Tom Lehman was a lifelong Vegan. His journey to Veganism began in the 60s, when he was a self-described Hippie. He went to college and then medical school, and was involved in student protest of the Vietnam War. When his number came up for the draft, he surprised his friends and family by refusing a college determent and reporting for duty as an Army medic.
His year in Vietnam changed his life tremendously, but not in the way that he had thought it would. What touched and fascinated him most was the life and culture of the Vietnamese in the countryside. He was especially taken with their diet and cuisine. It contained no meat and very few animal-derived dishes. They included nearly every natural growing thing around them, and still made hearty, tasty, and highly nutritious meals.
When Tom returned to the states, he switched from medicine to the pursuit of a PhD in nutrition science. Tom spent the next 30 years in academia and another 20 years as an advisor to the restaurant and food industry. All the while, he remained a leader in the Vegan movement and an amateur Vegan chef. At one point, he decided to put all of his expertise, experience, and passion into the establishment of a Vegan restaurant—with the hope of making it a restaurant chain.
He was able to quickly put together the staff and the financing to open the restaurant. He set the original menu himself. And he had more than enough money to market on television, radio, and the Internet.
But Tom also wanted to go directly to the people. He wanted the feel of selling his restaurant in the marketplace. That is why he chose to participate in a trade show .
Increase Your Marketing Effectiveness By Participating In A Trade Show
Tom rented a booth in a trade show that was in the city in which he opened his first restaurant. His two decades of work with corporations gave him some insight in how to market a brand. He brought his top chefs to the trade show, and had them prepare samples that people could try.
In the weeks following the trade show the foot traffic to his restaurant increased significantly. The weekend after the trade show saw huge crowds—to the point that for the first time he was forced to create a waiting list. Tom also became a sensation on social media. His restaurant received glowing reviews on Trip Advisor and other such rating sites. This led to an even larger increase in business.
Making A Personal Connection Is Key To Success In A Trade Show
The experience of that first trade show demonstrated the power of such an event. Tom continued his participation in trade shows. In addition to the chefs who would prepare the samples, he brought along hosts and hostesses to engage more thoroughly with the people who visited. The idea was to make a personal connection with each person who took interest in Veganism and his restaurant.
The hard work paid off. Tom now has three restaurants at various locations in the city.