Hot Stuff!

Today, the big questions for nightclub, bar, restaurant, hotel, casino and cruise line beverage pros are how to drive sales, satisfy the guest and stay on the cutting edge of hospitality in this challenging environment. Answers can be found at the 2009 Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show, March 1 – 4 in Las Vegas. Attendees will discover the keys to their success in 2009 among the more than 2,000 exhibitor booths showcasing the latest innovations from spirits, wine, beer, energy drinks, mixers, equipment, food, glassware, lighting, sound, furnishings and other key product suppliers and learn how to cope and even excel in 2009 from the slate of outstanding keynote and educational program speakers. Additional answers to the big questions can also be found at two premier shows co-located with the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show: International Restaurant Show and HotelWorld Expo. The three events make up International Hospitality Week, which draws 30,000 professionals in the food, beverage and lodging industries from the United States and 22 countries to Las Vegas.

New this year, all Nightclub & Bar registrants receive an International Hospitality Week Club Pass, which serves as an all-access pass to the hottest of the hot Las Vegas clubs: TAO Nightclub at the Venetian; LAVO Nightclub at the Palazzo; Prive Nightclub at Planet Hollywood; ROK Vegas at New York, New York; MOON Nightclub, RAIN Nightclub, Ghostbar Ultra Lounge and The Playboy Club, all at the Palms; and Body English at Hard Rock Hotel.

During International Hospitality Week, networking opportunities abound, beginning with the Welcome Kick-Off event on Sunday evening, March 1 at the Mandalay Bay Ballroom, sponsored by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS). The Nightclub & Bar Top 100 Party at brand new Vegas hot spot XS in the Wynn will celebrate the nation’s leading independent nightclub, bar and lounge operators. Additional events provide ample opportunity to network with colleagues, partners and friends new and old.  Well-crafted cocktails are big business, and today’s rising mixology stars will go head to head during the Shake It Up 2009 competition on the exhibit floor. Sponsored by Nightclub & Bar and Southern Wine & Spirits, the event showcases the top talent demonstrating their skill, flair and creative concoctions by presenting original recipes, judged by a panel of leading mixologists. Highlights of the educational program follow. For more information on the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show, visit or

Conference Highlights

From high-profile keynoters to industry experts, the 2009 Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show offers a stellar line-up of educational sessions designed to help beverage professionals build their business. Here are some highlights of the program.

Educational Sessions

Strategies for Increasing Sales in a Down Economy
Robert Plotkin, Founder, BarMedia
Sean Ludford, Director,

Journalists/beverage consultants Robert Plotkin and Sean Ludford present a fast-paced seminar loaded with proven strategies for boosting revenue while adding pizzazz to your beverage line-up. You’ll learn scores of easily implemented, profit-generating ideas for increasing profitability without raising drink prices, building repeat business and improving the appeal and quality of your bar’s drinks.

How to Thrive in Challenging Times
Tim Kirkland, CEO,
Renegade Hospitality Group

Rising costs, increased regulation, declining sales, growing competition and fewer customers are making even the most seasoned operators assess the new realities and seek new answers. While there is no surefire formula to success, industry leaders are employing tactics they believe to be powerful even during the worst of times. Tim Kirkland, author of the internationally best-selling book The Renegade Server, will share behind-the scenes best practices of America’s best run and most profitable operations in the areas of training, service and loyalty.

Secrets to Achieving a Great Bar Cost
Tim Johnson, President, Tim Johnson and Associates LLC

There are two ways to make more money: increase your sales or decrease your costs. Tim Johnson will address the latter in this informative session. With over 30 years of hospitality and beverage industry experience, Johnson will share some of the successful cost-saving secrets he’s employed at Champps, Applebee’s, Houlihan’s and other concepts. Learn new tactics for improving profitability, determining the bar costs you should be running, calculating free pouring versus measuring, identifying the ideal glass size, ice cube size, etc. and much more.

Driving Beverage Profits in a New Economy
Patrick Henry, President & CEO, Patrick Henry Creative Promotions Inc.

Whether the economy slows down or is at a record high, one thing never changes: Consumers enjoy a cocktail, beer or glass of wine. In a down economy, the key is to drive beverage sales through creative programs. Patrick Henry will demonstrate how you can do that on a limited budget. This high-energy seminar will cover sales-generating ideas, proper training techniques, traffic-driving programs and creative promotions for instantly increasing sales.

The Future of Mixology
Moderated by: Livio Lauro, National President, USBG
Bridget Albert, Master Mixologist, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.
Brian Van Flandern, President/Owner, Creative Cocktail Consultants
Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist
Francesco Lafranconi, National Director of Mixology & Spirits Educator, Southern Wine & Spirits of America Inc.
“Bobby “G” Gleason, Master Mixologist, Beam Global Spirits and Wine

With the unpredictable economy, competition is at an all-time high. To be “the best” at the profession of bartending and its surrounding careers, you must train and educate yourself to rise above and stand out from the rest. Education, networking and keeping up with and setting new trends has never been more important. Come ask the industry’s top mixologists how they have managed to stand out over the years and where they see this industry going.

Responsible Service Training for the New Millennium
Sam Stanovich, director,
ServSafe Alcohol
Adam Chafetz, president/CEO,
Health Communications/TIPS
Moderator: Donna Hood Crecca,
editorial director,
Nightclub & Bar

Educating staff to serve responsibly is essential for every bar, nightclub and restaurant operator. Now, accessing this crucial education has never been easier or more effective, thanks to new training formats and systems that speak to not only your operational needs and resource limitations, but also to the way your employees learn best. Hear from top training program developers about the latest in training delivery and new ways of learning as well as ways to make yours a culture of responsible service.

Managing Costs Through Difficult Times
Richard Verrecchia, director of
beverage, OSI Restaurant Partners

Stan Novack, vice president of Concept Development, HMSHost;
Cindy Busi, worldwide beverage director, Hard Rock International;
Tim Johnson, president, Tim Johnson & Associates and Magic Mike Werner, chairman, ShowTenders Inc.

Successful operators are successful because they plan ahead to ensure success through difficult times. As today’s economy puts a squeeze on consumers’ dining-out dollars, operators are looking to make smart moves to minimize costs, increase efficiency and improve their bottom line without compromising quality. This panel has been there and will share their best practices for managing costs when times are tough.

The Green Bar
H. Joseph Ehrmann Founder, Cocktail Ambassadors, and proprietor, Elixir

Green business is not only a trend but a new business paradigm. Join this seminar focused on the changes you can make to be a more environmentally friendly business while improving both your top and bottom lines. H. Joseph Ehrmann, proprietor of California’s first green-certified bar, Elixir, and founder of Cocktail Ambassadors, leads a panel discussion that helps demystify the “green movement” in the bar business and how you can benefit from it.

Serious Business: Bartender Education
Livio Lauro, national president, USBG
Edward Korry, associate professor, Johnson & Wales University

Dale DeGroff, King Cocktail, BarSmarts
Moderator: Donna Hood Crecca, editorial director,
Nightclub & Bar

Skill and knowledge are a bartender’s most important tools today, and with the advent of new training and certification programs, opportunities abound to ramp up on both. Panelists representing several major initiatives, including BarSmarts, USBG Master Accreditation Program and Johnson & Wales University, will outline the importance of formal training, the value of certification and how to choose the right program for you.


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