Bad Girl, Good Business

Craves and Faves

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Best of Show

During my second day at the International Restaurant and Food Service Show of New York I focused on speaking to some of the exhibitors. Plus, my team and I selected our favorite foods and beverages (a difficult decision indeed, but see some of the highlights, below.)

I also spent time talking to exhibitors about their philosophies around “free samples.” How do businesses ensure that real buyers are sampling their products when their booths are swarmed by “tasters?” (The Neuske’s rep told me she sizzled through 25 pounds of bacon in just one day!). One exhibitor noted that New York trade show attendees tend to be more aggressive in their quest for free food than booth crawlers in other cities.  As I mentioned in my last blog, badge-reading is critical to trade show success. In the social media-fueled food world, bloggers can be anyone and anywhere, so smart brands are generous to everyone.

Plus, I fulfilled one of my life-long dreams — to actually walk inside a food truck from Vending Trucks, Inc.. Perhaps theONswitch will have a marketing truck one day. We can serve-up hot innovations and chocolate chip cookies.

We realized that the people making and serving the food are as important as the edibles themselves. We were impressed by the business owners and reps who chatted with us and told us the stories behind their brands. Warm and welcoming people are always in good taste!

Here are our top 10 favorite food and beverage brands at the show!

  1. John Wm. Macy’s Cheese Sticks: John himself was awesome. I’m always impressed by CEOs who work the booth themselves.
  2. Brooklyn PiggiesTwo creative women  — Missy and Stacy — have finally invented clever alternatives to the cocktail weiner.
  3. David’s CookiesSo many varieties! (Thankfully, hungry visitors haven’t ripped up the scotch-taped samples (below)
  4. Avocados from MexicoChocolate avocado parfaits? It’s a dessert AND a nutrient.
  5. MochidokiJapanese dough and ice cream together seem to be trending…you can even brand these!
  6. GuS Grown Up SodaSo many flavors…so little time.
  7. Edibles by JackNo need to wash these spoons…you can eat them!
  8. Jax CocoCoconut water now sparkles…especially with celebrity backers like Stella McCartney and Elton John.
  9. LimationNot only was the beverage amazing, but Charmaine DaCosta is too. This woman entrepreneur is investing her heart and soul in her brand.
  10. Owl’s Brew: Would you like some tea in your booze? This product is an elegant hoot.
BGGB.OkeyDokey-fred A shameless plug for theONswitch client White Plains Linen. Models were dressed in napkin and tablecloth garb and they drew a crowd.
BGGB_ShakingHands The New York State Restaurant Association hosted some great workshops and lots of awesome networking opportunities!
BGGB_Thumbs-Down-fred Yes…we actually saw a booth staffer brushing her hair…inches away from a plate of cheese. That’s one way to discourage sampling.
BGGB_Pointer  Made from sugar and pastry. You can’t get much cooler than that! Watch the video here!




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