2016 NRA Show Preview

    A day-by-day guide to the year’s biggest foodservice conference.



    The National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) annual show is a sight to behold. With more than 60,000 attendees, thousands of vendor booths, and a smorgasbord of good eats, the NRA Show has become the restaurant industry’s biggest can’t-miss event, offering plenty of opportunities to learn and network. (Want to be rewarded for all of those steps you take at the show? Find out how you can win a Fitbit just by Walking the Floor.)

    Haven’t been yet? Not to worry. Our annual preview offers a day-by-day guide to the NRA Show so you can make the most of the event, held May 21–24 at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

    Visit QSR’s booth #5415



    10 a.m.

    Hire, Train, Reward, Retain: Developing a Team of Top Performers

    Finding great people who do great work is a huge challenge. Learn more about cutting-edge recruiting and hiring tactics, robust training for multi-generational staff, incentive and bonus programs, and methods for increasing retention. / ROOM S403

    11:30 a.m.

    The New Way to Run a Restaurant

    The chef/owners of Chicago fast casual Honey Butter Fried Chicken, Josh Kulp and Christine Cikowski, share their tested and unique approach to running a restaurant, including insights into how they create a positive work culture while still meeting goals for their three bottom lines: food, service, and finance. / ROOM S405

    1 p.m.

    Sensible Strategies for Clean Menus

    As consumer trends shift toward health-conscious and sustainable eating, integrating a clean and nutritious menu strategy is increasingly important. Learn from Chick-fil-A’s director of menu strategy how to seamlessly make the move toward a cleaner and healthier menu. / ROOM S403

    3 p.m.

    Social Responsibility: Engaged Employees Drive Bottom Line

    Cause-based marketing comes from all sources. Your staff could be the best advocates for your passion project—and, in turn, create a stronger work culture. Hear from leading industry executives how supporting a cause has transformed their culture while driving strong business results. / ROOM S402b

    Next: Sunday




    10 a.m.

    Emerging Trends: How Fast Food is Disrupting the Way America Eats

    The quick-service space has experienced tremendous evolution and growth recently thanks to several companies upending consumers’ preconceived notions of what fast food means and delivers in terms of quality and service. Learn more about the trends that will continue to push the boundaries for fast food in the coming years. / ROOM S403

    11:30 a.m.

    Why Global Food Safety Initiative Matters

    Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) brings together food-safety professionals from around the world to identify food-safety management best practices. Explore the steps needed to become certified and understand how obtaining certification to a GFSI standard can help your operation meet and exceed FSMA requirements. / ROOM S405

    3 p.m.

    Great Work: Fixing the Global Recognition Deficit

    Learn how and why recognition and gratitude impacts your business’ bottom line. David Novak, former CEO of Yum! Brands, will share new research on the “global recognition deficit” and inspire attendees with practical advice to create positive change for their lives and business. / ROOM S404

    Next: Monday




    10 a.m.

    Millennials, Gen Z, and Beyond: How Fast Casual Can Adapt

    Younger consumers have lofty expectations for fast-casual offerings, leaving brands scrambling to accommodate their wants and needs quickly and cost-effectively. Chris Newcomb, the pioneer behind McAlister’s Deli and Newk’s Eatery, will offer tips on incorporating innovation and adapting to trends to secure Millennial business. / ROOM S405

    11:30 a.m.

    Grappling with Generation Gaps at Work

    Today’s foodservice workforce runs the generational gamut. In this session, trainers from multiunit restaurants like Rubio’s, White Castle, and McAlister’s explain how they bridge the learning-style gap to support a healthy, harmonious multigenerational staff. / ROOM S403

    1 p.m.

    Keeping the Media Edge in Today’s Rapidly Changing World

    Balancing traditional media with digital is a complex task, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In this session, hear why Dunkin’ Brands runs on mobile, and learn how to cut through the clutter to remain nimble in t

    3 p.m.

    Fast Casual 2.0: The Next Great Limited-Service Wave

    Meet the editor of QSR!Fast Casual 2.0 restaurants are dominating the foodservice conversation. Get to know the entrepreneurs who are rolling out unique, premium limited-service concepts that are chef-driven and pushing the standards for high-quality products, ingredients, and service. This is the future of fast casual. / ROOM S405

    Next: Tuesday




    10 a.m.

    Training Leaders Using Limited Resources

    Training the next generation of leaders is essential for any restaurant’s long-term survival, but finding the money to pay for this training can be difficult. Learn about strategies to improve the organizational, motivational, and communication skills of up-and-coming employees that won’t waste your budget or time. / ROOM S402a

    11:30 a.m.

    Culinary Research: Flavor Trends at Street Level

    Restaurants are serving authentic global cuisines, creative mash-ups, and popular vegetable-centric cuisine. In this fast-paced and highly visual session, chef Gerry Ludwig will highlight the best and brightest new restaurants from his most recent research while also identifying dishes with the best growth potential on today’s restaurant menus. / ROOM S402b