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NRA Chicago 24 

International Participation


International participation reached new heights at this year's Show, with attendees representing 124 countries, marking a 22% increase in international attendance compared to last year. Countries with the highest number of attendees included Brazil, Canada, China, Mexico, Taiwan, Colombia, the United Kingdom, Italy, Turkey, Japan, and Spain. The increased representation from African countries and significant participation from China, the United Kingdom, Honduras, and Cameroon underscored the Show's global appeal and relevance.

The Show floor itself featured a significant presence of 621 international exhibitors, showcasing a diverse range of products and innovations from 44 countries around the world. This global representation provided attendees with unique insights into international trends and opportunities for cross-border collaborations. The inclusion of international pavilions, such as the Bellavita Italian Pavilion, Iberica Spanish Pavilion, and the Global Food Expo, highlighted the richness and variety of the global foodservice industry, making the 2024 Show a truly international event with more global representation than ever before.


“It’s a million little things running a restaurant,” Michael Sito, owner of the Globe Bookstore and Café located in Czech Republic, said. “And these little things are changing every day so coming [to the Show] and meeting other restauranters as well as distributors and wholesalers, you get a broad array of what's happening in the industry. In three or four days, you can get caught up on six months of trends.”


“We are very proud of the fact that we represent Australia beef and lamb,” Tim Harrison, Senior Sales Executive of Paradigm Foods, stated. “We're finding a lot of attendees are interested [in our product] whether they're a chef or a distributor, so to be able to connect to a global representation of potential customers is really important.”
















Expo + Education


A new addition to the Show this year was the Expo + Education program, which provided enhanced educational opportunities for the 2,700 Expo + Education badge holders. This program included over 40 sessions led by industry operators, focusing on critical business strategies, game-changing food and beverage innovations, and practical solutions for contemporary challenges. The sessions covered various topics, including sustainability, technology integration, and customer experience enhancement, offering attendees valuable insights and actionable takeaways.


“I attended the Expo + Education sessions and they were fantastic,” Simone Galante, CEO of Galunion, remarked. “I received deep dive information on specific areas like off-premise, marketing, as well as better knowledge about the consumer.”


The enhanced education program elevated the overall Show experience, affording participants the opportunity to connect directly with operators who shared successful business practices and missteps to avoid, all to help grow and evolve business. This initiative underscored the Show's commitment to fostering continuous professional development and addressing the most pressing topics facing the industry today and tomorrow.


Featured Speakers, Celebrated Chefs & Master Mixologists


Keynote ‘24 featured a captivating discussion with acclaimed chef, restaurateur, and humanitarian José Andrés. Andrés shared his profound insights on the transformative power of food and his journey in intertwining culinary excellence with humanitarian and food policy efforts. Additionally, the Technomic featured session, titled “Journey to 2030 – Forecasting the Future of Foodservice,” was a highlight, with food futurist Liz Moskow and Technomic’s Joe Pawlak guiding attendees through projected opportunities and challenges in the industry. Both Keynote ‘24 and the featured session were presented by Restaurant365.


"Chef José Andrés’ keynote was truly inspirational! As a restaurateur and someone with a love for the hospitality industry, it was wonderful to hear how he uses food to bring the world together," Lisa Gutierrez, CEO and co-founder of Doe Hermanos Taco Truck, stated.


The Show also showcased celebrated chefs and master mixologists demonstrating their culinary and beverage expertise. Attendees witnessed live cooking demonstrations and engaging sessions with renowned culinary figures. These demos and sessions covered the latest cooking techniques, plating innovations, and creative ingredient use. Top mixologists and beverage experts shared their secrets to unique cocktails and beverages, highlighting trends like low-alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks, global flavors, and sustainable practices. These demos provided attendees with practical insights and inspiration to elevate their own beverage programs, emphasizing creativity, quality, and customer engagement in the foodservice industry.



















Kitchen Innovations & FABI Awards


Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Kitchen Innovations (KI) Awards recognized 25 foodservice equipment innovations that are driving advancements in automation, efficiency, safety, and sustainability. These awards highlighted how the industry is evolving with new technologies that enhance both front-of-house and back-of-house operations.


“If you’re not innovating, you’re going backwards,” Richard Eisenbarth, President of Emeritus and 2024 KI judge, shared his insights on how the award program selects its awardees. “Some manufacturers are happy with the status quo. They’ve been making the same refrigerator for the last 20 years and they add a new handle—that’s an evolution, that’s not an innovation. The companies who are really getting ahead are the ones who are thinking outside the box.”


The FABI Awards honored 35 products that are shaping the future of food and beverage, with 10 receiving special recognition as FABI Favorites. Among the notable products were the AI-generated recipes for plant-based Kraft products and sustainable food production from Atarraya Inc—its awarded shrimp uses an indoor technology process offering fresh, never-frozen shrimp locally.


“We are truly honored to be part of the FABI Awards,” Daniel Russek, CEO of Atarraya Inc, said.

“We're always looking for external validation because our customers like us, but we need validation from somebody that is reputable and knows what they're talking about.”


As the Show concluded, Cindric expressed his gratitude: “We extend our heartfelt thanks to all participants, sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, and attendees for their contributions to this year's success. The energy on the Show floor was unmatched, and we are thrilled with the positive feedback received.”


Plans are already underway for the 2025 National Restaurant Association Show, which will take place from May 17-20 at McCormick Place in Chicago. For more information and to relive the highlights of the 2024 Show, visit

Amoretti is a qiality leader n fruit based beverage infusion syrups.

Produce Alliance is a part of the Buyers Edge, which is a  platform designed to meet the all the needs of restaurant owners from tech to fresh procurement. Here Tyler speaks about the produce division and how it works. 

A restaurant solutions company showcasing a santitary and count controlled cup dispensing system as well as a ease of use kiosk system.

PizzaMaster is a Swedish company offering beautifully engineered ovens. Bespoke solutions are available to match any operators needs. 

Chef Rick Bayless

Award-Winning Chef & Author is a regular at NRA. 

Photo: NRA

Photo: NRA

Photo: NRA

Photo: NRA

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