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NRA Chicago 2024 

National Restaurant Show Recap

NRA was especially busy this year! I have attended the show for a couple of decades now and and I feel like we have in many ways entered new territory with several significant trends emerging.  

One is technology, with a focus on integrating AI and data analytics into foodservice management such as AI-driven menu recommendation to automated bartenders, robotic chefs and robotic servers. These technologies are designed to optimize operations, elevate diner experiences, and mitigate labor shortages through efficient solutions like automated food preparation and data-driven customer insights.

Non-alcoholic beverages, especially boba tea and other specialty drinks were ubiquitous, reflecting the strong growth in the category particularly with Gen Z.

Sustainability remains a paramount focus, with exhibitors showcasing plant-based and more pragmatic sustenance, as well as green technology innovations aimed at mitigating the environmental impact of restaurant operations

The trends are clear and demonstrate the drive to innovation and sustainability, all aligning with diner's changing tastes.

-Chris Gudenzi

2024 National Restaurant Association Show® Draws
58,000 Foodservice Professionals with 6% Growth
Global Participation from 124 Countries and 9% Increase in Exhibit Space Highlight the Event’s Remarkable Success
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 (PR) National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show® 

wrapped up Tuesday at Chicago's McCormick Place, reaffirming its status as the premier event for the foodservice industry. The Show attracted more than 58,000 foodservice professionals from across the United States and around the globe, representing 124 countries. The Show saw a 6% increase in total attendance—with 22% international growth—compared to last year, highlighting its growing influence and importance within the industry. With a 9% increase in exhibit space compared to 2023, the Show floor provided a comprehensive platform for industry professionals to connect and collaborate.

 

“The 2024 National Restaurant Association Show has once again proven to be the cornerstone event for foodservice professionals worldwide,” said Tom Cindric, President of Exhibitions for Informa Connect Foodservice. “This year’s Show not only showcased the latest innovations and trends but also provided an unmatched platform for networking, education, and inspiration. We are proud to lead the industry in bringing together such a diverse and dynamic group of professionals who are driving the future of foodservice.”

Photo: NRA

Better Earth states that 90% of their front of house

products, once disposed, turns to compost in 90 days. 

Juan, CEO of Bear Robotics, provides a cost benefit

analysis for restaurant robotics. 

Why does drinking out of a cup or glass taste better than drinking out of a can? This is answered as well as other benefirs if this clever low profile bar device useed by Heineken among others. 

Calcana makes state of the art Infrared Patio Heaters.. 

A fast growing baked goods business that is entirely free of refined sugar. The product line includes a signature cinnamon bun, . 

MIWE is a 100 year old Pizza Oven manufacturer

offering a large line of traditional and next gen

combi-ovens.

A very well established  business since 1953

and ressponsible for creating the first gas char-broiler. 

Renson is from Belgium, specializing in unique spaces such as pergolas, and lounges as well as ventilation systems. 

Capt. Ken's for well established ready serve. 

Diversified Foods delivers next gen shelf stable dairy.

NSF and why their safety certification makes a 

difference to your bottom line. 

Multi-award winning oil treatment which will save 

30 to 50% on your oil expediture. 

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Photo: NRA

2024 NRA SHOW HIGHLIGHTS

 

Show Floor

The Show floor buzzed with energy and excitement. Decision-makers from leading restaurants and foodservice operations converged to discover the latest products, technologies, and solutions. The Show boasted over 2,240 exhibitors, with 34% being first-time participants, reflecting a 6% overall growth from the 2024 event. The Show floor spanned over 723,400 square feet—over 12 football fields—offering attendees the opportunity to explore products and services across more than 900 categories. 

“This Show has completely elevated our business for wholesale and direct to restaurants and bars,” Aimée Sedky, co-founder and owner of Mockly and first-time exhibitor, shared her experience. “I could not recommend it more. It's just so rare that you get to meet so many decision-makers in one place. I feel like we got right to the people that matter and that's been really huge.”

 

This year, several key trends stood out on the Show floor, reflecting the evolving consumer demands for seamless customer service, convenience, and memorable experiences. One major trend was the focus on flavor experiences, with restaurants embracing global flavors, playful plating, and health-conscious options to captivate consumers. Another prominent trend was the integration of technology to enhance convenience, including AI-driven solutions such as voice assistants that enhance customer service, kitchen equipment with built-in sensors that free up staff, as well as innovations in AI-generated plant-based food development. Sustainability continued to be a critical focus, with many exhibitors highlighting eco-friendly products and zero-waste initiatives that set new standards for food production. Additionally, the rise of snacking as a response to changing consumer lifestyles was evident, with a variety of convenient and indulgent snack options on display.

Click to read more NRA news... 

Chef José Andrés was the keynote speaker at NRA 24. 

His message?  Restaurants should find purpose!  "We are anchors of hope" he sytates and that it is not up to someone else to create change, it is you and I. 

He also touches on World Central Kitchen and the loss of life in Gaza by those working in his kitchen there. Also speaking on their purpose mission are

Chef Rochini Dey on empowering female restaurateurs to come together and Chef Tigit Reda on fund raising for people diplaced by war in Ethiopia. Food remains at the core of all the Chefs mission for a larger change.

Crop Field Aerial Shot

...from the archives
Spring 2016

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Issue #57    06 10 24  

Host Milano Expo 23:   Video Interviews & Product Demos / Coffee / Gelato

Chocolate Academy / Design / Smart Label Recipients / Pizza Demos & more! 

NRA Expo Chicago 24:  Tech / Plant / Software / Cool New Gadgets 
Full coverage of FABI & KIA Award Winners


AI: Don't just Analize Trends, Predict Them
AI: Know the New Marketing Methodologies


Business Focus: Costa X, a The UK Global Coffee House Giant,
now partnered with Coca Cola, enters the US Market
with a new B2B proposition.

Business Focus: From Italy, Torrecaffe roasts using an
locally sourced wood smoke providing an artesinal 
quality to a larger commercial enterprise. 


Video Content throughout including interviews with
Chef Andrew Zimmern 
Somengil Advaced Dishwashing Systems
Zumex Orange Juice Maker 
Costa Group and their beautiful interiors for restaurants & cafes..
Plus 20 other conversations with various HORECA businesses.
Next Host Milano is October 17 - 21, 2025

Natl. Restaurant Association Show
NRA Chicago 2023

Chicago NRA Show 23 Part 1

Chef and TV Personality Andrew Zimmern shares his views on plant based eating. Chicago NRA

Chicago NRA Show 23 Part 2

Chicago NRA Show Kitchen Innovation Award Recipients

Chicago NRA Show 23 Part 3

Food Fair Magazine
NRA  23 Buyer's Guide Issue

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NRA Show 23
Plant Based Focus 

 ISH Foods

  Motif Food Works

Natl. Restaurant Association Show
NRA Chicago 2022

Chicago NRA Show 2022 Full Video featuring 43 Exhibitors

Yosi is the CEO of RIpples and he discusses the benefits of beverage imprinting. 

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Pastry Fashion

Cécile

Farkas

Moritel

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Our interview with

     Cecil Farkas Moritel.

Food Fair: When did your passion for food begin? Any big influencers? What is your training? The street, the Institute or Mom or Dad!?

Cecil: It comes from a family tradition linked to gastronomy but my vocation came relatively late after 10 years working in fashion. But my perseverance and passion for pastry enabled me to acquire an excellent education in some of the best places like Pascal Caffet.

continue

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Gunter Wilhelm

Nonstick Tossing pan (Ø 24cm/9.45")

w/Ergonomic handle, Induction Ready

Special Sale

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Clicking on image leaves site

for more info.

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Improve oil life by 50% with MAGNESOL®, the global leader in frying oil filtration. Get a complete savings analysis for your operations today.

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About Us

For the love of the business of making good food.

The Food Show Channel

& Food Fair Magazine

For food pros and the home chef,
we deliver expos from around the world to your office or

home big screen.

 

Publishing in foodservice b2b

since 2005.

  

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