Discover some of the new and cool innovations on display at the National Restaurant Association Show. Look for ideas to up your game with new products and services in nutrition, technology, sustainability and more.

Concentrated caffeine fix


What’s better than your morning cup of joe? A 2-ounce coffee shot that peps you up in far less time than it takes to brew a traditional pot of coffee. First-time exxhibtor Dyla Brands offers Forto, a grab-and-go coffee drink that's attracting the interest of college, university and military foodservice operations. Forto, with a 12-month shelf live, doesn't need refrigeration and can even fit in a TSA-approved carry-on toiletry case.

Antioxidant-packed garlic and ginger


Consider adding black garlic or ginger to your menu to boost your flavor profile. Momiki Inc., one of the exhibitors in the new Japan Pavilion, offers black garlic and black ginger, which have high antioxidant levels, thanks to their aging process. The company ages regular garlic bulbs and ginger root for about three weeks in a temperature- and humidity-controlled oven. “In Japan, it’s more like a health product, but it’s a new culinary passion in the United States and Europe,” says global sales rep Colin Wu. Potential uses include salad or steak topping and Bloody Mary garnish. Plus, “It’s really good with cream cheese,” Wu says.

Better bar tools



Over 18 years of bartending, Naoki Sonoda was constantly on the lookout for more convenient ways to properly and conveniently rinse his tools between making drinks. “There was nothing in the market that did what I wanted it to do,” Sonada says. So he invented Omni-Rinse, a three-in-one rinsing station that earned him a Kitchen Innovations Award. The system includes an ice dump, rinsing platform and drying/staging area.


Coke with a side of Bluetooth

Looking to the future, the Coca-Cola Co. debuted its new cloud-based Freestyle 9100 beverage dispenser. Outfitted with Bluetooth connectivity, customers who download the Freestyle app can create their own beverage mixes ahead of time, choosing from more than 200 available varieties. The Freestyle 9100 will roll out nationwide in 2019.

Cold Coffee

Whether it's iced, cold brew or frozen, the popularity of this caffeinated beverage is growing, especially among millennial and Gen-Z customers. According to research firm NPD Group, cold coffee sales have grown 47 percent in the past five years. Witness the caramel apple butter frappe, S&D Coffee's answer to the ever-popular frappucino.

Microgreen growing cabinets

Restaurateurs interested in hyperlocal sourcing can grow their own micro greens in this growing cabinet. Created by Carter Hoffman, it features automated light, watering and air circulation for optimal growth, allowing you to serve your organic greens 365 days a year.

Automated, measured pours

Lab 2 Fab's Skyflo offers customers the perfect, customized pour every time, while creating actionable data analytics for the restaurant to use during guests’ repeat visits. The technology, which uses AI and robotics to improve front- and back-of-the-house operations, allows the guest to customize drink orders and reduces the amount of time needed to train employees, is available for sale or as part of a subscription service.

Non-GMO sweet treats

As diners seek more transparency and menu items made with natural ingredients, restaurants are looking for more desserts that taste great and answer that call. In answer, Sweet Streets launched its line of Manifesto bars and cookies. The treats are freshly baked, using cage-free eggs, pure cane sugar and sustainable chocolate. They’re also GMO and additive free. There’s even a line of individually wrapped, certified gluten-free brownies and chewy marshmallow bars to satisfy celiac, gluten intolerant and gluten sensitive customers.