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Tracy Kosbau
Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations

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February 19, 2015

Midwest Foodservice Expo Spices Up
Marketing Efforts with Help of Tourism Grant
Department of Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett presents $39,550 grant

MADISON, Wis. (Feb. 18, 2015) – Midwest Foodservice Expo is spicing up their marketing efforts with the help of a $39,550 Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) grant, presented by Wisconsin Department of Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett. Hosted by the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, the Expo is the all-inclusive foodservice market that brings together buyers and sellers to network and do business. Held at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee, Mar. 9-11, the Wisconsin Restaurant Association estimates this project will generate an economic impact of $1 million from traveler spending at area hotels, restaurants, and stores.

“The foodservice and hospitality industry is vital to tourism and this is a phenomenal marketplace for these industries to network, learn, and train to continue to grow their businesses,” said Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett. “This event is over 80 years old and we’re excited to support the Wisconsin Restaurant Association as it grows the expo, ultimately creating a positive economic impact in the community.”

In fiscal 2014, the Department funded 60 Joint Effort Marketing projects, awarding a total of more than $1.1 million dollars. Visitor expenditures driven by the marketing from these projects will exceed $28 million dollars. In 2013, the tourism economy in Wisconsin totaled an estimated $17.5 billion, a four percent increase over 2012. Total business sales in Milwaukee County topped in $3 billion in total business sales in 2013, supporting over 30,000 jobs and over $200 million in state and local taxes.

The Midwest Foodservice Expo is a three day event that is designed to give food industry professionals the resources they need to be better operators, understand consumer trends and ultimately be more profitable in their businesses. The Expo includes hundreds of product exhibits, demonstrations, educational programming, and student competitions. The Wisconsin Restaurant Association seeks to strengthen the Expo’s presence with businesses in Wisconsin, as well as build event awareness in new markets to increase out-of-state attendance. Grant funds will go towards print and online media to promote the Expo.

"We are thrilled with being awarded this grant!" said Dawn Faris, VP of Exposition for the Wisconsin Restaurant Association. "It's an exciting time for us as we work on bringing more small business people to the Expo from our neighboring states. These grant dollars are allowing us to reach so many more food, beverage and hospitality professionals than ever before. We look forward to our Expo growing and making a bigger economic impact on the state."

JEM grant funds are available to non-profit organizations for the promotion of Wisconsin tourism events and destinations. The state can fund up to 75 percent of a project's first-year advertising and marketing costs, and provide support for second- and third-year projects with decreasing amounts for funding until projects become self-sustaining. For information on the JEM Program and application materials, visit http://industry.travelwisconsin.com.

The mission of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism is to market the state as the Midwest’s premier travel destination for fun. By executing industry-leading marketing programs, providing reliable travel information and establishing strategic partnerships, we will play a significant role in delivering exceptional customer service and generating greater economic impact and jobs for Wisconsin. The portal for traveler information can be found at: www.travelwisconsin.com.

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Since 1933, the Wisconsin Restaurant Association has been dedicated
to the promotion, protection and improvement of the foodservice industry.

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Wisconsin Restaurant Association • 2801 Fish Hatchery Rd. • Madison, WI 53713 • Tel: 608.270.9950 • Toll Free: 800.589.3211 • FAX: 608.270.9960