In the foodservice industry, the annual National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show in Chicago, IL signifies an invaluable opportunity for equipment manufacturers, culinary innovators, restaurant professionals, and food lovers to converge for 4 days of delicious food, trend spotting, and networking.
While the offering from booth-to-booth varied extensively, a few themes clearly emerged across this year’s show:
Grab-and-go: those familiar with trade shows know the importance of port
ability when it comes to food: an easily portable snack or beverage allows you to enjoy a quick bite to eat while exploring the show. Grab-and-go options also cater to a class of consumers who are increasingly concerned with foods that can be consumed in the car, on a walk, or at the desk. Products like Tomlinson’s 513FC Merchandiser keep grab-n-go options fresh, hot, and delicious to catch your customers’ attention as a point-of-purchase display that maintains your foods’ appeal.
Customization: customization, even on a small scale, can have a big result. A number of vendors at this year’s show started with the classics (pasta, hot dogs, donuts, etc.) and allowed attendees to customize their selections with unique toppings, sauces, and more. This scale of customization allows culinary innovators to greatly expand their offerings while satisfying their customer’s desire for a creative menu. While your ingredients may change, versatile equipment like cast iron and cast aluminum allows you to accommodate a variety of ingredients, trends, and serving styles. Cast iron can withstand temperatures up to 1700°F, making it perfect for cooking and serving, while cast aluminum is perfect for serving foods piping hot or crispy cold.
Coffee: coffee and other caffeinated drinks are arguably the lifeblood of any trade show, and the NRA show is no exception. Luckily, coffee brewers were there to save the day with free cups of coffee for exhibitors and attendees alike. While trends come and go, this industry staple has proven resilient, which is great news for brewers, coffee equipment manufacturers, and those craving that morning cup of joe. It’s always great to see our S Tomlinson and SPB faucets on array of hot coffee, iced coffee, hot water, hot tea, and iced tea dispensers across the show!