A large contingent of Tri-State restaurant and food service professionals will be among the 50K plus industry professionals that will descend on Chicago for the annual National Restaurant Association Show on May 18-21.
The 2019 NRA Show marks the 100th edition of the event. The landmark birthday will be celebrated with a number of can’t miss events. Highlighting the education sessions will be Signature ’19: The Future of Dining Discover the “Where, What, and How” of Consumer Changes that Your Business Needs to Know Now.
The session will feature Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association, and foodservice CEOs that are leading the pack in meeting shifting consumer demands. Signature will take place on “Show-Sunday”.
Signature ’19 is where attendees can get a rare glimpse into the future of dining across the entire foodservice landscape, and hear from the visionary leaders driving industry change about what will make the biggest impact on businesses. “With the rapid changes happening today in foodservice, everyone – no matter what business they run – has to know where the industry is headed and who is becoming their new competition,” said Mary Pat Heftman, President, Restaurant Show Group. “With the growth of third-party delivery, the rise of c-stores and grocery stores in prepared foods, and the incredible innovation taking place across all food outlets there will be a stark difference between what dining looks like today and tomorrow.”
“These leaders are creatively answering consumer demands and succeeding by doing business in bold new ways, and will give clear insights into where, what, and how people will dine in the coming years,” Sweeney explained. Panelists will include: John Cywinski, President of Applebee’s Bar & Grill; Randy Edeker, Chairman of the Board, CEO & President, Hy-Vee; Chris Gheysens, President & CEO, of Wawa; and Tim McEnery, CEO, Cooper’s Hawk.
“Show-Monday” will be highlighted by a featured session focused on “Winning at the Restaurant Business: Insights from the Top 500.” Show attendees will hear from Technomic’s Joe Pawlak and Pat Noone about where the restaurant industry is headed, which restaurant concepts are winning big (and why), and the latest in acquisitions and financial trends. Additionally, they will get a taste of how best-in-class operators are using the latest insight tools to anticipate industry, menu and pricing trends for their businesses.
For more than 50 years, Technomic has provided foodservice clients around the globe with the research, insights and strategic consulting support they need to enhance their business strategies, decisions and results. Their services include category and channel analyses, customer satisfaction studies, market opportunity assessments and strategic entry planning, benchmarking programs and brand equity enhancement. They excel at industry intelligence, forecasts, data, training support and consumer research.
The 100th edition of the show will also feature 100 education sessions. This year attendees can mix and match education specific to them with specialized programming like Menu Trends: 2020 and Beyond, Digital Media Slam, Women Leaders Panel, and KI Fireside Chats, as well as from various focused tracks including Hiring & Retention, Culinary Insights, Marketing Matters, Tech & Innovation, and Beverage/Alcohol.
“We develop programs focused on the pain points restaurateurs around the world face each day, and on opportunities that they can take advantage of to grow their businesses,” said Marc Lapides, Vice President, Marketing, Programming & Communications for the 2019 NRA Show. “Revenue growth, managing a workforce in a tight labor market, digital marketing, leveraging restaurant technology, and uncovering trends to shape menus are all part of the program. There are multiple sessions for every operator, regardless of size or segment.”
Once again the NRA show will bring much anticipated competition to the show floor. Six regional Star of the Bar Mixology Competition winners will participate in a bartending battle that provides a national platform for mixologists to highlight their skills and creativity.
Bartenders from across the country had the opportunity to submit their original cocktail recipe which were then reviewed and scored by a panel of judges made up of professional mixologists, and competition ambassadors. Mixologists who received the highest scores were invited to compete in the regional events throughout March and April in Washington D.C., Chicago, Tampa, Nashville, Las Vegas and San Diego, with the top two competitors facing-off in a live “shake-off” with a featured spirit and ingredients.
The winners of each regional event advance to compete in the Star of the Bar Finals, which will take place on Monday, May 20 at 7pm at the Show’s 100th Anniversary Celebration at Tao Chicago. The Finals will be scored and judged by cocktail industry veterans Jessica Lambert, Jarmel Doss, Tony Abou-Ganim with the winner receiving a cash prize and recognition as the “Star of the Bar National Mixology Champion.
The 2019 Kitchen Innovations (KI) Awards, will honor progressive equipment that increases efficiencies and productivity. Each recipient and each product honoree will be showcased in the interactive Kitchen Innovations Showroom. The KI Showroom allows attendees the opportunity see emerging back-of-house trends in one dedicated area. The KI Awards program has earned a reputation for defining the gold standard of foodservice equipment innovations.
“Forward-thinking and cutting-edge, this is the equipment that generates industry growth through a focus on factors such as automation, efficiency, safety improvements, sustainability, waste solutions, and more,” says Scott Redler, COO and co-founder of Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers and Co-Chair for the 2019 NRA Show.
The 2019 NRA Show will also present its’ annual Food and Beverage (FABI Awards), recognizing food and beverage products that are breaking new ground in taste, creativity, packaging and profit potential. These industry-altering products will shape the future of food and beverage with flavorful and marketable items designed to delight diners and drive sales for years to come. “The FABI Awards showcase the creative companies helping chefs and foodservice operators innovate in their businesses,” said Mike Hickey, executive vice president and president, Ecolab Inc. and 2019 Co-Chair of the National Restaurant Association Show. “The products showcased as 2019 recipients represent ‘what’s new and next’ in foodservice. Metro New York is well represented with New Jersey’s Atalanta Corporation DeMedici Imports set to receive top honors for its A L’Olivier Basque Pepper Fruit Vinegar. This multi-purpose flavored vinegar is made from bell peppers and the famous Piment d’Espelette pepper of the Basque region with 40% fruit pulp and white wine vinegar.
The National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show is owned and operated by Winsight LLC in equity partnership with the National Restaurant Association. About the National Restaurant Association. Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises more than one million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of more than 15.3 million
employees. Learn more at their website.