Mid-Atlantic Food Beverage & Lodging EXPO Opens Today in Baltimore

RAM EXPO 01 0908Today opens the annual Mid-Atlantic Food Beverage & Lodging Expo at the Baltimore Convention Center … the largest trade show for foodservice between New York and Florida. So far it looks like the room is "green" as have been the shows around the country in the last year or so. When you see the gas company with wind mills in their booth display art, you know we're living in a different time.

In the foto, Paul Hartgen (left of the scissors) CEO and president of the Restaurant Association of Maryland and Tom Noonan, CEO and president of the Baltimore Area Convention & Visitors Association did the required ribbon cutting.

Over the next two days I'll be sending back regular reports throughout the day with hot news, new products and fun people — including the chef competition for the Chesapeake Challenge.

I do wish Mr. Noonan the best in his new Baltimore role … and maybe he can change the mood of the Baltimore Convention Center. I've been to the conference center at Disney World, McCormick Place in Chicago, Ocean City Convention Center, Javits in NYC in the last year and this is easily the least user friendly attendee, exhibitor facility I've run into. To find a wireless hotspot to make this transmission I had to leave the exhibit space, walk upstairs and half-a-mile away to use the Starbucks hot spot for $15.95 (since this is a licensed Starbucks, no wireless deals and you can't use the Starbucks cards either). The price is OK — it's the blatant incovenience that makes it a bad deal. OR I could pay the convention center a $1000 plus for service inside the hall.

That said the show is great … worth it all. And as we are hospitality people … everyone is smiling so far.

Stay tuned for a report early this afternoon.

About the Author

Michael Birchenall is Editor and Publisher of Foodservice Monthly, a regional trade publication covering the foodservice industry of the Mid-Atlantic (DE, DC, MD, VA). Foodservice Monthly has been recognized as the Restaurant Association of Maryland's Allied Industry Member of the Year and by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington as the Joan Hisaoka Associate Member of the Year.

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