Foodservice Equipment Reports

SHOW REPORT: Coming In May, It’s The NRA!

You will need at least two days to cover the extensive 2013 National Restaurant Association's Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show (NRA) because it’s expanding to three show floors to accommodate guests and the 1,900 expected exhibitors. Held again at Chicago’s McCormick Place, the show runs May 18-21.

Before heading to Chicago, make a “plan of attack” by checking out the show previews online at the NRA Show website, You might have some tough choices because there’s a great lineup of operators, manufacturers, distributors and chefs to see. Last year, 61,000 people attended the show, and this year promises the same numbers of decision-makers.

Admission includes access to more than 70 free education sessions, panel discussions and cooking demonstrations showcased by industry experts.

Brash, unrepentant culinary provocateur Anthony Bourdain will be the star attraction, hosting Restaurants Rock, the official party of the NRA Show and International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event. The party will be held May 19 from 9 p.m. until midnight at The Castle in downtown Chicago; a limited number of tickets are available for $50 through April 15, and $60 after. Bourdain also will host a talk and book signing at the show May 20.

Award-winning supplies, technology and equipment that enhance back-of-the-house performance will be showcased in the Kitchen Innovations Award Pavilion. An expert panel of judges chose the creative, problem-solving products. (See sidebar for a list of this year’s honorees.) 

Resourceful inventions by foodservice companies will be recognized at the Operator Innovations Awards event. Bragging rights are bestowed in five categories: food safety, technology, menu development, sustainability and health and nutrition.

Glean new ideas to improve products and increase sales at the following education sessions:

·      Designing the Kitchen of the Future: Tech-smart employees and consumers, and the need for efficient kitchens in small footprints, are key factors influencing back-of-the-house designs. Leaders in foodservice design will present how equipment selection is determined by these trends.

·      Convenience Store Competition—What You Can Learn from C-Store Retail Foodservice: Convenience stores are becoming serious players in the foodservice scene and perhaps your future business prospect. Understand the equipment, store brands and technologies C-stores are using to make foodservice fit in their retail spaces and attract customers.

·      Combing Through the Cloud: How to Get There and Is It the Right Move? Many operators are transferring inventory, ordering, management and front-of-the-house functions to the “cloud,” a web-based computing system that can run an entire restaurant. Suppliers will learn what operators want from a cloud-based system, and operators can determine if such systems are right for them. 

Specialty Pavilions offer buyers and sellers of specialty products the chance to connect. Among the six exhibit pavilions in this area is the Technology Pavilion, which includes a lounge with free Internet access, and the Franchise Pavilion showcasing the newest restaurant franchise concepts.

Ask the Design Experts offers operators a great freebie: a 30-minute consultation about solutions to help improve workflow and realign kitchen and storage areas in addition to management advice. Consultants and time slots will be announced soon on the NRA Show website. 

There’s just too much ground to cover, so be sure to plan ahead. Keep watching the NRA’s website, Facebook page and Twitter feed for new announcements. FER’s May issue will include all of the final details you need to know for a worthwhile visit. 


Let’s applaud the out-of-the-box thinkers who are the 2013 Kitchen Innovations (KI) Awards honorees. Judges selected 21 novel products this year, which will be on display in the interactive KI Pavilion during the NRA Show. It’s located in South Hall Level 3.

The 2013 Kitchen Innovations Award Recipients are: 

·      Aerowerks Inc.: Mesh Belt Conveyor

·      Alto-Shaam Inc.: 4.10cci CT Express

·      Blendtec: Stealth

·      Duke Mfg.: X-Stream IH2 Wash System

·      Ecolab Inc.: Equipment Care Division: Smart Care Program

·      Follett Corp.: 7 Series Ice and Water Dispenser

·      Franke Coffee Systems Americas: FoamMaster

·      Frontline Int’l.: M3 Data Management System

·      Garland Group: Green Heat: Module Line Brazing Pan

·      Hobart Corp.: The Advansys LXeR Undercounter

·      Jade Range LLC: Even-Broiler

·      KE2: KE2 Evaporator Efficiency

·      Manitowoc Kolpak: ArticFox

·      MasterBilt: Parallel Glycol Rack System

·      Meiko: CS-70 Sanitizing, Door-Type Dishmachine

·      Middleby Marshall: WOW 2 Oven

·      Ovention Inc.: Ovention Matchbox

·      Pentair: Everpure SimpliFlow Water Management System

·      Strahman Valves Inc.: Vari-Spray Pre-rinse Nozzle

·      Technologies Coffea Inc.: Coffea Vacuum Brewing System

·      The Vollrath Co.: Mirage Induction Soup Rethermalizer

This year’s KI judges were: Dan Bendall, FoodStrategy; Martin Cowley, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts; William Eaton, FFCSI, Cini-Little Int’l.; Robert Forrester, Restaurant Industry Solutions; Foster Frable Jr., FCSI, Clevenger Frable LaVallee; Jim Krueger, Jr., Air Force Services Agency; Aaron LaMotte, Sodexo Performance Interiors; Robert Marshall, McDonald’s Corp.; and Kathleen Seelye, FFCSI, Ricca Newmark Design.

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