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Delaware North’s Annual Food & Beverage Summit Set to Converge on Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (­Nov. 10, 2014) – Delaware North, a global leader in hospitality and food service, this week will welcome to Buffalo, N.Y., hundreds of its food and beverage professionals from across the United States and from locations as far away as the United Kingdom, along with vendor representatives and keynote speakers for the company’s annual food and beverage summit.
More than 700 people – nearly 600 traveling from outside of the region – are scheduled to attend the Delaware North Food & Beverage Summit (Nov. 11-13), which is being held in Buffalo for the sixth consecutive year. Delaware North, of course, was founded in Buffalo nearly 100 years ago – its 100th anniversary approaching in 2015 – and remains headquartered in the city.
About 330 food and beverage industry representatives will be promoting 150 companies and their latest products at a trade show for Delaware North chefs, managers and corporate professionals from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Among the food and beverage companies that will have booths at the trade show are Rich Products, General Mills, Tyson Foods, Cargill, Heinz, Pro-Act and PepsiCo.
Delaware North’s culinary and hospitality teams will work in breakout sessions with some of the industry’s most innovative thinkers. Keynote speakers include (but are not limited to) the following: 

  • Nick Valenti, CEO of Patina Restaurant Group, a leader in the premium restaurant and catering sector. Delaware North acquired a majority interest in Patina earlier this year;
  • T. Scott Gross, author of “Positively Outrageous Service;”
  • Tito Beveridge, founder of Tito’s Homemade Vodka;
  • Jeff Sinelli, founder of Which Wich, a leading brand operated by Delaware North at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport;
  • Jose Hevia, CEO/founder of DraftServ Technologies, which Delaware North debuted at Target Field for the 2014 MLB All-Star Game – the first of its kind in professional sports;
  • Bret Thorn, senior food editor at Nation’s Restaurant News magazine and;
  • Christopher Koetke, vice president at Kendall College School of Culinary Arts in Chicago.

The summit will also include the Delaware North Culinary Challenge (Tuesday), a competition among chefs and front-of-the-house management staff in teams representing Delaware North’s sports hospitality, travel hospitality, parks and resorts, and gaming divisions, as well as its hospitality operations in the United Kingdom. The competition, at the summit’s opening reception at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the convention center, will feature each team preparing three dishes and a beverage pairing. Each team was tasked with creating its menu based on a historic World’s Fair and its host city. The UK team, for example, created its menu based on London’s World’s Fair of 1851.
Other highlights include the summit dinner event Wednesday evening at the Buffalo Museum of Science and a casual dinner Thursday at Century Grill on Franklin Street.
Including the annual summit, Delaware North generates about 6,000 room nights in Buffalo hotels each year thanks to regular visits by its employees from other locations for meetings and training sessions, as well as by business representatives.
Jeremy Jacobs Jr., principal of Delaware North, initiated the first annual companywide culinary gathering in 2002 and drove its expansion into a full-fledged trade show and conference. In 2003 Jacobs also created the Delaware North Culinary & Hospitality Council, which organizes the summit and whose mission is to consolidate and advance the company’s culinary and hospitality objectives across all of its divisions.
The first several Delaware North food and beverage summits were focused on chef development and were held at culinary schools such as the Culinary Institute of America-Greystone in St. Helena, Calif. Since then the company has held separate chef development meetings and instituted other culinary training opportunities while requiring all chefs to obtain certification from the American Culinary Federation.
Delaware North manages food service – including the operation of restaurants, concessions and premium dining – in sports stadiums, entertainment venues, national and state parks, resort hotels, regional casinos and airports in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.
About Delaware North
Delaware North is one of the largest and most admired, privately-held hospitality companies in the world. Founded and owned by the Jacobs family for nearly 100 years, it is a global leader in hospitality and food service with operations in the sports, travel hospitality, restaurants and catering, parks, resorts, gaming and specialty retail industries. Its portfolio includes high-profile venues ranging from sports stadiums, entertainment complexes, national parks, restaurants, airports, and some of the top regional casinos in the country. The company also owns a selection of award-winning destination resorts, as well as a series of premium restaurants and catering services that are leaders in the industry. Delaware North has annual revenue exceeding $3 billion with 60,000 employee associates serving half a billion guests in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia.

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