Foodservice Equipment Reports

EVENTS: Conference Call

The foodservice world is changing constantly, and sometimes it’s a challenge to stay current. The value of annual conferences can’t be overstated: They provide the best opportunity to connect with segment-savvy peers and the vendors who understand, and often anticipate, each particular segment’s equipment and supply needs. Plus, it’s just important to step outside of your own operations once in a while.

We’ve assembled key information about six major noncommercial foodservice conferences scheduled for this summer and fall. It’s a handy planner designed to deliver dates, locations and conference highlights that are noteworthy to you. Websites included with each entry will give you more conference details as well as live links to registration pages and hotels.

Association of Correctional Food Service Affiliates
Annual International Conference
St. Louis Union Station, DoubleTree by Hilton
St. Louis
Aug. 10-14

Organizers of this year’s ACFSA Annual International Conference want us to meet them in St. Louis. Not only is it centrally located, making travel more convenient for members anywhere in the U.S., but it also has much to offer, from the famous Gateway Arch to Anheuser-Busch Brewery, Six Flags and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Education Sessions: This year’s theme is “Mental Health: Ours and Theirs,” focusing specifically on healthcare and the issues facing ACFSA members. Several education sessions will focus on how diet can affect behavior. The conference also will include an Equipment Panel with experts from every sector of the foodservice industry who will discuss everything from racks and carts to heavy-duty transportation equipment. Another forum will feature experts on correctional-foodservice kitchen customization to improve production, efficiency and safety. 

Exhibit Hall: The Vendor Showcase will have a unique theme this year, celebrating the 110th anniversary of the 1904 World’s Fair, which took place in St. Louis. Exhibitors are invited to decorate their booths in the theme of a country; the top three winners will receive booth-price discounts. The exhibit hall is a great interactive environment in which to learn about new products and technologies specifically suited to the correctional segment.

Association for Healthcare Foodservice
5th Anniversary Annual Conference
Rosen Shingle Creek
Orlando, Fla.
June 3-6

The theme for this year’s conference, “Leading in a Time of Change: Be the Leaders that Shape the Future” is a call to action because change isn’t coming, it’s here, according to AHF conference planners. Healthcare reform is in full swing, and its ramifications and changing regulations will be the focus of many discussions at the annual conference.

Education Sessions: From a new pre-conference session to expert panels, you will have ample opportunities to discover how new regulations are affecting the industry. “Senior Dining From Every Angle,” moderated by FER Publisher Robin Ashton, is the first pre-conference session to focus on seniors; it will explore aspects of the partnership between acute care and senior living, such as the regulations and responsibilities of long-term care. Other education sessions will cover the impact of healthcare reform, including how hospitality will play an even larger part in competing for patients and influencing their perceptions as well as how to manage under new regulations.

Networking Opportunities: On June 4, enjoy the “Business Partner Exhibits & Lunch” session. The show floor will be full of vendor partners showcasing the latest products, ideas and business solutions for the healthcare foodservice segment. Browse the show, enjoy lunch provided at booths along the way and take advantage of the opportunity to talk with professionals in your industry.

Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals
2014 National Leadership Conference
Hyatt Regency Minneapolis
June 21-24

One of the best ways to learn is through sharing, and there will be plenty of opportunities to network and share best practices at this year’s ANFP National Leadership Conference. Host city Minneapolis provides plenty of opportunities for fun as well, from beautiful parks to the Mall of America.

Education Sessions: Highlights include discussions on how healthcare reform is affecting the foodservice industry, tips for getting equipment needs approved by the administration and ways to improve productivity and meet budget challenges.

Other Learning Opportunities: New at this year’s conference is the Poster Presentation on June 23. To represent the theme, “Cost-Effective Solutions in a Changing Environment,” participants are invited to create a poster highlighting one of their accomplishments from the past year. Together the posters will showcase innovative ideas that can lead to improved efficiencies and cost savings. Additionally, the “Ignite!” sessions that were so popular at last year’s conference are back. Working with a coach, attendees can make an 8-min. slide presentation to share their passion and experience with others. Of course, the exhibition floor, open 9:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. on June 23, is the place to see the latest equipment geared toward efficient foodservice production in healthcare.

The National Association of College & University Food Services
National Conference
Hilton Baltimore & Baltimore Convention Center
July 8-12

Innovative ideas and networking opportunities are priorities at this year’s NACUFS National Conference.

Education Sessions: Member forums and interest sessions scheduled throughout the conference allow plenty of time to talk with industry professionals. The sessions on innovation and operations touch on topics such as trendsetting concepts and cutting-edge activities that work as well as best practices for renovations, new construction and facility planning. A two-hour session, “Understanding the College/University Foodservice Segment,” will provide insight on leveraging opportunities within the campus foodservice sector, developing campus partnerships and understanding the value of networking through traditional and non-traditional avenues.

Exhibit Hall: See hot new products and services and visit with nearly 300 industry partners that serve collegiate dining during the conference’s two-day Showcase. The trade-show exhibits are located at the Baltimore Convention Center, Halls A, B, C and D. New this year are the winning entries of the Industry Innovation and Creative Excellence Awards. These innovative ideas from industry partners will be on display at the convention center near the Showcase.

Society for Hospitality and Foodservice Management
National Conference
Mohegan Sun
Uncasville, Conn.
Nov. 4-6

This year’s SHFM conference marks a special milestone as the society celebrates its 35th anniversary.

Education Sessions: At press time, session content still was being finalized, but education sessions will focus on topics geared toward professionals in the corporate foodservice and workplace hospitality segments, including catering, vending and healthcare and wellness.

Exhibit Hall: One of the conference’s highlights is its trade show, where attendees have the chance to see firsthand new products and services available from many vendors. The trade show is a hands-on learning opportunity as well as a great place to network with peers and industry experts.


School Nutrition Association
68th Annual National Conference
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
July 13-16

SNA members will gather this summer in Boston. The show planners have booked a stellar lineup of keynote presenters, including actress Viola Davis, Share Our Strength Founder and CEO Billy Shore and motivational speaker Aric Bostick, author of “Fired Up! Employees,” who will deliver the closing session.

Education Sessions: Sessions fall into four tracks: Operations, Nutrition, Administration and Marketing & Communications. On the heels of its landmark Kitchen, Infrastructure and Training Study, The Pew Charitable Trusts research organization has been working to identify innovative strategies for meeting school foodservice equipment, infrastructure and training needs. The study results are the subject of the session “Overcoming Infrastructure, Training and Equipment Challenges.”

Exhibit Hall: More than 6,000 attendees are expected at the Annual National Conference this year, and they’ll be looking at the new equipment and products on display in some 800 booths from 360+ companies in the Expo Hall; it’s open for three days during the conference. Just outside the hall is the New Product Showcase featuring the latest products, services and equipment introduced to the school foodservice market in the past year.

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