Pride Centric Resources has hailed its recent ‘Wired for Success’ foodservice dealer and vendor conference a major triumph – and revealed it broke all internal records for attendance and engagement.
The dealer buying group said the popularity of the event had shown it that with the right approach, the virtual environment can provide promising engagement and opportunities.
It is now encouraging dealer and vendor partners to reassess how to utilize virtual capabilities to enhance their ongoing meetings, conferences, and training capabilities, offering a means of training and resources to help them succeed.
Among the most impressive of stats from the conference, Pride nearly doubled its attendee participation from 2019, totaling nearly 600 attendees in 2020.
Within the meeting cycle, there were nearly 800 registrations for breakout meeting participation among attendees and over 2,800 one on one meetings.
From adjusting the meeting style from the traditional “structured rotation” to a one-on-one appointment model, 89% of attendees agreed that this flexibility created a positive enhancement.
Gary Thiakos, president of Zepole Restaurant Supplies & Equipment, said: “The flexibility to have other staff attend breakouts was key and the breakout topics were more business-related versus product-related, which is what we need.”
A representative from Arrow Restaurant Equipment stated: “The vendors made very good use of our time – perhaps even better than an in-person conference. The 15-minute sessions were well-spent and passed quickly. The ability to manage the conference around day-to-day activities was really worthwhile. The fact that we didn’t have to leave the office, yet managed to exchange valuable information with key factories was refreshing.”
A representative from American Restaurant Equipment added: “The Pride team did an awesome job and everything went very smoothly. The technical issues we were expecting never surfaced or impacted the experience we had. Thank you everyone for their hard work and commitment to providing a valuable experience for all of us.”
The virtual event allowed vendors present their materials digitally, providing easy, downloadable content for dealers to utilize and send to their teams.
Cathy Ellickson, VP of dealer services at Pride, said the virtual aspect of the event meant that team members who may not otherwise have attended a physical conference were given a chance to become a part of the education and excitement. “Plus, it encourages a quicker follow-up cycle than in-person events” she noted.
Pride is now considering continuing a virtual approach for at least one annual conference, it said.
Karin Sugarman, president and CEO of Pride (main image), concluded: “We took the opportunity to take a step back, assess the elements of the virtual environment, and determine how to accomplish our goals within this new world.