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April 2007
NRA 2007: Where It's At
By: Janice Cha

Bring your comfiest shoes: It could take you two walking days alone to see everything on the show floor when the 88th National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show convenes at Chicago’s McCormick Place May 19-22.

And that’s not taking into account all the stops for networking or checking out the many equipment demos, competitions and educational sessions. This year’s NRA Show will bring together more than 2,000 exhibiting companies, including leading companies highlighted in the Kitchen Innovations area. Show organizers expect to draw more than 73,000 visitors, including attendees and exhibitors.

New This Year…

You’ll find a few notable new attractions at the show this year. First up: the NRA’s bookstore and celebrity book-signing program—a “major new feature,” according to show planners. Some of the big-name authors brought in will also be making presentations as part of the educational sessions, keynote speaking slots or demos. Look for more details at the NRA Show Web site,

The keynote address format has also been tweaked. This year you’ll hear several speakers instead of a single presenter—details were being finalized at press time and should be available online soon.

On the show floor, you’ll see more booths featuring alcoholic beverages, and the organic pavilion will also be significantly larger than last year’s—a reflection of industry trends, planners say.

Associations Line Up Agendas

What would an NRA Show be without the pre-show meetings sponsored by the industry’s associations? Three key meetings will take place May 16-18, sponsored by CFESA, HSM and MAECO.

Members of the Commercial Foodservice Equipment Service Association lead the pack, alphabetically. Their Spring Conference will take place at the InterContinental Chicago. The agenda will include a NAFEM/Liaison meeting, committee meetings, a guest speaker, a longer session by NAFEM on the Size & Shape of the Industry, and a variety of workshops. CFESA members will also induct officers and directors for 2007-08 terms.

And later, while you’re trekking the show floor, be sure to make a stop at the lounge area hosted by CFESA and the Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry, at Booth 7633.

Next up: the Spring Conference sponsored by Hospitality Supply Management, an ISM forum. This meeting will take place 30 miles outside Chicago at the Lincolnshire Marriott Resort in Lincolnshire, Ill. Sessions will include “Trends to Watch,” presented by Warren Solochek, NPD Foodservice Group; “Using Social Responsibility as a Corporate Advantage,” featuring speakers from Chipotle Mexican Grill and Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium; “Improving Your ROI With Lifecycle Cost Analysis,” by David Zabrowski, Food Service Technology Center; and a discussion on “Energy and its Impact on Supply Chain Management.”

Meanwhile, back in the city, members of the Multi-Unit Architects, Engineers & Construction Officers, an NRA Study Group, will also be convening at the InterContinental Chicago. Can’t-miss topics will include an update on “Water Heater Technology and Research,” presented by Don Fisher, Food Service Technology Center; a look at how to successfully re-brand a multiunit concept, led by Fred Barden, Applebee’s Int’l.; the latest information on managing fats, oils and grease, by John Shaffer of Environmental Engineering & Contracting; and a report on what’s new at ASHRAE, presented by Tony Spata, Chipman Adams Architects.

Consultants To Dole Out Advice

Once the show launches on May 19, consider stopping by the “Ask the Design Experts” booth sponsored by the Foodservice Consultants Society Int’l. FCSI members will once again be offering 30-minute complimentary consultations addressing your back- and front-of-house design questions. E-mail now to schedule an appointment—spaces fill up quickly.

Finally, if you’re tracking developments in food safety, note that NSF Int’l. will honor recipients of its 2007 Food Safety Leadership Awards on May 19. The annual program recognizes individuals and organizations that have demonstrated leadership in this area. Check with folks at the NSF booth, 3438, for more details.

NRA Stats

Dates: Sat., May 19 through Tues., May 22
Show Floor: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. 
Meeting Floor: 9:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Online Registration:  

Pre-Show Association Meetings

CFESA Spring Conference
May 16-18
InterContinental Chicago  

HSM Spring Conference
May 16-18
Lincolnshire Marriott Resort
Lincolnshire, Ill

MAECO Spring Conference
May 16-18
InterContinental Chicago

KI Pavilion To Welcome 2007 Honorees

Now in its third year, the National Restaurant Association’s Kitchen Innovations program will once again set aside a corner of the show floor to highlight advances in foodservice equipment. 

This year 19 products were identified by an independent panel of operators and consultants to be among the most innovative on the market today. These products will be available for interactive demonstrations and showings in the dedicated KI area throughout the four days of the NRA Show at McCormick Place.

·          Action Comax Environmental, BioX food waste decomposition unit

·          Alto-Shaam, Combitherm Smoker

·          Alto-Shaam, ASF-75G high-efficiency Gas Fryer

·          Beverage-Air/Carrier, ChillStar blast chiller with Intelligent Food Recognition

·          Blodgett Corp./Middleby, XCEL.5E Hydrovection convection oven

·          Campus Products, Silvershine Cutlery Drying Machine

·          Cleveland Range/Enodis, Convotherm 606 Mini-Combi Oven Steamer

·          Delfield Co./Enodis, Versa Drawer for refrigerating, freezing, chilling and thawing

·          Electrolux Professional, Tilting Pressure Braising Pan

·          Hobart Corp., 3000 Series Slicer with “select-a-stroke”

·          Lincoln Foodservice Products/Enodis, FastBake impingement conveyor oven

·          Master-Bilt Products/Standex, Master Controller with Reverse Cycle Defrost

·          Meiko, Waste Air Heat Recovery System for warewashers

·          Pitco Frialator/Middleby, Solstice Rethermalizer

·          Pitco Frialator/Middleby, Solstice Supreme Gas Fryer

·          San Jamar, Kleen-Brush hand-cleaning system

·          Scotsman Ice Systems/Enodis, Prodigy Cube Ice Machine

·          Randell/Unified Brands, FX Series refrigeration/freezer drawer system

·          Vulcan-Hart Co., Floor Gas Steamer

Fast-Growing Chains Get Their Own Meeting

A new entrant in the pre-show meeting field is the MUFES for Fast-Growing Chains event, sponsored by Foodservice Equipment Reports. Building on the successful Multiunit Foodservice Equipment Symposium meeting platform, FER has designed this MUFES event to help the managers and equipment/spec buyers at fast-growing multiunit companies wade through the complexities of rapid development.

When MUFES-FGC attendees gather at The Palmer House Hilton May 16-18, the agenda will include sessions on:

·          The Well-Equipped E&S Staff for The Fast-Growing Chain;

·          How To Get The Most Production & Value From Your E&S Package;

·          How The E&S Channel Really Works;

·          How To Get E&S Functions To Work With Ops and Menu Development; and

·          Prototyping: How To Work With Architects & Consultants.

In addition, the evening of May 18 the <BI>FER<BI> staff will present its 2007 Customer Choice Dealer Awards and Industry Service Awards.

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