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    2015 NRA Show Guide

  • A rundown of the must-see happenings at the restaurant industry’s biggest annual event.

    National Restaurant Association


    Tuesday, May 19

    11:30 a.m.

    How to Pick the Right Franchise

    FranNet president and COO Jania Bailey helps aspiring franchisees identify and select the right ownership opportunity. The session starts with an overview of the industry and then delves into an in-depth look at the pros and cons of opening your own franchise business. / ROOM S404d

    1 p.m.

    Craveability: Building On the ‘Crave’ Factor of Food & Drinks

    Demystify the factors that make menu items “craveable” and learn how to analyze consumer behavior to craft the perfect flavors for your customers. This session will also provide valuable information on modern demographic preferences so you can offer craveable items to your core consumer base. / ROOM S402b



    Showcasing the NRAEF

    Every year at the conference, the NRA showcases its long-standing programs and newer initiatives from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF). The NRAEF will have a presentation and demo space at booth #6600 in the North Building, off the main concourse.

    Ashley Mills, the NRAEF’s director of communications, talks about the foundation’s ProStart education program and what operators can expect from visiting the NRAEF’s booth this year.

    What’s new at your booth this year?

    In the past we have used the show to showcase our ProStart students, and that’s not going to change. But this year, we’re going to expand that a little bit more to make it more relevant for the show attendees. Instead of just walking by and looking at ProStart students, attendees will have the opportunity to talk with ProStart students and really get an understanding of how the NRAEF is training the future leaders of our industry, and how that can particularly benefit hiring managers in the quick-serve industry. The educational foundation is also taking an expanded role in working with the NRA’s Military Foundation, so there will be a Military Foundation presence in our booth this year, as well. It’s a terrific opportunity to understand the highly skilled level of potential employee that is exiting the military and entering the restaurant workforce.

    How are your hopes for this year’s show?

    The show is a really valuable opportunity for people to learn more about what the Educational Foundation is doing for the industry in terms of training and education. We’re hoping it will be more interactive so people can see how really highly skilled our ProStart students are, how ready to work they are, how excited and engaged they are in the industry, and, of course, how technically trained they are. I think it’s really impressive to talk to the students and hear just how poised and accomplished and knowledgeable they are in terms of reading P&Ls and doing marketing plans, and really knowing how to run a restaurant business.

    What impact do your programs—especially ProStart—have on the quick-serve industry?

    Well, from a bottom-line perspective, we’re training America’s future restaurant leaders through the ProStart program. The program is maturing; it’s now expanded into 49 states with 100,000 students in ProStart classrooms this year, and they’re learning those culinary techniques and restaurant management skills. We’ve just completed research of our ProStart students and educators that really validates that these students are ready to work and ready to lead. We know that both the students and educators agree that they’re learning really valuable employability skills like teamwork, workplace reliability, and workplace communication skills—all things that really help if you’re hiring and you want to someone who can help manage a quick serve and understand how to make eye contact with a customer and really elevate it to that professional level. ProStart students are ready to go.

    Do you have any special programs planned?

    We’ll be doing some presentations to highlight recent workforce research that we’ve done that we think is also really valuable to the [quick-service] community in terms of communicating that [quick-service] jobs are really good jobs and that our employees are proud to work in our industry. Our research showed that 90 percent of our restaurant workers were proud to work in the industry, and that will help recruiting, but also with reputation management, as well. We want to elevate awareness of what a career in the industry really looks like in terms of longevity and upward mobility. There’s a lot of room for advancement and a wide range of career paths, and we want to show what we’re doing to promote that, as well as resources to help operators talk about opportunity in the industry.

    What would you want a quick-service operator to leave your booth knowing?

    We certainly want the quick-service community to understand the value of hiring a ProStart student, but we’d also like them to understand what their opportunities are in their own communities in terms of being a mentor. Just going into a classroom and talking about what the business is and what the opportunities are is incredibly valuable for the students. And it’s a great way to get a hands-on role to help train the future workforce of our industry.