Special Report | May 2014 | By Marlee Murphy

2014 NRA Show Guide

Everything you need to know to prepare for the industry’s biggest event.

The annual NRA show gives quick service and fast casual operators helpful advice
National Restaurant Association
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The National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) annual Show is one of the restaurant industry’s must-attend events. With thousands of company booths to explore, educational sessions hosted by industry experts, and plenty of networking to be done at Chicago’s finest restaurants, there’s no shortage of things to do and see during your four days in the Windy City.

We’ve put together our annual NRA Show preview to help you strategize your time in Chicago and make the most of the event, held May 17–20 at McCormick Place. Stop by QSR’s Booth! #5338

NRA Education Session Schedule

The education sessions at the NRA Show offer a great opportunity to learn from experts about all of the hot-button issues affecting the industry. Here are several we think would be most worth your time.

Saturday, May 17

10 a.m.

NRA’s Fast-Casual Industry Council Presents: Lessons from Leaders 2.0

Top executives discuss lessons, challenges, and successes they have experienced in the rapidly growing fast-casual sector. Hear from CEOs like Don Fox of Firehouse Subs and Marc Simon of Rubio’s Restaurants. ROOM S404abc

The Art and Science of Capturing the Opportunity Within the Diverse Millennial Population

The diversity among Millennials has translated to an eclectic palate and desire for authenticity that strongly influence their food and dining preferences. Nielsen executive John Torres discusses this generation’s buying behaviors and how to engage them both online and off. ROOM S402a

11:30 a.m.

One Slice at a Time: What the Pizza Industry Can Teach You

CEO Rick Wolf of Papa Gino’s and president Eric Greenwald of Grimaldi’s Pizzeria discuss growth strategies and current trends within the popular pizza industry. ROOM S403

1:30 p.m.

Marketing Strategies for Your Restaurant Brand

Some strategies are better than others at marketing your quick serve for success. The NRA’s Marketing Executive Group (MEG) members share how they succeed at everything from social media to brand evolution. ROOM S404abc

Happier Employees, Appreciated Guests: Training for Diversity and Inclusion Builds Business

With more generations working, growing international tourism, and issues such as marriage equality and immigration making headlines, diversity and inclusion training in the quick-service industry has never been more important. Learn how to find employees in this new market and how they prepare the staff to better connect with a diverse set of consumers.ROOM S402a

2 p.m.

Exploring Technology Industry Trends with Hudson Riehle

A growing crop of technology tools and trends can set your quick-service concept apart from competition. NRA executive Hudson Riehle shares how technology integration can satisfy consumer demand for convenience. BOOTH 5575

“Walk the Floor” with Food News Media!

In conjunction with Food News Media’s Healthy, Active Lifestyle campaign and our upcoming HALO Awards, put your best foot forward by participating in our contest during the 2014 NRA Show. While on the floor, be sure to stop by the Food News Media booth, No. 5338, to pick up one of our “Walk the Floor” pedometers and track the number of steps you take in the course of the Show.

How many steps will you take? Tweet your experience and number of steps to @HALO4CHANGE, along with the hashtag #walkthefloor, to see how you stack up against other NRA attendees. The participant with the most steps over the course of the show will win a Fitbit or Vivobit. Whether motivated by our healthy lifestyle theme or competitive spirit (or maybe by those extra calories put on by delicious Chicago dining!), we welcome your involvement.

The “Walk the Floor” campaign demonstrates Food News Media’s continued commitment to promoting Healthy, Active Lifestyles. This campaign is part of a much larger initiative called the HALO Awards, which promote a Healthy, Active Lifestyle Objective. For years, Food News Media has covered the restaurant industry’s achievements in this area in the pages of QSR and FSR magazines. In 2014, we decided to formalize this coverage with the HALO Awards, which will honor restaurant chains making genuinely positive contributions, through both menu and messaging, to a Healthy, Active Lifestyle for consumers.

Next: Sunday, May 18

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