Plant-based foods. Simple ingredients. Decadent desserts. Data and technology. The 2019 NRA Show was an exciting showcase of where our industry is headed. Here are some of the “wows” of the 100-year anniversary show. What were your favorites?
What’s new in food?
What’s new in food? Welcome to the 100th anniversary of the National Restaurant Association show right here in Chicago. I’m going to show you all the sights, sounds, trends, cool new things, and really see what’s new in food right here at the NRA show.
Last year, plant-based was kind of a surprise to the show and people experiencing it for the first time. This year, without question, plant-based has been a central theme—not only from the players that really have come on the scene recently, but almost every food booth was making plant-forward claims to try to lure in new customers.
Simple foods are also really in right now. Everybody wants to simplify ingredients lists, simplify dishes, and kind of get back to experiencing what real food tastes like. So, one of my favorite absolute dishes here at the show has been the grilled cheese at Tillamook.
So, the industry’s always been about sharing ideas, sharing information, sharing training tips. One of the things that was really happening well was not only some of the conversations off the floor and in the training rooms; but companies like US Foods and their Talk Shop Live where they were able to bring in operators to talk about their problems, talk about opportunities, and see how they can improve things for everybody else. So, I love that we’re a community that loves to share, and I love that US Foods kind of brought that right into their booth.
So, while there’s so much about healthy and plant-based, I’m going to tell you: looking at the show and looking at traffic flow, desserts still rule the day. People want to indulge when they go out to eat. So, a lot of great things out there, including here at Dawn Foods.
So, one of the areas of the show that just continues to explode and, here on day four, is by far the most crowded section of the entire show floor, is data and technology. From social media to content to scheduling to how much should you pay and what should you charge on a total management system, restaurant tours across the country are trying to figure out a better way to bring in technology to help them run their operation. So, if you didn’t get a chance to check out technology, I highly encourage it because this is where the operators are spending a great deal of their time.
So, a hundred years of the National Restaurant Show is officially in the books. Fantastic event, fantastic industry. I love food. I love the food and beverage industry and what we do. Can’t wait to see what the next hundred years brings and can’t wait to enjoy every moment of it with the rest of you guys.