Bingo! Everyone Wins At The Specialty Food Business Summit!

Gretchen Vanesselstyn

It all started with the prosciutto-wrapped grilled asparagus – and a bingo card. When we plan an event like the Product Development Boot Camp, our team has a lot of fun working through the details that add up to the full Summit experience. We knew we wanted to find a way for a large group of people to get to know each another within a short period of time. And a networking game was born.

Drinks, appetizers, and bingo cards in hand, our attendees sought out fellow specialty food manufacturers, Instant Pot owners, people with more than three cats, Bruce Springsteen concert goers, and people who could name more than seven Texas sports teams. Each attendee who made “bingo” got a prize, and, along the way, new bonds were forged (especially among the group who makes products containing garlic.)

That good feeling got us through the next 42 hours as we worked through 12 hours of product development-focused sessions over two days, with ample time to network in between. Many attendees took advantage of the opportunity to dine out at local restaurants in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with event speakers and SFA board members and staff – and they all woke up in time for breakfast and a talk on branding on Tuesday morning!

Running a business can be hard. And while many specialty food makers chat and share ideas with their booth neighbors at the Fancy Food Shows, there’s not much time to share the tricks of the trade when buyer attention is at a premium. SFA created the Summit to give makers a chance to go deep on a topic without any pressure to compete. There’s an intimacy that comes from sharing space for many days, and a vulnerability in asking a question about something you think you should probably already know. After eating, drinking, and wrestling with the demands of running a business together, I believe that our Summit grads came away with some new friends – some of whom can name five brands of mayonnaise, wear red shoes, and have exhibited at more than 10 Fancy Food Shows. Bingo!

P. S. If you didn’t make it to this year’s Summit, we will have the videos available for purchase in the Learning Center in May. 

P. P. S.  Want to get some of that Summit feeling from your very own home or office? The Solution Center Q&A Forum is a great place to network and get your questions answered (but without the all-day coffee).
Posted by Denise Purcell on Apr 20, 2018 3:10 PM America/New_York