Industry News | May 17, 2008

From the Floor: NRA Show Starts Off Strong

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Just one hour into the 2008 National Restaurant Association (NRA) Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, Chicago's McCormick place is already buzzing. The show is expected to host more than 70,000 industry players over the course of the next four days.

2008 NRA Show According to Annika Stensson, NRA media relations manager, this year's show will be the association's largest to date, selling out all booth space for the third year in a row. "We've reconfigured the design because it's bigger than last year with 2,200 companies exhibiting," Stensson says. "Overall, so far, things are going really well."

This year's show will host the debut of the International Wine, Spirits, and Beer Event. "All of our research shows that alcohol is really big this year," Stensson says. "In cooking and in bar drinks, this is a trend that we wanted to tap into."

In addition to industry speakers, the 89th NRA Show will also offer visitors the chance to hear from the leading Republican presidential candidate, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.). "There are so many great things happening this year, it's hard to narrow it down, but I'd have to say the McCain speech is at the top," Stensson says. The Arizona senator will address restaurant and foodservice professionals on Monday, May 19 at 10:15 a.m. in the Grand Ballroom S100. After his remarks, McCain will meet with a small group of restaurant and hospitality industry CEOs and mayors, sponsored by the Travel Business Roundtable.

In keeping with the show's tradition of attracting leading culinarians for education sessions and book signings, this year is no different. Several celebrity chefs will host culinary showcases throughout the show, highlighting menu trends for visitors.

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