We at FoodALot prepared ourselves for National Restaurant Association(NRA) Show on Saturday, May 18 at McCormick Place in Chicago. This year marks the 100th anniversary of industry’s biggest show, and it was bigger than ever — with 2,300 exhibitors and 65,000 attendees from around the world. McCormick Place is Chicago’s premier convention space and the largest convention center in North America. Whether it’s equipment and supplies or foods and beverages, there is something for everyone at this four-day event.
This year we had a different game plan – to learn the industry more, to serve even better.
With snacks, bites & delicious nibbles on our way and with over 18,000 steps, we had tasted some of the coolest new beverages and food. We also interacted with multitude of products and innovative technologies from robots to IOT devices to Kiosks. We met some world famous celebrity Chefs and industry professionals with learning sessions, and felt like traveled around the globe.
It was amazing to see everything that makes up the restaurant industry in one place. Although we thought we were prepared with our comfy shoes on, we still felt slightly overwhelmed.
Here are the 3 Interesting trends based on our Observation of the National Restaurant Association Show this year.
Trend #1 : Growing Investment in Plant based meat
Hundreds of millions of dollars have recently been poured into investing in companies that are finding plant-based alternatives to steak, chicken, hamburgers, and our general preference for animal protein. Couple of years ago, vegetarian and vegan protein was almost impossible to come by. It was popular among a small demographic.
Now, it’s all about the plant-based burgers, such as the Impossible Burger. The number of vegans, vegetarians, and flexitarians keeps growing, and it’ll be absolutely necessary for all restaurants to add these options to their menus.
Trend #2 : Phaseout Single-Use Disposables
Consumers are fed up with single use plastics and expect restaurants to take their concerns seriously. In 2019, more restaurants are phasing out Bottled Water, Straws, Plastic Bags, placement of utensil, napkin, condiment take-out bags. To help this shift from disposables to reusables, innovative companies, such as GO Box and OZZI are helping integrate reusables in a convenient way. More reusable mug and take-out container systems will make this shift something that will work for consumers needs.
Trend #3 : Overwhelming options for self-serve ordering Kiosks
Navigating through the Technology Pavilion, we noticed that there were tons of options for the Self-serve ordering Kiosks. Each one of them were highlighting multiple jargons like analytics, Heat mapping, iBeacon, Near Field Communication, Bluetooth, Video tracking, Mood tracking, etc. We being technology gurus were excited to see them; at the same time, we also observed that there was something missing in that Pavilion. The confusing technology terms and pricing model was driving the customers away, except for a very few enthusiasts.
Overall we had a wonderful experience attending National Restaurant Association(NRA) Show this year. It was truly inspiring to meet so many industry experts and we sure did learn a lot from the Show.
With that inspiration, we are geared up to work on our simple to use FoodALot mobile app with Order from table solution which is being built in Cincinnati, OH with love .