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(Milwaukee, WI)  The Wisconsin Restaurant Expo saw significant increases in attendance from trade professionals this year.  As the largest and most inclusive state foodservice and hospitality show in the region, the Expo just completed its 80th annual event over March 11-13, 2013 at the Delta Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

“This year’s Wisconsin Restaurant Expo brought huge successes with attendance,” said Dawn Faris, VP of Exposition and Business Development.  “The statistical increases were a solid reminder that the Expo is the leading event in the area to unite thousands of food and beverage professionals under one roof to do business.”

Attendee statistics from the 2013 Wisconsin Restaurant Expo:

  • The 2013 Expo brought higher attendance over the three days than has been counted since 2001.  The number of unique attendees to the event was up 14% over the prior year.
  • Monday’s attendance alone at the 2013 Expo was higher than has been counted since 1998, with unique attendees to the event up 30% over the prior year on that day.  The show ended just as strongly, seeing a 9% increase for unique attendance on Wednesday.
  • The opening keynote address by Donald Driver drew a record crowd with nearly 1,500 people in attendance.
  • More people registered in advance for the Expo in 2013.  Advanced registration was up 5% over the previous year.

A record number of industry partnerships were formed in 2013 – 17 organizations and associations held meetings and/or became promotional partners for the statewide event.  Members and managers of these groups from around Wisconsin took time to visit the exhibit hall; these groups make up 11% of attendees.

“The attitudes of food and beverage professionals are vastly more positive than in past years,” said Faris. “The fact that our Expo floor was so crowded means interest in conducting business face-to-face is still strong and getting stronger.”

Next year’s Expo will have a new name and an expanded focus to commit to attendance growth in all markets in future years. The Midwest Foodservice Expo (formerly Wisconsin Restaurant Expo) is planned for March 10-12, 2014 at the Delta Center in downtown Milwaukee.


The Wisconsin Restaurant Expo, now the Midwest Foodservice Expo, is produced by the Wisconsin Restaurant Association (WRA) and is a trade-only show.  Since 1933, the WRA has been dedicated to the promotion, protection and improvement of the foodservice industry.  WRA offices are located at 2801 Fish Hatchery Road in Madison, Wisconsin.