Interview With Gina Rackers of Menu Maker Foods

We have awesome clients at Data Connect. In our trade show division, we get to work with talented and savvy show hosts to implement ordering, registration, and other marketing services at their events. In order to take advantage of this vast pool of knowledge, we will be publishing a series of interviews with especially high-performing show hosts throughout the year. These individuals have agreed to share some of their tactical insights, tips, and tricks for running successful events. 

Our first interview is with Gina Rackers, Director of Marketing at Graves Menu Maker Foods, Inc. Headquartered in Missouri, Graves Menu Maker Foods has partnered with Data Connect for its events since 2007.


Hi Gina! Can you tell is a bit about your professional background?  

My bio is pretty brief! I came to Menu Maker right after finishing college. That was in December 2003, and I started as a marketing specialist. I worked with my mentor Ken Goodwin, who introduced Menu Maker to Data Connect. When Mr. Goodwin took a position closer to his hometown, after a few position transfers, I took on his role in the marketing department.

What are you doing to attract attendees and, even more importantly, buyers, to your events? 

First of all, we have a phenomenal sales force. They have relationships that you just can’t duplicate. Customers want to come to learn how to run their business better. We have deals on the show floor. And we have entertainment. So it’s not just a place where you come to buy food; you can learn and be entertained all in the same day.

What tactics have been successful in generating new business and greater revenue at your shows? 

We like to show new items through the suppliers, and place incentives on them. We partner with suppliers to dig down into what customers are currently buying to see if there might be something better or more versatile to fit their business.

Which event trends do you think will fall by the wayside in 2013? Which do you simply wish would go away? 

We try to stick with classic style in our events, which our customers appreciate. We theme our show differently every year, and our products are different, but we try to stick with what works. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. What works works.

However, the downward trend in the economy could go away in 2013!

Which trends do you think will play an important role in 2013?  

Utilizing our [data] and analyzing it in such a way that we are able to offer the customer better, more targeted opportunities at the event would be our biggest push in the new year.

Is there a saying or philosophy that you abide by in your professional life? 

Since I was born and raised in my professional life here, there is a saying that Mr. Graves [John L. Graves, founder of Menu Maker Foods] passed down to us: “If you are too big to do the small things, then you are too small to do the big things.” We are a family here so that kind of rocks us to our core.



Thanks for the great responses Gina! And thanks for being such a great customer!

As always, we are here to provide event organizers with the tools and information they need to run their best event ever. Please reach out if there is anything, big or small, that we can do for you.  

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