We spoke with officials at the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers about what attendees can expect from this year’s event.
What is the purpose of the NAFEM Show?
The NAFEM Show features foodservice equipment and supplies from 500-plus manufacturers. At the show, attendees will experience a wide range of foodservice equipment and supplies for food prep, cooking, storage, and table service. Attendees will see new products with a focus on innovation. And attendees will engage with a vibrant community of foodservice professionals.
Wednesday, February 18
6–8 p.m. • Kick-Off Party
Thursday, February 19
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. • Show Floor Open
Friday, February 20
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. • Show Floor Open
Saturday, February 21
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. • Show Floor Open
7–11 p.m. • After-Show Party
How would you recommend first-time visitors experience the show?
First-time attendees should prepare in advance to maximize their time at the show. They can explore exhibitors before arriving. NAFEM will launch a series of videos in early January that will help attendees prepare for the show in advance and navigate the show when they arrive in Anaheim. These videos will be excellent resources for first-time attendees. The NAFEM Show mobile app also will launch in January. The mobile app will allow attendees to request appointments with exhibitors and to plan their experience in advance.
First-time attendees and returning attendees are encouraged to follow The NAFEM Show on social media for the latest updates on the show:
What’s new at the show this year?
The “What’s Hot! What’s Cool!” trend galleries take a new approach to sharing innovation with attendees. They showcase the hottest, coolest, and freshest innovations in foodservice equipment and supplies today. Four galleries are
spread across The NAFEM Show floor, each highlighting a different industry trend impacting operators.
Aside from the exhibits, what are some can’t-miss opportunities for attendees this year?
The NAFEM Show offers two can’t-miss networking events. Tickets can be purchased while registering.
• Kick-Off Party: February 18, 2015 • 6 – 8 p.m.
The Kick-Off Party is a casual, outdoor reception providing the opportunity to network with fellow attendees. All show participants are invited to attend.
• After-Show Party: February 21, 2015 • 7 – 11 p.m.
The After-Show Party features a dinner reception and live concert with three-time Grammy winners and multi-platinum artists Zac Brown Band. The closing party is available to all show participants. Purchase tickets when registering for the show.
What are some trends in equipment that you expect to see most represented this year?
Trends that will be showcased in the four “What’s Hot! What’s Cool!” trend galleries are:
• Community Responsibility: We all share the responsibility to care for the earth and consider the long-term impact of our actions. Commercial foodservice equipment and supplies hold great potential to achieve these goals. Consider the way foodservice operations are designed, built, and operated. This includes imagining kitchens that support optimal preparation of fresh, local, farm-to-table, or even “cook-to-table” foods, and selecting energy- and water-efficient equipment and environmentally friendly materials.
• Health & Wellness: While there will always be room for indulgence and special occasion foods, the foodservice industry is increasingly responsible for providing healthy, everyday food choices to a substantial segment of the population. This includes options to address dietary requests or food allergies; promote health and wellness, portion control, calorie quality, whole grains, and plant proteins including nuts and legumes; and healthy oils.
• Global Flavors & Craft Preparation: Customers’ understanding and appreciation for culturally and ethnically based cuisines are more sophisticated and adventurous than ever before. At the same time, there’s a growing opportunity for operators to infuse professional expertise or add value through artisanal skills that celebrate the craft of fine food. This challenges operators to demonstrate knowledge and authority of preparation methods, processes, and service of globally relevant flavors and hand-crafted dishes. Increasingly, operators will rely on these authentic cooking methods, unique tools, serving vessels, tabletop décor, ingenuity, and even open kitchen display cooking to offer menu items that celebrate global diversity and demonstrate craft preparation.
• Productivity, Efficiency, & Precision: As foodservice challenges increase, competition demands productivity, efficiency, and precision. This requires the operation, and the person executing the task, to explore and responsibly use financial, personal, and technological resources for optimal yield. Operators need equipment and supplies that automate or simplify processes, reduce overhead, perform multiple functions, or serve satisfying menu items with consistency, flexibility, and speed.
Looking to kill some time in Anaheim? Or need to get away for a bite? The area around the Anaheim Convention Center has plenty to offer, with several attractions that can either bookend your stay for the Show or offer a brief respite from the hundreds of exhibits. Here are our tips for things to do and see while you’re in town for the NAFEM Show.
GO BOWLING: A short walk from the Convention Center, the Anaheim GardenWalk features several restaurants, shops, and entertainment opportunities. One such entertainment option is Bowlmor Lanes Anaheim, an upscale bowling alley with a full food menu, as well as beer, wine, and cocktails. While you’re shooting the lanes, help yourself to a starter like the Avocado Hummus or Sloppy Joe Rolls, or brave the Death By Bacon or Behemoth Burgers. Because really, when was the last time you went bowling?
GO DINING: You’re in the foodservice industry, after all. Check out some of the restaurants near the Convention Center to get a feel for what trends are making their mark on the scene. Here are our five picks:
• Fire + Ice Grill + Bar: Located in the Anaheim GardenWalk, Fire + Ice is a casual, Mongolian-style buffet that lets customers choose from a selection of veggies, meats, seafood, and salads to build their own dishes, which are cooked on a large circular grill.
• Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine: James Beard Award–winning chef Roy Yamaguchi opened the first Roy’s in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1988, and has since grown the Pacific Rim–cuisine concept to 28 locations in the U.S., Guam, and Japan. You can find the Anaheim location in the GardenWalk.
• Catal Restaurant and Uva Bar: This Downtown Disney District restaurant offers both casual and upscale dining experiences. Don’t miss Catal’s Mediterranean-inspired menu, which includes entrées like Suckling Pig and Chicken Paella.
• Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar: Inspired by Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise, Trader Sam’s sits next to the Disneyland Hotel pool and serves island-themed cocktails with a live acoustic soundtrack.
• Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen: The renowned New Orleans restaurateur gives Downtown Disney a taste of the Big Easy inside a replica of the French Quarter. Along with traditional New Orleans eats like etouffee and bread pudding, Ralph Brennan’s also offers the quick-service Jazz Kitchen Express, as well as the jazz club Flambeaux’s.
GO TO DISNEYLAND: If the inner kid in you is inspired by the NAFEM Show, take that energy across the street from the Convention Center to the “Happiest Place on Earth”: Disneyland. Founded in 1955, Disneyland is the third-most visited theme park in the world, offering enough rides, attractions, shops, and restaurants to fill an entire itinerary (so be sure to plan around the Show). Not sure you’ll have time to make into the park? No worries; the nightly fireworks over Cinderella Castle can be seen from several of the hotels in the area.
Who says trade shows are all work and no play? NAFEM is closing the Show out with a bang, featuring a dinner reception and concert from the three-time Grammy award–winning Zac Brown Band.
The Zac Brown Band’s three platinum-selling albums—“Uncaged,” “You Get What You Give,” and “The Foundation”—have collectively sold more than six million copies and produced 10 No. 1 hits. The group performed for more than 1.3 million fans on the road in 2013, with 70-plus headline dates and more than a dozen major festival appearances.
Be sure to get your ticket ahead of time!