CHICAGO — The NRA Show had another successful year. This past weekend, almost 3,000 suppliers showcased more than 900 products, which filled three halls at Chicago’s McCormick Place with at least 77,000 people who were registered to attend the event, according to Stephen Howarth, regional VP, National Restaurant Association (NRA).
An international theme was present at the show, with food and exhibitors from China, Italy, The Middle East, Brazil and Canada — the second largest group at the show, representing 25 per cent of the brands.
Key issues and trends were discussed and previewed at the Alternative Bitestyle pavilion, which featured products dedicated to special dietary needs; the Conserve Solutions Center, which showcased sustainable products and services; and The Organic & Natural pavilion, which helped buyers find organic and natural products.
The winners of the Operator Innovation Awards we’re also announced later at a gala event. Selected by an independent panel of expert judges, the winners were recognized for their achievements in driving advancement in the foodservice industry.
“The winners of these initiatives are at the forefront of innovation and ingenuity in the foodservice industry. These programs succeed in pushing boundaries and exploring alternative ways of operating while creating a synergy between business and creativity,” said Sam Facchini, convention chair for NRA Show 2014 and co-founder and co-owner of Metro Pizza.
The 2014 Operator Innovations Awards winners are:
UCSF Medical Center, Smart Choice Smart U (Health and Nutrition and Innovator of the Year)
UNC Healthcare, Restaurant Delivery Program (Menu Development)
Orange County Public School’s Truck of the Month program (Marketing)
Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, GreenPath (Sustainability)
Dickie Brennan’s Restaurants, RAIL Payment Platform (Technology)
The annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show is the largest annual gathering of restaurant, foodservice, and lodging professionals in the world. Next year, the NRA Show will be held at Chicago’s McCormick Place from May 16 to 19.