SAN DIEGO Both the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo and the Expo Comida Latina wrapped up their co-joined three-day events at the San Diego Convention Center on Tuesday.
Officials said they expected attendance for the two trade shows held Aug. 30-Sept. 1 to exceed 10,000. The shows, which were co-located for the first time, are typically held in Los Angeles. This year they were moved to San Diego to allow easier access for operators in Arizona and Mexico.
The Western Foodservice show, sponsored by the California Restaurant Association, featured more than 650 exhibitors — from frozen yogurt to environmentally friendly takeout containers — displaying their wares, amid chef demonstrations, educational seminars and barista competitions.
The Expo Comida Latina targets buyers interested in Hispanic foods, flavors and products, from tequilas to Mexican honey.
Aportion of the Expo Comida floor was also dedicated to Asian food and flavors. U.S. Census Bureau data indicates that the Hispanic and Asian populations together will reach 48 million by 2010.
Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, former eBay chief executive, visited the floor of the combined trade shows on Sunday, chatting with operators in what her handlers described as a learning opportunity.
Several restaurant operators expressed hope that, if elected, Whitman could establish a more business-friendly economic climate in California, where an estimated 61,000 eating-and-drinking establishments operate, generating an estimated $56.2 billion in sales this year.
Next year's Western Foodservice show is scheduled to return to Los Angeles, where it is traditionally held, officials said.