Industry News | March 2, 2011

It's Back to School with NRA Education Sessions

The 2011 National Restaurant Association's Hotel-Motel Show, which takes places from May 21-24 in Chicago, will feature more than 70 education sessions that will tackle issues like social media and commerce, increasing sustainability efforts, technology innovations, and how philanthropy can boost business, among other topics.

“Trends, challenges, and technologies are constantly evolving in the restaurant industry, and operators need to stay up-to-speed in order to maximize their business opportunities now and into the future,” says C.W. Craig Reed, convention chair for NRA Show 2011 and director of food and beverage, Broadmoor Hotel.

“We focus the educational component of the NRA Show on proven best-practices and tactics that can be immediately implemented, as well as built into long-term strategies, and tailor information to various industry segments,” Reed says.

Organized by the NRA’s industry imperatives, sessions will address hot topics within the areas of jobs and careers, sustainability and social responsibility, profitability and entrepreneurship, and food and healthy living. In addition, the technology session track will focus on the latest foodservice technology solutions.

Highlights of the more than 70 NRA Show 2011 education sessions include:

Jobs and Careers

The Silver-Haired Tsunami, presented by moderator Blair Chancey, editor, QSR Magazine, with panelists Mike Amos, president, CHART; Barry Flink, EVP and partner, Flex HR; and Brent Alvord, president of Lenny's Sub Shop.

Kings of Pastry: the Quest for Culinary Excellence, presented by Flora Lazar, producer and confectioner; and Chef Jacquy Pfeiffer, founder of the French Pastry School.

Food and Healthy Living

Addressing Childhood Obesity: New Restaurant Industry Opportunities, presented by Joy Dubost PhD RD, director of nutrition, NRA; Judith Rodriguez, PhD, RD, FADA, LDN, president, American Dietetic Association; and Amy Myral Miller, MS, RD, program director for strategic initiatives, Culinary Institute of America.

Lessons from The French Laundry Culinary Garden, presented by Tucker Taylor, Culinary Gardener for Chef Thomas Keller's award-winning restaurants The French Laundry, Bouchon, and Ad Hoc.

Sustainability and Social Responsibility

NRA's Conserve: Walking the Pathway to a Greener Restaurant, presented by Don Fisher, president and CEO, Fisher-Nickel; and Richard Young, senior engineer/director of education, Food Service Technology Center.

Philanthropy that Rocks! An Underutilized Way to Grow, presented by Jim Knight, senior director of training, Hard Rock International.

Profitability and Entrepreurship

Local Sourcing: Is There a Forager in Your Future?, moderated by Peter Romeo, editor-at-large, Restaurant Business Magazine.

Using Social Media Technologies to Reward Brand Loyalty, presented by BJ Emerson, VP of technology, Tasti D-Lite.

Collective Buying: How Social Commerce Can Help Your Restaurant Find New Customers, moderated by Darren Schwartz, SVP of sales, Groupon, with panelists Jeff Lawler, managing partner, Geja's Cafe; Tommy Updegrove, owner, PYT Philly; and Maria Baugh, co-owner, Butter Lane Cupcakes.

Technology

McCafe Digital Menu Boards: An Ideal Blend of Ingredients for Maximizing ROI, presented by Dan Williams, senior director of marketing, McDonald's; and Chris Riegel, CEO, Stratacache.

The Secret Sauce Behind Identifying Papa Gino's/D'Angelos Most Profitable Guests, presented by John Eagles, director of projects, Papa Gino's; Andrew Robbins, president, Paytronix; and Dana Story, COO, Openi Media.

Education sessions will be held in McCormick Place’s South Hall on Level 4 and in the Technology Pavilion on Level 3 in the North Hall, all four days of the show. For a full schedule of sessions, visit www.restaurant.org/show.

In addition, a separate education program focused on beverage alcohol will be featured in the 2011 International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event (IWSB), held in conjunction with NRA Show 2010 May 22-23 – see www.winespiritsbeer.org for scheduling.

NRA Show education sessions may be accepted as continuing education credits (CEUs) by certifying bodies of several associations. Check the NRA Show 2011 website, www.restaurant.org/show, for participating association details and with the respective associations for the documentation needed to validate participation and credit.