Foodservice Equipment Reports

Upbeat Mood At NRA

Today, May 20, is the final day of the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago. I am heading downtown in a few minutes to man the booth and chat up the remaining customers and readers.

Though Jan and I missed Saturday and Sunday—our daughter Emma graduated on Saturday from the University of Iowa—everyone I saw yesterday said it has been one great show. One manufacturer told me it was the most upbeat, vibrant NRA since the 1990s! This bodes well for the remainder of 2014.

Manufacturers said attendance has been great at every level. Plenty of dealer folks were around over the weekend. Four people told me they haven’t seen this many chain folks at NRA in years. And it hasn’t been just the big chains. Smaller chains that have been holding off are pulling the trigger on new programs, we were told.

But perhaps the most optimistic sign at the show was the number of school and corrections people working the aisles. The rebound in state and local tax receipts over the past couple years has apparently meant that publicly funded operators finally have some capital monies to spend.

Combine the upbeat mood at the show with the bounce- back NRA and other research groups are reporting in traffic and same-store sales since February and it appears it could be a strong summer and rest of the year for operators and the E&S industry. Have a fun and happy summer.


Robin Ashton


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