. Here’s how you get your complimentary tickets to the Expo:

  1. CLICK HERE to register before Jan. 24, 2018. (Show is open to the trade only. No one under age 16 will be admitted.)

  2. Under "Payment" please use your ORA member ID number. Your member ID can be found on your membership invoice, or under your company’s listing in the online membership directory.

  3. Your tickets will be waiting for you at the Pre-Registration counter at the Expo.

Mid-America Restaurant Expo showcasing trends, technology, star chefs at 2018 event

Following its incredible debut in 2017, the Mid-America Restaurant Expo returns to the Greater Columbus Convention Center on January 28-29. The Expo is a restaurant-centered business-to-business tradeshow created and operated by the Ohio Restaurant Association.

The Expo’s education-first format remains the standard for 2018 and will include more than 50 instructional seminars blending live demonstrations, breakout sessions and quick 30-minute talks led by industry innovators. The lineup includes thought leaders from companies Technomic, Nation’s Restaurant News and Google discussing emerging industry trends robotics, artificial intelligence and how to hire and manage a Generation Z workforce. Expect plenty of unit-level, operations presentations as well.

Take a look at what’s new in the coming year:

Celebrity Sightings: Cleveland native and multi-unit restaurateur, Michael Symon, kicks off the Jan. 28 opening day events with the show’s keynote address. The James Beard Award winner, best-selling cookbook author and cohost of TV’s The Chew will discuss his trials and triumphs encountered along the way to becoming one of the country’s most-admired chefs. And in addition to his own chef demonstration, Iron Chef America judge, Mario Rizzotti, will emcee several culinary demonstrations.

The Establishment: This all-new area on our expansive show floor is dedicated to sampling new craft beer, wine and spirits in a tavern-like atmosphere tailored for networking. Located conveniently next door to The Establishment is a stage dedicated to beverage education and programming.

Flavors of the Midwest: This new area was created to help expose the wares of 18 carefully selected local food companies seeking to break into foodservice segments such as bakeries, ethnic foods, locally-made ingredients and more. Come sample and ask questions about their innovative products.

Connect at the Expo: Network with peers and industry professionals at this all-new “speed networking-style” event where attendees find answers to their toughest operational problems. This Monday morning networking experience includes a full pre-show breakfast.

Stimulation for Innovation: The Expo will feature multimedia demonstrations on five stages. Expect dramatic head-to-head culinary competitions and multiple thought leadership talks from industry visionaries.

ORA Members Receive Free Tickets: Each ORA member receives one free ticket to the Expo for each $100 in membership dues investment. To obtain your free tickets, CLICK HERE. You must have your ORA Member ID to complete your registration!

Click here for more information for attendees. Potential exhibitors should click here. ​

Celebrity Chef and Restaurateur Michael Symon to keynote the Mid-America Restaurant Expo on Jan. 28, 2018

COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 23, 2017) - Celebrity chef, restaurateur, James Beard award winner and television star Michael Symon has been named the keynote speaker for the 2018 Mid-America Restaurant Expo.

The Expo is scheduled for January 28-29 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center and will be a restaurant-centered business-to-business trade show like none other in the Midwest. Symon’s keynote speech at the Expo will take place on Sunday, Jan. 28.

Michael Symon is a Cleveland native who owns and operates several restaurants in America’s heartland including Lola, Mabel’s BBQ, Roast, Bar Symon and B Spot. He also shares his exuberant and approachable cooking style with viewers as an Iron Chef on the Food Network and as a co-host on ABC’s The Chew. He has also published four cookbooks.

While Michael shines on television, he is a genuine hometown guy. When he’s not working, he can be found riding his motorcycle through Cleveland, cooking at home, playing golf, thinking about his next tattoo, gardening in the backyard and spending time with his wife, Liz, and their Old English bulldog, Ozzy.

A high-resolution photo is available by emailing nwalston@ohiorestaurant.org.

Close to 4,000 people attend the inaugural Mid-America Restaurant Expo in Columbus

The Expo is the premier foodservice show in the Midwest

The inaugural 2017 Mid-America Restaurant Expo on Jan. 29-30 attracted close to 4,000 food service professionals to the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

The Expo focused on the needs of the entire food service industry, highlighting innovation, technology and trends. The Expo featured 195 companies in 282 booths, with 113 of those companies being first-time exhibitors at the Ohio Restaurant Association-produced event. New vendors included TouchBistro, Buzztime, Thanx, Crimson Cup, Premier ProduceOne, Coca-Cola and other industry leaders.

Beyond a packed show floor, the Expo featured educational seminars, demonstrations and quick 30-minute talks by industry leaders.

"We're proud of the thought leadership on display at the Expo," said ORA CEO John Barker "There were 61 educational sessions versus 25 the previous year and included speakers such as Cameron Mitchell of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, Tom Krouse of Donatos, Greg Ubert of Crimson Cup and Farmer Lee Jones of The Chef's Garden."

The 2018 Mid-America Restaurant Expo is slated for Jan. 28-29, returning once again to the Greater Columbus Convention Center. For details, click here.

More information is available on the Expo website.