Industry Partners

5 Reasons Why Grocers Should Attend the National Restaurant Association Show

Get fresh ideas for building more-profitable retail foodservice programs, tackling labor challenges and more
National Restaurant Association Show
Photograph courtesy of National Restaurant Association

It may have “restaurant” in its name, but the National Restaurant Association Show isn’t just for those on the standalone-dining-establishment side of the foodservice spectrum. The Show, taking place May 2124 at McCormick Place in Chicago, offers opportunities for operators across the food industry—including traditional and emerging grocers—to connect with suppliers; check out the latest in culinary and health and wellness trends; get new ideas for addressing labor, technology and operational challenges; and more. Check out WGB’s top five reasons why the Show is a can’t-miss for grocers, and then don’t forget to register.

1. Help with Recruiting and Retention

The Show’s schedule is jam-packed with expert-led sessions aimed at providing forward-looking insights, perspectives and strategies on the industry’s hottest topics. On Monday, May 23, grocery operators will find two sessions focused on building a better workforce.

First up, attendees of “Accelerating Cultural Change in the Foodservice Industry” will hear from James Pogue, president and CEO of JP Enterprises; Chip Wade, president of Union Square Hospitality Group; and Kelli Valade, former CEO of Red Lobster, as they discuss the importance of an inclusive leadership and the value in accelerating change. Then, hear from Clinton Anderson, CEO of Fourth, a workforce management solutions provider, about best practices for attracting and retaining talent in 2022 during the session “3 Keys to Winning the Labor Battle.” 

2. Disruption Junction—What's Your Next Function?

Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit and founder of venture-capital firm Seven Seven Six, is this year’s Show keynote speaker. In a conversation on Saturday, May 21, with Starr Marcello, deputy dean of MBA programs at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Ohanian will discuss how many of the disruptions—including cryptocurrency and historic social and cultural shifts—are changing the future of business and how those will translate to the foodservice industry.

3. A Chance to Connect—In Person!

With more than 500 new exhibitors and 1,000 returning exhibitors set to fill the halls of Chicago’s McCormick Place, the Show floor will offer a chance for grocers to connect with suppliers that are addressing retailers’ evolving needs and priorities in technology, workforce management, sustainability and more. The Show’s TECH Pavilion, specifically, offers a one-stop-snapshot of the latest products, tools and processes that can help make businesses more modern, efficient and profitable.

4. Sustainable Strategies 

Sustainability has come into sharper focus for retailers of all sizes—and for good reason. For consumers sheltering at home during the pandemic, the amount of food and packaging waste they generated daily was on full display, and the experienced changed how they think about sustainability. (44% of shoppers, according to a recent survey from Blue Yonder, said their interest in shopping sustainably has increased since the start of the pandemic.) On May 24, FMI–The Food Industry Association’s Andy Harig will lead a session on what this means for food businesses, including how environmentally conscious packaging practices can help attract and retain customers and how sustainable packaging can impact the bottom line.

Andy Harig
Andy Harig

5. Can You Smell What Culinary Leaders Are Cooking?

The Show offers numerous opportunities to check out the latest in culinary trends that can help grocers meet consumers' evolving taste preferences and dietary demands and build more-relevant retail foodservice programs. The Show’s Product Showcase offers an up-close look at innovative, efficiency-focused products, while the Kitchen Innovation Showroom feature cutting-edge equipment designed to improve the back-of-house. There are also live demonstrations, during which some of the nation’s most-respected chefs will showcase the flavors and foods resonating with consumers today. 

The National Restaurant Association Show is owned and operated by Winsight LLC in equity partnership with the National Restaurant Association.

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