Dinner with Strangers is simply about getting people together to network in a friendly atmosphere. This year at EXHIBITOR2012, there were more than six restaurants attendees could choose from on each night of the show.
Each restaurant was located at the Mandalay Bay and included, Border Grill, Hussong’s Cantina, RM, Verandah, China Grill, Red Square, Lupo and Fleur. With that much variety, there was something for everyone. The average ticket for these restaurants was $45 which is very reasonable. On each sign-up sheet, under the restaurant listed was style, average check, meeting time and reservation name.
I went on Wednesday night not knowing what to expect. I arrived to Border Grill at 6:45 p.m., 15 minutes prior to our reservation time, to meet my group. There were nine of us. Everyone was very friendly and eager to meet and enjoy a lovely, relaxing evening. Since it was the last day of the show and everyone was exhausted, we were all looking forward to a casual night out. All of us had the same reasoning for signing up for Dinner with Strangers. We thought that it would be a great networking opportunity to meet new people and simply not have to eat alone. We exchanged cards as we sat down. The conversation varied from business to our families and personal lives. The group was diverse, ranging from apparel sales executive to marketing manager to an ad manager and yours truly, an event planner.
At the end, the restaurant was very good about separating our checks which made life easier. Overall it was a great night and I would definitely sign up again.
On the other end, one of the attendees at our table, Keith, had mentioned that his boss had only three people show up at his dinner although on the board 10 people registered.
That was a bit disappointing for me to hear especially since I came to register Monday and everything was already taken except Border Grill on Wednesday, the last day of the show.
I truly believe that the exhibit industry is one of the greatest industries. The people are wonderful and I am very fortunate to be a part of it. I just wished that people would have been responsible erasing their name off the board to give other people the opportunity to experience the program.
Overall, I must say that it was an absolutely lovely experience. I commend the EXHIBITOR show for putting this program together. I salute them for the innovation and creativity and wish more shows would implement this program.