By Derrek J. Hull, Blogger-in-Chief
The 2012 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show has completely sold out its exhibit floor space. A newly redesigned exhibit floor will showcase more than 1,900 exhibitors that will offer thousands of products and services to restaurant and foodservice operators. NRA Show 2012 will be held at its new dates May 5-8 at Chicago's McCormick Place.
"This year’s addition of more than 500 new exhibitors speaks to the ongoing opportunity and optimism inherent in our industry," said Jack Crawford, Convention Chair and President and CEO of Ground Round Independent Owners Cooperative, LLC. "Coupled with our show-stopping lineup of celebrity chefs, plus more than 70 in-depth education sessions on key topics, a lively exhibit floor promises to energize our attendees and provide them with countless ways to improve their operations in the year ahead.”
Highlights from the NRA Show 2012 exhibit floor include:
- Operator Innovations Awards Gallery (Grand Concourse): The industry-first Operator Innovations Award recipients will highlight operator accomplishments in five distinct categories: Sustainability, Technology, Food Safety, Health & Nutrition and Menu Development. Winners in each category, as well as the Innovator of the Year will be announced at Destination: Celebration on May 5 at the Harris Theater Rooftop Terrace at Millennium Park.
- Food & Beverage Product Innovations Awards Gallery (North Hall, Booth 7200): The Food & Beverage Product Innovations Awards program acknowledges how food and beverage manufacturers are responding to the changing needs of operators and consumers by delivering creative and delicious offerings.
- Kitchen Innovations Pavilion (South Hall, Booth 2440): An expert panel of food facilities consultants and multi-unit executives selected innovative commercial kitchen equipment for the impact they can make on operations of all business types and sizes. Hands-on demonstrations of the Kitchen Innovations Award recipient products will take place in the KI Pavilion.
- World Culinary Showcase (South Hall, Booth 2988): Chefs from Food Network, PBS and Bravo's Top Chef will take center stage in the World Culinary Showcase theater all four days to demonstrate cutting-edge culinary ideas and techniques. It’s a unique opportunity to pick up their unique takes on trends, plating and sourcing - and even participate in some Q&A.
- Specialty pavilions: New Healthier Kids Fare (South Hall, Aisles 500-600) will make it easy for restaurant and foodservice operators to find a range of healthful food and beverage products to help develop delicious and nutritious children’s menus. American Food Fair (North Hall, Aisles 7500-8200), organized by the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, features U.S. food producers and processors interested in exporting their quality products. Conserve Solutions Center (South Hall, Aisles, 700-1200) highlights how “going green” isn’t just the right thing to do for the environment, it’s also a smart way to do business in today’s market. Franchise / NRA Show (South Hall, Aisles, 4800-5200) is produced by the National Restaurant Association and Franchise Times and brings together entrepreneurs and concepts to develop new business opportunities through franchising. International Cuisine Pavilion (North Hall, Aisles 6900-7000) showcases traditional foods and beverages from around the world. Organic & Natural Pavilion (South Hall, Aisles 3300-3600) will feature a wide array of products that help deliver on guest demands in this fast-growing market segment. Technology Pavilion (North Hall, Booth #5575) hosts demonstrations, education sessions and exhibits focused on increasing efficiency, guest satisfaction, transaction speed and lowering costs.
- Expert-led education sessions (4th floor, Technology Pavilion and IWSB): More than 70 free education sessions will provide real-world expertise on timely topics spanning multiple interest areas that can immediately make a real business difference to restaurant operators.
If you haven't already registered for the NRA Show, there's still time to do so. Go to www.restaurant.org/show. In addition to Twitter @NRAShow and Facebook, you can also join the NRA Show on Linkedin and YouTube.