Special Report | May 2011 | By Mary Avant

Making the Most of NRA 2011

A dynamic guide to this year’s NRA Show, complete with products you can’t miss and Chicago highlights that are perfect for post-show networking.

Come May 21–24, you'll be joining industry professionals from all 50 states and more than 100 countries, testing products from more than 1,800 exhibitors, and discovering everything you could possibly need to know at more than 70 free education sessions.

The best part? The National Restaurant Association Show all takes place under one roof.

Sample new foods, preview the hottest products on the market, and learn about everything from green industry practices to the latest trends in menu development straight from the industry's best. And make sure to stop by and visit QSR at booth No. 4861!

Located right along Lake Michigan in Chicago and just minutes away from all of the sounds, sights, hustle, and bustle of The Windy City, the show offers you the chance to fit in both work and play after the floors close at 5 p.m.

Education Sessions

SATURDAY

10–11:30 a.m.

Food & Healthy Living

MENU LABELING: WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU

Catherine Adams Hutt, president and CEO of RdR Solutions Consulting, provides an understanding of the process that brought the menu-labeling legislation to life, the implications for restaurants, and insights on how nutrition information may or may not influence consumer behavior.

Noon–1:30 p.m.

Technology

SKIP THE LINE: THE FIVE GUYS CASE STUDY FOR ORDERING AHEAD

Steve Teller, project manager for Five Guys, and Noah Glass, CEO of OLO Online Ordering, discuss the online ordering option that increased the chain’s average order size by 32 percent over call-in orders. The session will also focus on successful remote-ordering strategies, including integrating suggestive selling and social media with remote transactions.

2–3:30 p.m.

Food & Healthy Living

THE IMPACT OF THE 2010 DIETARY GUIDELINES

Learn how the changes in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines will affect restaurants and consumers. Panelists include Wendy Kapsak, senior director of health and wellness of the International Food Information Council; Robert Post, deputy director of USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion; Erica Bohm, vice president of Healthy Dining; and Joy Dubost, director of nutrition and food for the NRA.

Profitability & Entrepreneurship

TACTICS, TIPS, & TRICKS FOR DEVELOPING ‘NEW NOW’ MENUS

Learn the seven key ideas needed to adapt menus for today’s value-driven customer, while avoiding costly mistakes. A panel of experts will discuss topics including menu printing, layout and design, pricing, tracking, and using menu engineering for bottom line results.

SUNDAY

10–11:30 a.m.

Jobs & Careers

IS LEADERSHIP IN YOUR JOB DESCRIPTION?

Managers’ performances are vital to a successful business, and a crucial component to successful management is strong leadership. Gail Lyman, director of people services for First Hospitality Group, will explain how to identify true leaders, develop leadership skills, and define leadership in terms of tangible goals and tasks.

Noon–1:30 p.m.

Profitability & Entrepreneurship

USING SOCIAL MEDIA TECHNOLOGIES TO REWARD BRAND LOYALTY

Learn how to integrate conventional loyalty programs with Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and other social media applications. Join BJ Emerson, vice president of technology at Tasti D-Lite, to discover how the chain is allowing customers to share their loyalty activity online and receive tangible benefits through social-friendly POS applications and its TastiRewards program.

Jobs & Careers

THE SILVER-HAIRED TSUNAMI

By 2012, one of every three employees will be over the age of 50 and your next wave of staff prospects will be Baby Boomers. Join Blair Chancey, editor of QSR magazine; Mike Amos, president of CHART; Barry Flink, executive vice president of Flex HR; and Brent Alvord, president of Lenny’s Sub Shop, to learn how to recruit, manage, and inspire this unique demographic.

2–3:30 p.m.

Sustainability/Social Responsibility

NRA’S CONSERVE: WALKING THE PATHWAY TO A GREENER RESTAURANT

Don Fisher, president and CEO of Fisher-Nickel, and Richard Young, senior engineer and director of education for the Food Service Technology Center, will demonstrate how to use the NRA’s online education and recognition program—Conserve—to start down a greener path and achieve positive results.

MONDAY

10–11:30 a.m.

Profitability & Entrepreneurship

WHAT BIG BRANDS KNOW—GROW ANY BUSINESS LIKE A BILLION-DOLLAR BRAND

This seminar translates big-brand strategies into an action plan to make stronger businesses both now and over the long term. Gerald O’Brion, former vice president of marketing at Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Quiznos, will help re-examine why differences in competitors matter to consumers. The presentation will include case studies and information to immediately put to work to build business like the “big guys.”

Technology

McCAFÉ DIGITAL MENUBOARDS: AN IDEAL BLEND OF INGREDIENTS FOR MAXIMIZING ROI

McDonald’s senior director of marketing, Dan Williams, will share how digital menuboards have increased customer engagement, achieved greater promotional effectiveness, and simplified management of its McCafé brand. Williams and Chris Riegel, CEO of Stratacache, will show how McDonald’s is using these menuboards to fine-tune marketing, meet menu labeling laws, and go green.

Noon–1:30 p.m.

Jobs & Careers

THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA INSIDE YOUR ORGANIZATION

Join Janet Hoffmann, president of Hoffmann and Associates, to learn how to recruit, develop, engage, and communicate with employees through social media. Explore popular social media tools, learn how to incorporate them into workplace practices to gain a competitive edge, and hear from companies using social media successfully inside their organizations.

2–3:30 p.m.

Jobs & Careers

NO SECOND CHANCES: HOW TO KEEP EVERY CUSTOMER

Ensure that your staff consistently creates the experiences that produce rave reviews and keeps customers coming back. Dorothy Frisch, owner of Polished Service Consulting, will share ways to add value to customers without adding costs, while developing a “culture of service” that all employees can embrace.

TUESDAY

10–11:30 a.m.

Sustainability/Social Responsibility

THE RIGHT MENU: COMMUNICATING SUSTAINABILITY TO YOUR CUSTOMERS

Operators explain how they developed and implemented attractive and effective communications that made their sustainability goals fashionable and cool, and moved away from messages that were patronizing, guilt-laden, or disapproving. Panelists will be Bill DiMento, corporate director of sustainability at High Liner Foods; Charles Clover, founder of Fish2Fork; Helene York, director of strategic initiatives at Bon Appetit Management; Ian Olson, director of sustainability at Darden Restaurants; and others.

Noon–1:30 p.m.

Technology

MAKING I.T. DECISIONS FOR A RAPIDLY EXPANDING RESTAURANT CHAIN

Bill Holleman, director of operations at Roti Mediterranean Grill, and Jeff Riley, CEO of Dinerware, will share one chain’s growing pains and lessons learned, including concept standardization and establishing successful partnerships with technology vendors.

Next: Where to Go, What to Do