New cuisines, advancing technologies, expanding awareness—the world of noncommercial foodservice is constantly changing, and the rate of change only seems to get faster. Today’s operators are expected to meet the increasing demands for greater output at a faster pace, all while working within tight budgets and strict guidelines. Thankfully, the national conferences of noncommercial foodservice associations provide a great place to see first-hand the latest equipment and technologies, learn new ideas and strategies and network with other people in the industry to help you not only meet but exceed expectations in your operation. With themes focusing on revolutionizing the industry and coming together to achieve great results, it’s clear that this year’s line-up of conferences will give you the tools and knowledge you need to return to work with a fresh perspective and a new outlook for future success.
We’ve provided a round-up of the highlights from each conference. Learn more about what will be offered and how to register on the conference websites.
Association of Correctional Food Service Affiliates
Annual Int’l. Conference and Vendor Showcase
Town and Country Resort Hotel, San Diego
Sept. 24-27, 2017
This year’s theme, “Do More with Less,” resonates with anyone who has worked to improve operations in times of tight budgets. A variety of networking and educational events allows attendees to take away a wealth of knowledge to make better decisions, stay motivated, and increase efficiency and productivity.
Keynote speakers are set to inspire, including Chef Claudia Sandoval, winner of MasterChef Season 6, who will speak about doing more with less, and Tracey Zuber from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department talking about inmate rights and foodservice. Other education sessions will cover food safety, food allergies and kitchen design and equipment. A special highlight this year is a breakout session hosted by Robin Ashton, Publisher of Foodservice Equipment Reports. He will lead a panel of industry experts in a discussion on preventative maintenance programs for equipment and their impact on lifecycle costs, as well as emerging technologies in equipment.
In addition to the educational sessions, this year’s vendor showcase hosts more than 100 exhibitors. Each is correctional-industry specific, either showcasing products tailored for correctional foodservice operations, or with experts on hand to have conversations about adjustments and needs to meet the category’s requirements and guidelines. And networking opportunities abound at the annual golf tournament, chili cook-off and awards banquet.
Association for Healthcare Foodservice Annual Conference
Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, National Harbor, Md.
Aug. 15-18, 2017
How do you handle greater expectations from patients, a flood of new technology and restrictions on operating costs? By revolutionizing your self-operated healthcare foodservice operations. At this year’s AHF Annual Conference, “Revolution: Healthcare Foodservice Reimagined” is the theme that will inspire four renowned keynote speakers as well as the 16 educational sessions and the AHF Marketplace. Close to 150 business partners will be exhibiting on the marketplace floor, ready to show off new products and share best practices.
Take what you see on the marketplace floor and find new ways to apply it in your operations with the information you take away from the educational line-up. Keynote speakers include Maggie Hsu, an advisor at Zappos and a work culture revolutionary; Mark Sanborn, President of Sanborn & Associates, an idea lab for leadership development; Rebekah Gregory, Boston Marathon bombing survivor; and Dr. Joe Ricciardi, who will speak on his research on the “Intersection of Love and Leadership.”
A highlight of the concurrent sessions is the panel “Take the Pain Out of Renovation,” where experts will weigh in on drafting a plan for a renovation, finding a kitchen design consultant, staying in operation during the process and equipment requirements.
National Association of College & University Food Services National Conference
Music City Center, Nashville, Tenn.
July 12-15, 2017
Building on the idea that we’re all better when we work together, the theme of this year’s NACUFS conference is “Band Together,” even more appropriate for an event held in the Music City. This conference is known for its member forums, roundtable discussions that allow attendees to grow their networks and gain insight from shared experiences. This year organizers have moved the member forums to the beginning of the conference to help attendees get the most out of their time at the event.
In addition to member forums, organizers offer interest sessions on topics falling within four tracks: Culinary and Nutrition, Sales, Marketing and Communications, Finance and Operations and Supervisory. This year there will be the traditional 60-minute interest sessions as well as 30-minute flash sessions. These are designed to provide meaningful nuggets of information in a more focused way, and allow the conference to offer more topics and opportunities for learning during the conference. The sessions include topics such as food sensitivities, embracing cultural differences including Kosher and Halal, food trucks, urban gardening, and working with equipment partners to improve efficiency and reduce costs. The learning continues at the Showcase, featuring more than 440 exhibitors and the highly anticipated culinary challenge.
Make sure to stay on top of everything by downloading the National Conference mobile app.
Society for Hospitality and Foodservice Management National Conference
Turnberry Isle, Miami
Oct. 24-26, 2017
From communications to products to customer service, an organization’s brand is what holds everything together and builds a reputation. In today’s world of social media and instant communication, branding is more important than ever. This year’s SHFM National Conference takes on the theme “BRAND NEW: Branded for Tomorrow,” with educational sessions centered around creating influence and how to grow your brand in a changing world. Sessions on personal and organizational branding as well as innovation and technology will help attendees take away information to enrich themselves and their companies for the future.
In addition to the educational sessions, this year’s conference will include an expo with about 70 exhibitors. Walking the expo floor will provide a great opportunity to find the tools and equipment necessary to implement the branding strategies presented at the conference. Visit the society’s website for more details on speakers and educational opportunities.
School Nutrition Association Annual National Conference
Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta
July 9-12, 2017
Education is an important aspect of SNA’s national conference, where more than 120 different sessions provide ample opportunity for attendees to learn new things while fulfilling their continuing education requirements. This year’s theme of “Hot Topics, Cool Connections,” is evident in the subjects covered during the education sessions.
Learn about developing effective and efficient bids, reducing food waste, nontraditional feeding programs such as food trucks or outdoor serving areas, a la carte sales and mobile ordering and incorporating new culinary trends into school menus. NASA astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly and thought leader Alex Sheen are this year’s keynote speakers; they’ll bring their unique perspectives on life and success to the conference.
Attendees will make connections in classes and on the Exhibit Hall floor, where more than 850 booths are filled with products, ideas and information to share the latest and greatest in foodservice solutions. Also at the Exhibit Hall are the ever-popular New Product Showcase and Culinary Demonstrations. Brand new this year is a series of “SPARK” sessions, 25-minute, interactive training sessions with a targeted focus and an opportunity to “ask the expert.”
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Registration now open for the Dec. 17 half-day virtual conference.