The Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show (or simply “the NRA Show” to insiders) is the one place where 58,000 industry pros from more than 100 countries can connect with 1,800 exhibitors. The four-day Chicago event is the only place where both operators and suppliers can forge profitable business ties. And it’s also the only forum that showcases world-class innovations, talent, and professional development from across the restaurant industry. Here’s how to get the most out of this year’s show!

Saturday | May 5, 2012

10–11:30 a.m.

So You Want to Franchise Your Restaurant?

Your restaurant is the talk of the neighborhood, and it’s making so much money that you’ve built another one and it’s also doing well. Time to franchise it! Attorney Tom MacIntosh with more than 43 years experience in franchise and distribution, international expansion, business planning, and intellectual property, and Ryan Palmer, shareholder with Monroe Moxness Berg PA, will provide the road map you need. Room S404D

Avoid Being ICE’d: Immigration and I-9 Compliance

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is committed to its investigations and assessing severe civil and criminal penalties against employers, whether it is because a company hired someone who is an unauthorized worker or just made errors on the Form I-9. Silent paper raids will continue until 2014. Therefore, now is the time for employers to become well informed. Daniel Ramirez, partner with Monty & Ramirez LLP, will help you proactively protect your business. Room S404B

Noon–1:30 p.m.

Sodium & Calories: Can we meet dietary guidelines?

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend reducing sodium intake to a 1,500–2300 mg per day, a target that few consumers reach. Consequently, reducing sodium may be a challenge for both foodservice operations and consumers. Dr. Joy Dubost, PhD, RD, director of Nutrition & Food and Healthy Living for the National Restaurant Association, and Dr. Adam Drewnowski, PhD, director of the University of Washington Center for Obesity Research, will discuss the latest research on the main sources of dietary calories and sodium among American children, adolescents, and adults by location of origin and type of food to help clarify the complex sodium issue. Room S402A

Pros & Cons of Being a Restaurant Franchisee

Julie Bennett-Lefkow, author of Franchise Times Guide to Selecting, Buying & Owning a Franchise, and Eric Stites, founder and CEO of The Franchise Business Review, will explain how to pick a successful concept. Room S404D

2–3:30 p.m.

Tax Write-Offs for Restaurant Franchisees

Taxes are always something operators care about, but the topic can be complex. Brad Saltz, director of restaurant services for SS&G, will help make the issues clearer through this “Tax 101” session, providing the key tax information you need to know. Room S404D

Supply Chain Management

Get the best products for the lowest cost. Experts will present the seven key cost-saving takeaways that every operator can use in this tough economy. Topics covered will range from an overview of the commodities world and how it has changed the restaurant industry, to sourcing, traceability, recalls, and record keeping. Room S404A

Next: Sunday, May 6th


Sunday | May 6, 2012

10–11:30 a.m.

Who Makes the Best Franchisees?

Franchising provides you the opportunity to focus your energies, experience, and resources on building a business with a high-quality, well-recognized brand; a sustainable system of operations; and a network of other energized franchisees. Find out why women and minority businesspeople are significant players in the small business sector whose talent and experience are highly sought after by the best-in-class franchisors. Room S404D

Kick Start Your Pricing Strategy

Pricing is crucial to success, yet many operators lack a disciplined pricing approach. Leslie Kerr, founder and president of Intellaprice, has helped Dunkin’ Donuts, Darden Restaurants, California Pizza Kitchen, Chili’s, and others with their pricing programs. Attend and start the process, through guided exercises, of applying sound principles to build your own pricing strategy. Room S403B

Noon–1:30 p.m.

Fast Casual: A Recipe for Growth

You’ll see the fast-casual segment compared to the overall industry using data including NRA’s 2012 Restaurant Industry Forecast. Learn the secrets to their success as fast-casual CEOs share stories of innovation, unit growth, and people metrics that are critical in creating the “wow” factor of the fast-casual experience. Room S402A

Grow Your Restaurant Business

Are you looking to grow your business? Dennis Monroe, chair, and Jim Wahl, partner at Monroe Moxness Berg PA., will provide a fresh look at all the key new ways. Room S404D

2–3:30 p.m.

Veterans in Franchising

Beth Solomon, vice president of strategic initiatives and industry relations at the International Franchise Association, will lead a panel to help you discover what opportunities and financial incentives are available to veterans. Room S404D

Special Highlight

Former President
Bill Clinton’s
Keynote Address

Next: Monday, May 7th


Monday | May 7, 2012

10–11:30 a.m.

Franchise Operator Presidents’ Panel

This panel of premier franchise CEOs, including Jimmy John Liautaud, CEO and founder of Jimmy John’s, and Craig Culver, CEO of Culver Franchising System, is a must-attend session for anyone interested in franchising. Room S404D

The Health Care Law: What’s On the Horizon?

No matter what happens with this year’s presidential elections or expected Supreme Court ruling, many restaurateurs are making changes now in the event the 2010 health care law is upheld. Moderator Michelle Neblett, director of Labor & Workforce Policy at the NRA, and Annette King, senior director of benefits for OSi Restaurant Partners LLC, will teach operators about the steps they should take to prepare for possible implementation of the law. Room S403B

Noon–1:30 p.m.

Special Highlight

Yum! Brands CEO David Novak’s Keynote Address

Read more about Novak’s vision for Yum Brands and the state of quick service on Page 68.

Food Safety Modernization Act Update

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) impacts your business. This session, moderated by Christopher Melchert, senior manager of food safety and quality assurance for the National Restaurant Association, will provide the latest FSMA information you need to know. Room S403A

2–3:30 p.m.

Pros & Cons of Being a Restaurant Franchisee #2

If you missed their first session on Saturday, Julie Bennett-Lefkow, author of Franchise Times Guide to Selecting, Buying & Owning a Franchise, and Eric Stites, founder and CEO of The Franchise Business Review, will again explain how to pick a successful concept. Room S404D

Menu Labeling: Where do we stand?

The FDA drafted regulatory language requiring calorie labeling on menuboards and the availability of nutrition information in all national restaurant chains with more than 20 units. Dan Roehl, public affairs specialist at the National Restaurant Association, will provide an update on menu labeling and how these important changes impact you. Room S403B

Next: Tuesday, May 8th


Tuesday | May 8, 2012

10–11:30 a.m.

How to Access Capital for Growth

If you need money, you need to attend this panel presentation that will discuss all aspects of foodservice industry money and finance in today’s market. Room S404D

Building Cultural Intelligence

Knowing how to effectively interact and communicate across racial, ethnic, and cultural groups is a leadership requirement. Gerald Fernandez, president of the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance (mfha), and Roger Carole Rogers, president of R. C. Rogers & Associates, will deliver a highly interactive session that will present valuable insights on Asian, black, and Latino cultures to help you better engage multicultural employees and customers. Room S402A

Noon–1:30 p.m.

The C-Store Game Changer

Restaurant operators and C-Store managers are both working toward reducing labor in the home kitchen and enhancing foodservice offerings. As their foodservice operations expand, C-Store managers face increasing food and labor costs, product management challenges, and other financial pressures. Experts explore the future of foodservice offerings in C-Stores, as well as the importance of cost controls, inventory management, and value. Room S402B

Navigating the Wage/Hour Compliance Labyrinth

Hear from an expert on how to ensure your operation is compliant with the ever-changing laws around wages, overtime, tip-credit, meals, and other key HR areas. Even the best operators can always make sure to dot their I’s and cross their T’s in this critical area. Room S4 03A

Next: Where to Eat


Chicago’s Starting Line-Up

By Daniel P. Smith

Need to get away from the show for a bit? Why not check out what some of your limited-service peers are doing in the Windy City? These nine quick serves have helped define the rich tradition and culture that is the Chicago dining scene.

Gene & Jude’s Red Hot Stand // 2720 River Road in northwest suburban River Grove

Distance from McCormick Place: 16.9 miles

Gene & Jude’s has earned plenty of top honors, including being named best hot dog in the nation by foodie blog Serious Eats. The traditional Chicago hot dog stand features a Vienna Beef dog garnished with mustard, onions, relish, and sport peppers. In a twist, fresh-cut fries are placed on top of the dog before wrapping.

Just southeast of O’Hare Airport, Gene & Jude’s can easily be enjoyed before takeoff or after landing. Be warned, however: There are no tables and, in true Chicago hot dog spirit, no ketchup.

M Burger // 161 E. Huron St.

Distance from McCormick Place: 3.4 miles

In just two years, M Burger has created a rabid following in the Windy City for its simple menu highlighted by gourmet burgers and milkshakes.

Operating out of the kitchen of five-star restaurant Tru (both concepts are owned by Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, one of the Chicago area’s leading restaurant companies) the original M Burger serves its Midwestern beef burgers from a hole-in-the-wall location just off the famed Magnificent Mile. Three additional locations are scattered around the downtown area.

Al’s Beef // 1079 W. Taylor St.

Distance from McCormick Place: 3.0 miles

While a debate rages on for supremacy in the city’s heated Italian beef wars—many Chicagoans prefer the equally tasty sandwiches at Mr. Beef (666 N. Orleans St.)—Al’s Beef’s distinctive taste features ultra-thin, tender beef dipped in a secret-recipe gravy that delivers a late hint of cinnamon.

Al’s, however, wins extra points for its neighbors; across the street is another Chicago culinary institution, Mario’s Italian Lemonade, which shops savory cups of Italian ice.

Hot Doug’s // 3324 N. California Ave.

Distance from McCormick Place: 8.7 miles

Billed “The Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium,” Hot Doug’s embraces Chicago’s stockyard roots with an assortment of meaty favorites, including Polish sausage, Italian sausage, and bratwurst.

A rotating array of specials, meanwhile, bring diners inventive pairings, such as The Mountain Man, a combination of antelope, buffalo, elk, and venison; and The Teuben, a Swiss-cheese stuffed corned beef sausage topped with Russian dressing, sauerkraut, and Swiss.

A break from Chicago’s traditional hot dog stands, Hot Doug’s also serves up duck fat fries and even a vegetarian wiener.

Ricobene’s // 252 W. 26th St.

Distance from McCormick Place: 2.3 miles

While Ricobene’s serves an assortment of sandwiches, Chicago-style hot dogs, and pizza—including thin crust, pan, and Chicago’s famed deep dish—it’s the breaded steak sandwich that makes this South Side institution a Windy City favorite.

A signature menu item at Ricobene’s for nearly seven decades, the breaded steak sandwich is served on French bread and topped with red gravy. To spice it up further, many regulars add peppers, mozzarella cheese, or even hot giardiniera.

Jim’s Original // 1250 S. Union Ave.

Distance from McCormick Place: 2.6 miles

Overlooking the Dan Ryan expressway, Jim’s Original is far from glamorous. With no seating and its no-nonsense look, Jim’s appears unspectacular and unmemorable. But rest assured, this is the place for a savory Chicago-style Polish sausage, particularly late at night.

The 70-year-old eatery cooks its sausages on the flattop before blanketing the sausage with sweet grilled onions and slapping mustard across a standard hot dog bun. The $3.50 sandwich even comes with free fries, though fries are not the reason to visit.

Portillo’s // 100 W. Ontario St.

Distance from McCormick Place: 3.9 miles

A celebrated Chicago-area chain, Portillo’s claims more than 30 locations in the metro, including a flagship downtown store.

Portillo’s features a menu heavy with Chicago favorites, including hot dogs and Italian beef, as well as hamburgers and salads. Two must-haves: Portillo’s decadent chocolate cake and gravy bread, a sub-$1 item not listed on the menu. In the latter, Portillo’s dips its baked French bread in flavorful beef gravy and tops the bread with sweet or hot peppers.

Conte di Savoia // 1438 W. Taylor St.

Distance from McCormick Place: 3.5 miles

An authentic Italian deli and grocery store located in the Little Italy neighborhood, Conte di Savoia dazzles with its fresh-made sandwiches and salads.

On a 6-inch or 8-inch sub, guests can pair any of 20 meat selections alongside the deli’s standard sandwich staples: lettuce, tomato, provolone cheese, mayo, mustard, oil, and vinegar. Other house specialties include pasta salad, artichoke salad, an antipasto plate, and tasty tiramisu.

Tortas Frontera // O’Hare International Airport

Distance from McCormick Place: 21.8 miles

Renowned chef Rick Bayless gives diners authentic south-of-the-border tastes at Tortas Frontera, which has two units at O’Hare Airport: Terminal 1 near gate B11 and Terminal 3 near gate K4. With ingredients sourced from local farms, and with Bayless’ culinary inventiveness, the menu features hand-made tortas and molletes alongside a guacamole bar and Margaritas.

Of Bayless’ airport-based quick serve, the Chicago Tribune opined: “Finally, a reason to get delayed at O’Hare!”

Next: Kitchen Innovations Award Winners!


Kitchen Innovations Award Winners!

An independent panel of expert judges comprised of internationally recognized food facilities consultants, multiunit executives, and design experts selected KI Award recipients for significant innovations that improve quality, productivity, service, and sustainability. See the equipment in action at Booth 2440!

Combitherm Automatic Grease Collection System

Alto-Shaam Inc.

This new system is electronically activated during cooking to separate grease from water.

Optimax Compact – Automatic Batter-Breading Machine

Bettcher Industries Inc.

The compact Optimax batters and breads fresh food items individually and is ideal for locally sourced meats, seafood, and produce.

SinAqua Waterless Food Holding System

CookTek Induction Systems LLC

SinAqua induction warming replaces steam or dry holding with consistent temperature control through infrared radiant heat and LED lighting.

ActiveView HDI – Health Department Intelligence

Ecolab Inc.

ActiveView HDI gathers data directly from the local health department inspections, standardizes against U.S. Food Code, and delivers online customized reports and alerts.

STEALTH Fly Station

Ecolab Inc.

This wall-hang works effectively during daylight hours to attract and eliminate flies.

Ice Machine Sanitizing Device

Franke Foodservice Systems Inc.

This attaches to ice machines and prevents bacteria build-up, reducing costly maintenance.

Fresh Cooking Oil Box System

Frontline International

Frontline racks orient fresh oil boxes upside-down, connected to a pump station, and fills fryers either automatically or by dispensing wand.

Large Vat Fryers (1814 G/E )


Frymaster’s new large vat design maintains high production capability while using 15 percent less oil and reducing energy consumption.

Garland Induction Griddle

Garland Commercial Ranges

A patented six-point real-time temperature sensing and unique power management system enables this griddle to achieve almost-instantaneous recovery and even heat.

OmniFlex Dispense-and-Vac system

Kaivac Inc.

OmniFlex dispenses fresh cleaning solution to the kitchen floor and then thoroughly removes all liquids, soils, and contaminants with its wet/dry vacuum and brush head.

Bolt On Kitchens

Kitchens to Go by Carlin Manufacturing

Unlike temporary solutions, the KTG Bolt On is a customized pre-constructed, code-compliant kitchen that’s permanently affixed to a building.

Lang GHP Series Featuring “On Demand Burners”

Lang Mfg.

This first gas-fired countertop range with on-demand burners features a lever-actuated gas valve that will go from idle to full when the pot or pan rests on the grate surface.

Planar Plume Technology

Merrychef USA

This new technology creates even sheets of air in rapid cook ovens which delivers quicker heat transfer, less microwave destruction, and increased energy efficiency.

Silent Alert

Power Soak Systems Inc.

This alert system lights a floor or ceiling with color-coded light patterns. The system is language-neutral and effectively gets the attention of the staff to deliver important messages.



The patented HiDensityControl senses where energy is needed and controls fan direction and speed to achieve high and even energy density.

Vision Enabled Training

Sealed Air

Small Web cameras and special software help restaurants observe exceptions to required practices like hand hygiene.

The BioPro EX

Springboard Biodiesel LLC

This appliance converts used cooking oil into cleaner-burning, premium-grade biodiesel fuel.

Automatic Mix’n Machine


The new Automatic Mix’n Machine is a hands-free, fully programmable mixer that incorporates candies, syrups, cookies, and hard-to-mix ingredients into soft serve ice cream or yogurt.

VTEC – Infrared Charbroiler


More than 50 percent of the burner’s infrared energy is generated in longer wavelengths optimal for cooking, using less gas, and greatly reducing flare-ups.

HDW-2 Water Saving Heated Disher Well

Wells Manufacturing

The HDW-2 holds food-serving utensils at bacteria- and allergen-free temperatures while conserving up to 18 gallons of water per hour.

Spin Zester

ZipZester LLC

The patent-pending blade designs and tension mechanisms allow chefs to safely produce the highest quality zest in a matter of seconds.

Next: Healthier Kids Pavilion and Useful Information for McCormick Place


New Healthier Kids Pavilion Launches

Among the more than 1,500 exhibitors at this month’s Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show will be the launch of a new section showcasing healthy foods and beverages for kids’ menu programs.

The new Healthier Kids Fare pavilion will be open for the full show schedule in Chicago’s McCormick Place.

“Children’s nutrition is one of the strongest trends we’re seeing in the restaurant industry right now,” says Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association.

Healthier Kids Fare will feature food and beverage manufacturers showcasing nutritious items for kids, including products with limited fats, sugars, and sodium, and items that provide essential nutrients.

In addition, the National Restaurant Association’s Kids LiveWell program will be featured in Booth No. 6300 at the concourse entrance to the North Hall on the exhibit floor.

Restaurants that participate in the voluntary Kids LiveWell program commit to offering healthy meal items for children, with a focus on fruit and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy, and limiting unhealthy fats, sugars, and sodium.

This month’s Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show attracts more than 58,000 attendees and visitors from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.

Useful Information While At McCormick Place:

Internet: McCormick Place offers Internet and networking services to event organizers and their exhibitors. WiFi is complimentary throughout the complex including its exhibit halls, meeting rooms, and public spaces.

Information Desk: The main desk is in the South Building, Level 1. Desks in other buildings operate on event activity.

FedEx Office Business Center: The main FedEx Office on Grand Concourse, Level 2.5 is open on weekdays.

Flight Information Displays: Real-time flight information for O’Hare and Midway Airports. Located in the South Building, Level 1, Gate 4.

Relaxation Stations: Offering upper-body massage, sessions run 10 – 30 minutes. Permanent stations are located on the Grand Concourse, Level 2.5 and in Lakeside Center, Level 2.

ATM Machines: Cash machines are available in each building.

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