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NRA Show 2016 to shake things up with crowdsourced session, a new kind of keynote

Take a look ahead to the NRA Show 2016, from education sessions on menu trends and boosting profits, to keynotes with executives from Uber and Red Robin.

3 min read

Restaurant and Foodservice

Anne Burrell at the 2015 World Culinary
Showcase (Image: National Restaurant Association)

The 2016 National Restaurant Association Restaurant Hotel-Motel Show and BAR 16 event will begin next Saturday, May 21 in Chicago. The conference will once again occupy the city’s McCormick Place for four days filled with education sessions, cooking demonstrations and more than 42,000 attendees walking the show floor.

Over the course of the show, sessions will cover a range of topics, from nutrition and sustainability to franchising and workforce engagement. This year’s show kicks off at 10 a.m. with education sessions including “MenuTrends & The Changing Consumer” and “Cash In On Catering: The Secret To Boosting Profits.” Saturday morning will also mark the start of the National Restaurant Association’s Fast Casual Industry Council Meeting — a one-day educational and networking event held within the NRA Show.

This year’s Show will introduce an updated format for the traditional keynote presentation. NRA President and CEO Dawn Sweeney will lead an open discussion with three industry executives during “Signature ’16: Turn the Tables.” Sweeney will talk with Uber Everything’s Jason Droege, Red Robin President Denny Marie Post and The Kitchen’s Kimbal Musk on Sunday, May 22 at 2 p.m.

Another first this year will be the Show’s first crowdsourced event. NRA Chief Innovation and Member Advancement Officer Phil Kafarakis will moderate the Reality Gets Real session with Chef Robert Irvine of Restaurant: Impossible and Jon Taffer of Bar Rescue.

The popular beer, wine and spirits portion of the Show will kick off on May 22. BAR 16 will offer mixology demonstrations, menu-pairing stations and the final round of the Star of the Bar competition. Billy Dec, CEO and founder of Rockit Ranch Productions, will deliver a keynote address May 22 focused on using bar programs to elevate the customer experience while boosting profits.

Other big names generating buzz around this year’s Show include Rick Bayless, Ming Tsai, Rocco DiSpirito and Anne Burrell, who will join the lineup of celebrated chefs in the World Culinary Showcase.

Other don’t-miss features include the return of Startup Alley, with 14 exhibiting startups chosen by a selection committee of restaurant operators and the Bellavita Italian Pavilion. The co-located event is the largest Italian Food & Wine Expo outside of Italy and will make its US debut at the NRA Show.
Are you attending the show this year? What sessions, booths and bites are you most looking forward to? Tell us about it in the comments and make sure to check SmartBlog on Food and Beverage and subscribe to NRA Restaurant SmartBrief for more NRA Show coverage during and after the conference!


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