The 95th annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant (NRA), Hotel-Motel Show and the co-located 7th annual International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event at NRA Show (IWSB), held at Chicago’s McCormick Place on May 17–20, posted positive growth in both attendee and exhibitor numbers for the third year in a row. As the most comprehensive trade show for the foodservice industry, the NRA Show and IWSB 2014 brought operators, dealers, distributors, experts, manufacturers, and suppliers together to address some of the most timely and relevant topics in the industry including the effects of entrepreneurship, technology, and social responsibility on the industry’s future; sustainability; health and nutrition; building an effective and profitable bar program; menu development and special dietary needs; and more.

This year marks the third consecutive year of registration growth. After posting an increase in both 2012 and 2013, NRA Show/IWSB grew by an additional 2 percent in 2014, bringing registration to 63,876—a total growth of 10.5 percent since 2011.

Registrants hailed from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. The lodging category saw the largest increase in registrants, posting 12.9 percent growth over 2013. Dealer/distributor and press registration grew by 9 percent and 8.5 percent, respectively.

On the exhibitor side, total square footage grew by 5.7 percent and number of exhibiting companies grew by 4.3 percent, resulting in totals of 612,170 and 2,168, respectively. Total growth in exhibit space over the past three years was 18.8 percent and total growth in exhibiting companies over that time period was 11.9 percent. To accommodate ongoing demand, NRA Show will expand into the Lakeside Center in 2015, joining the International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event in the East Building of McCormick Place.

“The energy and excitement at this year’s NRA Show and IWSB could be strongly felt at every venue – and reflected the ongoing optimism among restaurant and hospitality professionals,” says Sam Facchini, 2014 NRA convention chair and cofounder/co-owner of Metro Pizza. “Our industry is poised for another year of growth, and operators came out in full force to find the products, services, information, and contacts that will help them capitalize on increased consumer spending in the next year.”