Meet the Newsmaker: Deirdre Flynn


Dierdre Flynn is the Executive Vice President of NAFEM.

How has the industry evolved since the last show in Orlando?

The 2015 show has a greater emphasis on new product development that leads to energy efficiency, labor savings, and greater efficiency – all good news for the industry.  

What are your goals as an organization for this year's show?

NAFEM’s goal is to make The NAFEM Show an experience for the attendee that they can’t get anywhere else.  The focus:

  • Talk first-hand with product developers and manufacturers to see what’s new in foodservice equipment and supplies.
  • Spend time learning about the products – how it can help the operator meet its overall goals for their operation
  • Learn and network – share experience with others in the foodservice industry
  • Learn about the top trends in food-away-from-home, and see first-hand the solutions equipment and supplies manufacturers are developing to address menu, concept and away-from-home dining opportunities.

What's new for this year's show? 

There is a new twist on the WHAT’S HOT! WHAT’S COOL! trend galleries… to showcase all that’s new in four, state-of-the art trend galleries, so the attendee can see first-hand how the equipment and supplies meet that trend and what it offers the operator.   The four trend galleries are Community Responsibility; Health & Wellness; Productivity & Efficiency and Craft. Learn more at:

Does NAFEM care about how product gets to the end-user operator? Does free-enterprise dictate how a market and its channels evolve?

Each NAFEM member, like all businesses across all industries, make their own decisions on how they go to market.  We focus on making The NAFEM Show a great experience for our members, the exhibitors, and all attendees (foodservice professionals)! We also have major food brokers now buying into channels through the acquisition of Rep firms. 

How has technology impacted the type of product that we will see on the show floor?

Sirha October 2016 728×90

More automation, sophisticated controls, ease in programming, multi-cooking/cooking temperatures, and more.

As you look at the  industry, the show always kept international manufactures out of the Show. Is that possible today? If part are made in the Far East and then assembled in the US….do they qualify?

Non-North American manufacturers have been eligible to participate in the show since 2003.  Typically, The NAFEM Show includes between 20-30 non-North American manufacturers as exhibitors. You qualify to exhibit in the show if you are recognized as a manufacturer of commercial restaurant equipment and supplies.

You've been doing this long enough to see folks retiring. Where are we as an industry in terms of attracting the next generation of equipment and supply Professionals?

NAFEM has a major initiative underway, working with our key channel partner organizations, to recruit, retain and grow the next generation of foodservice industry leaders. It’s a great opportunity for us to showcase all the hospitality industry offers as a career choice.  We’ve got some great testimonials from Young Executives Forum leaders on how they found the hospitality industry and what excites them most about their work everyday!