Days to Show

March 19 - 22, 2018
Exhibits Open: March 20 - 22, 2018
Las Vegas Convention Center


The Monday education program for 2017 appears below. The offerings for Pizza Expo 2018 will be posted at a later date.

Opening a New Pizzeria?
Re-evaluating Your Pizza Dough and Ingredients?

Monday, March 27

The Monday program of seminars and early-evening reception are designed for anyone starting a new pizza company or seeking to improve an exiting pizza menu. All will take inspiration from the opening Special Seminar on innovation by independent pizzeria operator Doug Ferriman, who is both a champion pizzaiolo and a proven developer of successful business concepts. He’ll be followed by three sessions aimed at helping new operators prosper along with another series of sessions designed to help pizza companies of all types upgrade their pizza flour and cheese choices and control commodities costs. Join us as we get a jump-start on Pizza Expo week with this focused education programming.

Monday afternoon sessions are FREE FOR ALL REGISTERED ATTENDEES.




Special Seminar
12:30 – 1:30 pm
Innovation Keeps Me Growing
Doug Ferriman

What’s the best way to start and maintain a fresh pizza concept that attracts customers? Boston pizzeria owner Doug Ferriman says the key is constant innovation. With eye-popping specialty pizzas and a focus on the slice business, he and his wife Melissa built Crazy Dough’s into a five-unit “artisan slice bar.” Now he’s at work building a new brand — Oath Craft Pizza — which currently has four locations and touts fresh-ingredient pies baked in just 90 seconds. Doug will explain how the innovative spirit helps business, and how it keeps you, the driving force, on an upward arc that brings others along with you.



Panel Discussion
1:30 – 2:30 pm
Is 24 Hours Enough? — Understanding Fermentation and Dough Enhancement

Tom Lehmann, the Dough Doctor

Tom Lehmann

There are many conflicting opinions about aging or enhancing pizza dough. While some prefer same-day fermentation, others retard their dough for at least 24 hours — and some for as long as three or four days. And what about

Peter Reinhart

additives and dough conditioners? How can we better understand the pros and cons of this process, as well as the best choices for each particular situation, flour or pizza style? Discussing the topic will be moderator Peter Reinhart, an author, consultant and baking instructor; Tom Lehmann, the ever-popular Dough Doctor for Pizza Today and Pizza Expo; and Bill Weekley, corporate baker with General Mills.

Bill Weekley, General Mills corporate baker

Bill Weekley









Restaurant service and operations consultant T.J. Shier

1:45 – 3 pm
7 Essential Systems for Your First Pizzeria — and All That Follow
T.J. Schier

A successful launch of your first independent pizzeria is critical. This session will cover the essential systems necessary for your first unit — and for each new store as you grow your pizza sales. A restaurant consultant and the owner of 15 Which Wich Superior Sandwich shops, T.J. Schier will pass along proven systems you MUST have in place to be profitable, including hiring, on-boarding, training, operations, manpower planning, local-store marketing and rewarding your staff. Learn the keys to ensure your first restaurant is a success — as well as all future ones.


2:45 – 3:45 pm
Specialty Cheeses: How To Apply Them and Make Authentic Pizzas
Tony Gemignani


World champion pizza maker Tony Gemignani will discuss authentic cheese applications used on Detroit, St. Louis, coal-fire, Neapolitan, New York and other popular styles. Learn how to use these specialty cheeses and sample selected regional and imported varieties at seminar’s end. A master of multiple pizza-making traditions, Tony also will introduce some new types of cheeses that can go on experimental pizzas. Add variety to your menu with newfound knowledge of this key ingredient from the man behind Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, named America’s best pizzeria by USA Today, the Travel Channel and Forbes.



3:30 – 4:45 pm

The Restaurant Formula: Keys to Winning in the Crowded Pizzeria Market
Gerry O’Brion



Great restaurant brands are not built by chance — it’s a formula. Gerry O’Brion spent years learning why some restaurants thrive while others fail. His Restaurant Formula reveals the secrets of the most successful restaurant brands. Learn the four pillars of a powerful concept, and the six “critical execution factors” that unlock revenue growth. Gerry also will show you how to create raving fans that become your best marketing — for free. The former executive for billion-dollar restaurant brands such as Quiznos and Red Robin packs his idea-filled seminar with information, strategies and case studies about restaurants that are doing it right.





4 – 5 pm
Commodity Buying Strategies for Pizza OperatorsRobert_Chesler
Robert Chesler

Your menu prices probably don’t change very often because your customers expect consistency in both price and quality. But your input costs fluctuate nearly every time you buy new ingredients — sometimes, it seems, with little rhyme or reason. Commodities expert Robert Chesler will show how these fluctuations create a big impact on your profit margins, and teach you how to take control of them so you stop being a price-taker and become a price- and margin-maker. Learn how to identify profit goals, set a desired profit margin and then keep the money flowing in the right direction.


Panel Discussion
5 – 6 pm
Common Pizzeria Startup Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

This session will offer can’t-miss comments of value to anyone who has recently opened a pizzeria or plans a new one in the near future. All of the panelists have experience launching multiple units and are willing to share. They are: Mike Bausch, owner of three-unit Andolini’s in Tulsa, Okla.; Doug Ferriman, with nine stores in two concepts in the Boston area; Jeff Smokevitch, who recently opened his third store in Colorado; and Pasquale Di Diana, who opened the 11th Bacci Pizza store in Chicago in 2016. Moderated by Pizza Today editor Jeremy White.

Jeremy White

Jeremy White

Mike Bausch

Pasquale Di Diana

Pasquale Di Diana

Jeff Smokevitch

Jeff Smokevitch







6 – 7 pm

New Operators and Early-Arriving Attendee Reception

Network with your fellow Pizza Expo early birds at this informal gathering. There will be food and drinks, and a chance to connect with colleagues and speakers before the Exhibit Hall and other events kick off on Tuesday.