Exhibitor Services


Official Show Vendors

The Mid-America Restaurant Expo is partnering the following vendors for the 2019 Mid-America Restaurant Expo.

Official Service Contractor: Fern Expo

As the official service contractor, Fern Expo manages the Exhibitor Services Manual, on-site logistics, including furniture, ordering booth materials and shipping/material handling. Paula Tokar, Exhibitor Services, 614.253.1500, ptokar@fernexpo.com  

Lead Retrieval and Booth Personnel Registration: WalCom Registration Services

Register your booth personnel to work at the show or discover the best form of lead tracking to maximize your time at the Expo. Mike and Teri Walton, 740.524.4123, mwalton@walcom.com 

Host Facility, Electricity, Plumbing, Internet, Booth Cleaning & Sign Hanging: Greater Columbus Convention Center

Forms for the various services can be found inside the Exhibitor Services Manual under “additional show services.” Greater Columbus Convention Center Client Utilities, 614.827.2548, cutilities@columbusconventions.com 

Audio Visual Services: Hughies

614.436.5273, cbsales@hughies.com

Advertising inside the Official Show Guide: BrandRenew

Cris Dorman, 317.440.1898, cris@brandrenewpr.com

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List Scams

Exhibitors should be wary of any companies selling attendee lists for the Mid-America Restaurant Expo. These companies are not affiliated with the Expo nor do they possess our attendee or exhibitor lists.  

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Exhibitor Move In and Move Out Schedule

Move-in of Freight and Set-up of Exhibits:

  • Exhibitors occupying 3 booths or more:
    Friday, Jan. 11 from 8:00am - 6:00pm
  • Exhibitors occupying 2 booths or less
    Friday, Jan. 11 from 12:00 Noon - 6:00pm or Saturday, Jan. 12 from 8:00am - 6:00pm
  • Aisle carpet installation:
    Saturday, Jan. 12 from 6:00pm - 8:00pm
  • Exhibits open to attendees:
    Sunday, Jan. 13 from 10:00am - 5:00pm and Monday, Jan. 14 from 10:00am - 4:00pm


  • Aisle carpet removal and crate return: 
    Monday, Jan. 14 from 4:00pm - 6:00pm
  • Move out: 
    Monday, Jan. 14 from 4:00pm - 9:00pm or Tuesday, Jan. 15 from 8:00am - 12:00 Noon

PLEASE DO NOT PLAN TO MOVE IN ON SUNDAY, JAN. 13. If you cannot move in during the designated times, please contact Debra Seiple at dseiple@ohiorestaurant.org.

ALL exhibits must be ready by 6:00pm Saturday, Jan. 12, for show inspection.


  1. We will be unloading cars, vans and trucks into the loading dock area during the scheduled move-in times.  
  2. There is extra dock space this year and as you line up to enter the convention center’s dock area – there will be a gate guard, convention staff member, and Fern staff directing you to the open docks available for you to unload. 
  3. Cars and vans will have 20-25 minutes to unload your vehicle – and will need to then move out of the dock area immediately.  You will not be able to leave your car in the dock area while you set up your booth. You can either go to a nearby parking garage or to the East Lot/Marshall Yard. It is a paying lot and is a good choice if the same vehicle will be used for load out.  If it will not stay in the East Lot/Marshall Yard, but will be used during move-out, please read the move-out instructions.
  4. Trucks and semis will have 40-60 minutes to unload.  Once you have unloaded, you will be asked to move your truck or semi to the East Lot/Marshall Yard.  If it is not being parked overnight, but will be used during move-out, please read and follow move-out instructions.
  5. Please be advised that there are (2) docks with 10 ft. roll-up doors and Dock #19 has a ramp and a 20 ft. door.


  1. Everyone will start the move-out process at the Marshall Yard!  NO EXCEPTIONS.  By doing this at the start, it will save you and others time from sitting in the dock area to then be told you have to go to the Marshall Yard….causing more time delays, confusion and frustration.  Everyone will start from the same place.  With more dock availability, the wait time will be MINIMAL. 
  2. CLICK HERE for the location of the East Lot/Marshall Yard.
  4. All vehicles will get in line at the Marshall Yard to expedite the move-out process. 

These are the proposed unload/load time limits:  

Ground unloading/loading

Cars/Vans/Pick-ups – 20 minutes

Vehicles with Trailers – 40 minutes

Dock unloading/loading

Trucks up to 26’ long – 40 minutes

Trailers up to 53’ long – 60 minutes

NO MARSHALL YARD ON TUESDAY – 1/15 – MOVE-OUT IS AVAILABLE TO ANYONE WANTING TO AVOID THE AFTER-SHOW RUSH.  We will be in the hall from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon if you wish to move out on Tuesday morning.

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Show Hours

The Mid-America Restaurant Expo is open:

  • Sunday, Jan. 13 from 10:00am - 5:00pm
  • Monday, Jan. 14 from 10:00am - 4:00pm

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Show Colors

The Mid-America Restaurant Expo will feature the following show colors: black and white.

  • 8’ back wall with drape in the following pattern: white, black, white, black, white
  • 3’ side wall with white drape

Aisle and booth carpet will be evergreen.

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Exhibitor Kit

The online Exhibitor Services Kit that contains the forms you need to outfit your booth plus find order forms for all external vendors will be released in October, 2018. Please note that a unique Customer ID and password is required. Contact Paula Tokar, ptokar@fernexpo.com, 614-253-1500 to request the information. 

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Exhibitor Booth Personnel Registration

Each exhibitor is entitled to five (5) badges per 10 x 10 (100 sq. feet) of exhibit space, for working personnel. Additional badges for booth personnel only, may be ordered at a cost of $5.00 per booth worker. CLICK HERE to register your personnel for the show.

Exhibitor personnel badges give you unlimited access to the show floor (including non-show hours) and must be worn at all times. Please be aware that you must carry a photo id at the Expo. On-site personnel are subject to identify confirmation by security or Expo staff at any time. 

Children under the age of 16 (including infants and booth personnel family members) are NOT permitted on the Expo show floor at any time during set up, show hours and tear down.

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ORA Industry Awards Celebration

On Sunday, January 13, the Ohio Restaurant Association is hosting the Industry Awards Celebration from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. The event celebrates the Ohio Foodservice Industry and recognizes 2019 award winners in the following categories:

  • Lifetime Achievement 
  • Restaurant of the Year
  • Vendor of the Year
  • Industry Educator of the Year
  • Public Official of the Year
  • Industry Innovator 
  • Tech Titan 
  • Rising Star 
  • Nourishing the Community 
  • Front of House 
  • Back of House 

The event is $85 per person and includes open bar, dinner and awards ceremony. Pre-registration is required. CLICK HERE to register. 

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Exhibitor Show Guide and Company Profile Listing Form

Attendees come to trade shows to see what's new. CLICK HERE to submit your listing form to be included on the Expo website, event app and inside the printed Show Guide (please include information about your show specials and new products, too!). If you are interested in advertising in the printed Show Guide, please contact Cris Dorman at (317) 440-1898.

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Lead Retrieval Information

The Mid-America Restaurant Expo and WALCOM - Registration Services want to help you pursue business after the show by offering three means of Lead Tracking! CLICK HERE to learn more or contact leads@walcom.com.

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Free Admission VIP Tickets

VIP tickets allow your guests to attend the Expo courtesy of your company at no charge. Each exhibiting company receives ten tickets per 10x10 booth equivalent in the show. Additional VIP tickets are available. Please contact Deb Seiple at 877-265-7469 or dseiple@ohiorestaurant.org.

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Positive comments throughout the floor and great industry pride evident throughout the two days! 2019 here we come!!

Sam Lindsley, Michael Symon Restaurants

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