Later this month, tens of thousands of restaurant professionals will gather in Chicago for the National Restaurant Association‘s annual show. The foodservice industry’s largest trade show consists of four days filled with education sessions, demonstrations and an expansive show floor packed with exhibitors showing off the latest restaurant trends and technology.
This year’s show kicks off at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 16 with education sessions including “Recruiting, Hiring and Training in Non-Traditional Settings,” and “The Art and Science of Site Selection.” Over the course of the show, sessions will cover a range of topics, from nutrition and sustainability to franchising and workforce engagement.
The daylong Restaurant Finance Summit will return to the show this year, with a keynote address by Russ Bendel, chief executive of The Habit Burger Grill.
The popular beer, wine and spirits portion of the show will operate under a new name starting this year. Formerly known as the International Wine, Spirits and Beer event, attendees can visit the Beverage Alcohol for Restaurants (BAR) area of the show May 17 and 18. Buffalo Wild Wings President and CEO Sally Smith will deliver a keynote address Sunday morning, and the semi-finals for the Star of the Bar competition will take place right on the show floor.
Three finalists will move on to the final round at Restaurants Rock at Chicago’s House of Blues. Restaurants Rock will celebrate its fifth year as the NRA Show’s official after party, where attendees can mix and mingle after the show. Chef, restaurateur and host of Food Network’s The Kitchen Geoffrey Zakarian will host the party this year.
Show-goers can also catch Zakarian at the World Culinary Showcase, along with other top chefs such as Rick Bayless, Elizabeth Falkner, Jeff Mauro and Maneet Chauhan.
New to the show this year, Startup Alley will give restaurant technology startups a chance to display their innovative products and ideas. Attendees should look out for companies including in-store audio platform Storestreams and delivery service Doordash.
Some other don’t-miss attractions at the show: the Alternative BiteStyle pavilion focused on special diets, answers to your sustainability questions at the Conserve Solutions Center and the 3D Printing Zone, where attendees can see 3D printers in action and get a taste of geometric sweets.
Are you attending the show this year? What sessions, booths and bites are you most looking forward to? Tell us about it in the comments.
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