May 16, 2022

Annual Restaurant Show Returns: 5 Reasons To Go To Chicago

by Jacob Statler

If you don’t go to any other event this year, The National Restaurant Association Show is the one to attend. Back in Chicago for the first time since 2019, May 21-24 is packed with not-to-miss content and networking opportunities.

After hitting The Restaurant Show, you’ll come away with fresh ideas, connections, and the know-how to level up your restaurant business. Direct access to innovative tools, insider info, and cutting-edge leaders in the restaurant business are top among the reasons to book your travel to Chicago now. 

Wondering what the buzz is all about? We’ll cover what you can learn and why you should go:

  • What is The National Restaurant Association?
  • About The Restaurant Show
  • 5 Things restaurant operators can get from The Restaurant Show
  • Attending The Restaurant Show sets you apart from the crowd

What is The National Restaurant Association?

The National Restaurant Association is the largest global food service trade association. The association supports over 500,000 restaurant businesses, and its mission is to advance and protect the restaurant & food service industry by working with state associations, industry leaders, and suppliers. 

The association began in 1919 and has stayed strong for over 100 years, pulling off significant milestones like the Kids LiveWell initiative, and the Dine for America relief.

About The Restaurant Show

The National Restaurant Association Show is the must-attend event of the year, focusing on trends in the restaurant industry, food and beverage trends, and new, game-changing technology. 

Beautiful evening service in a posh restaurant, reds and burgundies.

At The Restaurant Show, you can get hands-on product demos at exhibitor booths, attend educational sessions covering the latest technology and innovations, and sample tasty new recipes and cocktails from leaders in cuisine creativity.

Over 60,000 attendees and 1300 exhibitors with a whopping 900 product categories come together to share in awards, tastings, and demos. You’ll hear from thought-leaders, like Ottimate’s CEO Barrett Boston, and keynote speaker, Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit.

5 Things restaurateurs can get from The Restaurant Show

You can glean so much insight and inspiration from the show by taking advantage of free education sessions, sampling new food & drinks, testing out new equipment, and digging in to what’s hot in tech for the restaurant space. 

1. Improve recruiting & retention

Learn about how to recruit highly qualified staff, and how to hang on to them. Foodservice job openings jumped from 5.8% to 8.4% in 2021, so you’ll want to pay attention to the employee recruiting and retention education sessions.

Check out the National Restaurant Association’s website to find out which sessions you’d like to attend.

2. Discover new industry trends

Staying on top of the latest restaurant industry trends is the only way to keep your restaurant business thriving. You can learn what’s new in customer service and how to run your restaurant more efficiently. Find out the latest about:

  • The new consumer
  • Sustainability
  • Streamline your operations & boost sales 

Plan your “can’t miss” sessions to ensure you leave armed with knowledge about the industry trends you need most.

Our top 3 recommendations: 

Optimize Delivery Experiences and Wow Your Customers
How Do You Define Restaurant Sustainability?
5 Quick Tips to Streamline Operations and Boost Sales

3. Create connections

Relationship building is vital to any successful business, and The Restaurant Show gives you countless opportunities to create connections. 

  • Vendors / Suppliers — Connect through The Show To Go, and catch up with exhibitors before, during & after the show. 
  • Peers — Build relationships with your peers by meeting for drinks, grabbing dinner, or taking in the exhibits together. Finding out what’s working for other restaurants can give you fresh ideas to take home and put into practice.
  • Friendlies — Your first time? Relax with us. We’re veterans of the show, and we’d love to see you at our booth (#6457). Grab a coffee (or cocktail) and pick our brains about tech and the restaurant industry.
  • Networking events — The Restaurant Show offers networking events to help you seek out and build valuable relationships to take your business to the next level. Many exhibitors advertise post-show events and parties. Don’t forget to choose which ones you want to attend, and build in time to party-hop!

4. What’s hot in tech

Restaurants need technology today to increase profitability and operate with excellence. Technology is the secret sauce for a successful restaurant. In fact, 95% of restaurateurs agree on technology’s role in improving business efficiency.

95% of restaurateaurs agree on technology's role in improving business efficiency. AP Automation is key. Source: Toast

The Restaurant Show gives you access to the best in the business discover the latest in hot technology. Check out the Tech Pavilion and Tech Talks to find out how to make technology work for you.

Ottimate will be there to answer any questions about streamlining your AP to boost efficiency in your back office. Swing by our booth #6457 for coffee or a cocktail, and chat with our experts. 

Be sure to attend our Tech Talk on Sunday, May 22 at 11:30 — we’ll be covering the latest tech insights, and how you can use automation to modernize your restaurant operation. 

5. The latest in culinary & adult beverage trends

Discover hot new ingredients and trendy mixology that can freshen up your menu and entice new customers. 

A big bonus to attending The National Restaurant Show is that you get to stuff your face with delicious food, and wash it all down with a cocktail (or 2).

Don’t forget the educational sessions on culinary and adult beverage innovation! Take copious notes and photos to bring back the latest info to your staff who didn’t attend the show.  

Attending The Restaurant Show sets you apart  from the crowd

The long and the short of it is this — if you’re serious about your restaurant’s viability, you need to attend the National Restaurant Association Show. 

The show is packed with exciting, innovative products and tools to modernize your restaurant operation and help you stand out in the crowded restaurant industry.  

Stop by Ottimate’s booth #6457 to learn about fresh, new ways to boost your business through automation. 

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