The NRA Show is always on the forefront of trends – from ingredients to technology to profitability. Here’s a look at 10 of the freshest topics on the menu at this year’s event.
New technology: Restaurants are increasingly investing in technology to satisfy guests and drive sales. Led by Red Robin’s Chris Laping, White Castle’s Don Long, and payments expert Richard Crone, an education session on “The In-Store Experience,” will explore touch screens, reservation and waiting systems, tableside ordering and payment systems, table menus and digital signage, augmented reality apps and more.
When and where: 2 p.m. CT, Sunday, May 18, Technology Stage, Booth 5575.
Food trucks: From big cities to small towns, and burgers to bánh mì, food trucks are transforming from a fad to a foodservice staple. Food Trucks: What Restaurateurs Need To Know; features the latest research, an overview of how food trucks operate and tips to go mobile, along with ways to work with local governments to create a fair playing field.
When and where: 11:30 a.m. CT, Tuesday, May 20, Room S402b.
Farm to table: Chefs are working more closely than ever with local farms, and many are growing food in rooftop and restaurant gardens. Get in on the trend at “From Farm to Fork and Soil to Service: How to Integrate Local Farming Strategies.”
When and where: 10 a.m. CT, Saturday, May 17, Room S402b.
Sustainable food: Americans are interested in sustainable food, but what exactly does that mean? In “Menu Development: Sustainable Food Sourcing Beyond Quinoa and Kale”, a panel of operators will discuss hurdles in sourcing sustainable menu options, from barbecue to seafood to everything in between. Jeff Clark, who runs NRA’s Conserve program, will lead the panel.
When and where: 1:30 p.m. CT, Monday, May 19, Room S402a.
Nutrition: Healthful options can benefit your guests and your bottom line. “Healthy Profits, Healthy Guests, Healthy Employees: How to Transition And Prosper in Today’s Nutrition-Focused Era” will offer practical strategies to meet the needs of the growing health-conscious population. In “Create a Healthier Plate for Your Menu,” learn how to create a healthy menu with whole grains, fruit and vegetables, while keeping your costs down.
When and where: Healthy Profits, Healthy Guests, Healthy Employees: 11:30 a.m. CT, Tuesday, May 20, Room S403.
Create a Healthier Plate for Your Menu: 10:00 a.m. CT, Sunday, May 18, Room: S402a.
Fast casual: The fast casual segment has exploded as customers demand quality foods at cheaper price points. “From Fine To Fast: High-Profile Chefs Make Their Mark On Fast Casual” features high-profile chefs, including Rick Bayless, who are redefining what’s possible in a limited-service setting.
When and where: 11:30 a.m. CT, Sunday, May 18, Room S404abc.
On the menu: For an overview of this year’s menu trends, swing by “Food Trends Debate With Bret Thorn And Nancy Kruse.” They’ll weigh in on hot-button issues, such as locally grown food, animal rights, GMOs, online restaurant reviews, and more.
When and where: 11:30 a.m. CT, Monday, May 19, Room: S403.
Don’t miss sessions on pickling, oil, sour flavors, seaweed, ancient grains, and Filipino and Malaysian flavors.
Allergens: Diners with food allergies increasingly rely on restaurants to come up with creative ways to serve them. Start at “What’s the 411 on Allergies?” to learn how to become an allergy-friendly establishment. “The Gluten-Free IQ Quiz” will test attendees’ expertise on gluten-free ingredients, preparation and law.
When and where: What’s the 411 on Allergies? 10 a.m. CT, Monday, May 19, Room S404abc.
Gluten-Free IQ Quiz: the Game Show: 10:00 a.m. CT, Tuesday, May 20, Room S402a.
Hispanic guests: The Hispanic market accounts for more than half of the nation's growth between 2000 and 2010 and is driving growth in the restaurant industry. “How to Win The Hispanic Consumer” will explore behaviors, needs and attitudes, along with a step-by-step guide to reach these valuable consumers and drive business.
When and where: 3:30 p.m. CT, Sunday, May 18, Room S402b.
Food selfie: Sharing photos of food is all the rage on social media. Food photographer Jeff Kauck will help restaurateurs get in on the trend by demonstrating how to take beautiful shots of meals to share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media.
When and where: 9:30 a.m. CT, Saturday, May 17, Foodamental Studio, Booth 9582.
Learn more about the NRA Show’s education sessions.