HPBA To Host First Barbecue Conference

The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association is hosting its first barbecue conference this year from October 1 to October 2.

Open to barbecue manufacturers, the two-day event features programming that will discuss relevant industry insights and forecasting future trends and market shifts. The conference takes place at the Westin at Kansas City Crown Center.

Event highlights include: 

October 1:

Welcome/Barbecue Section Update. Speaker: Tom Wenke, Weber-Stephen Products, LLC

Economic Outlook: Are We There Yet? Almost eight years after the worst recession in decades began, how far have we come and how far do we have to go? Hear the perspective according to the Federal Reserve. Speaker: Michael Redmond, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

The Generational Divide: Consumer Marketing Insight. With four generations in the workplace, the tide is about to change. By 2020, Millennials will be the largest group in the workplace, and will hold the most consumer power in the marketplace. Find out how to embrace this change and position your company for success. Speaker: Scott Zimmer, Bridgeworks

2015: Hot Food Trends. There’s more to barbecue than just using sauces and rubs on meat these days. Learn what new cuisines are favorites for restaurants and cookbook authors, and how they can be cooked on the grill. Moderator: Jill Wendholt Silva, The Kansas City Star. Panel Speakers: Ardie Davis, cookbook author and founder of the American Royal International BBQ Sauce, Rub & Baste Contest; Karen Adler, BBQ Queen, cookbook author and president/owner of Pig Out Publications, Inc.

Grills, Fuels and Accessories. A look at what’s trending in the industry. Speaker: Audrey Caldwell, Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association.

Weather’s Volatility: Challenges in Managing Your Business. Learn what actions you need to take to protect your bottom line, and to position your company for success in any kind of weather. Speaker: Scott Bernhardt, Planalytcis, Inc.

Fire Up Social Media to Increase Sales. Social media influences more than 75% of all consumer purchases. How can your brand break through the clutter to not only gain consumer attention, but garner sales? Learn the latest proven strategies and tactics for strengthening your social media, increasing follower engagement, and converting your online activities into sales. Speaker: Eric Davis, Harvest PR & Marketing.

What Retailers Want From You. Long term business relationships often fall into the same patterns of communication. Here’s an opportunity to hear a fresh perspective directly from the retailers themselves. Moderator: Tom Wenke, Weber-Stephen Products. Panel Speakers: Jonathan Kelly, Kansas City Fireplace Distributing; Jim Cattey, Smoke ‘N’ Fire.

October 2:

Inspiring Culinary Adventure for Backyard Barbecuers. The growing number of consumers searching for barbecue recipes, tips and competition guidance is a boon to the industry. Learn how you can tap into this trend to increase audience engagement and maximize sales. Speaker: Ray Lampe, Dr. BBQ, LLC

Looking to the Future: Consumer Lifestyle and Design Trends Ahead. From generational lifestyles to new fashion trends, the barbecue industry will be impacted more than ever as consumers embrace spending more time in their backyards. Learn what colors, finishes, and patterns will dominate consumer goods this year and why. Speaker: Maxine Lauer, Sphere Trending

The New Oasis: The Outdoor Room. Today’s “must have” home feature is popular from the sunbelt to the snowbelt. See inspiring examples of well-designed outdoor spaces, and hear the latest relevant trends gathered from landscape architects, home builders, remodelers, kitchen and bath designers, and hearth & barbecue retailers. Speaker: Richard Wright, Hearth & Home

Hot Tips: Helping Your Customers Embrace Barbecue Competitions. From a little contest between friends to a world-renowned competition with almost 600 competitors, the American Royal World Series of Barbecue showcases the intense consumer passion with our industry. Learn how getting involved as a company and inspiring your customers to compete can enhance your bottom line. Speakers: Carolyn Wells, Kansas City Barbecue Society; Chris Marks, Good-One Manufacturing