This is part of NRN’s special coverage of the 2012 NRA Show. The show is held in Chicago, May 5-8. Follow all coverage on NRN’s NRA Show page, check out NRN blogs, Reporter’s Notebook, and Tweet with us using #NRNatNRA.
Hot topics buzzing around the NRA Show floor early Saturday morning included the use of social media as a brand builder, whether financing has opened enough to help franchisees open restaurants and how the latest equipment and technology can build in-restaurant efficiencies.
More than 50,000 restaurant industry professionals are expected to attend the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, or NRA Show, which opened Saturday in Chicago. The show, which runs through Tuesday, May 8, features nearly six miles of exhibit space, filled with food and beverage, equipment and technology companies, as well as businesses that provide marketing, human resource, payment processing and other services.
The NRA Show “is a great way to see new things coming out and trending in the industry,” Scott Wise, the owner of Scotty’s Brewhouse, told the National Restaurant Association.
B.J. Emerson, vice president of technology for Tasti D-Lite and Planet Smoothie said he is eager to network, attend the educational sessions and share some of his own expertise in a panel Sunday afternoon, “Social Touchpoints: You can’t afford not to be a social butterfly.”
The NRA said the exhibit floor sold out this year with more than 1,900 exhibitors, of which 500 are new to the show.
“A sold out exhibit floor means NRA Show 2012 will be buzzing with thousands of new products and services that can make a difference in operators’ businesses,” said Jack Crawford, convention chair and president and chief executive of Ground Round Independent Owners Cooperative.
Nation’s Restaurant News already has dispatched editors to cover the show from top to bottom. Follow the coverage on the NRN.com ‘At the Show’ section and follow editors’ tweets using #NRNatNRA:
Sessions NRN will be covering during the next few days include how to start a successful food truck program, how best to leverage online technologies, best ways to utilize healthful food offerings and fast-casual restaurant growth trends. President Bill Clinton’s keynote speech on Sunday will be covered in real time. Also look for senior food editor Bret Thorn’s Top 10 food trends from the show floor on Monday, and NRN’s MenuMasters Awards coverage following the Saturday night party.