Chicago, a city already famous for its restaurants, will host representatives from many of the country’s top establishments at the 89th Annual National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show 2008 in May.
The show will be at McCormick Place on Chicago’s lakefront May 17-20, 2008. The show will attract an estimated 74,000 attendees to the city with approximately 2,150 exhibitors from the United States and 115 countries filling the show floors. Floor hours start each day at 9 a.m. for Exhibit Hall Level 1 and at 9:30 for Exhibit Hall Level 3.
Educational sessions will be taking place all four days of the show, starting at 10 a.m. on May 17. Topics at the sessions will cover a range of issues including energy efficiency, distribution, health and wellness, human resource management, marketing, new trends and much more.
Special events will also abound. The high points start at 8:30 a.m. on May 17 with the Restaurant Executive Breakfast. The meal is open to executives of chains and will have a panel discussion on how to manage pressures on profit margins. The 2008 Hennessy/Hill Awards Breakfast will be taking place at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers, a few blocks away, starting at 8 a.m. the same day. The 2008 Spirit Awards and FMP Recognition Breakfast will be on May 19 starting at 7:30 a.m.
The NRA Educational Foundation 20th Annual Salute to Excellence also takes place May 17, starting at 6 p.m., to honor industry leaders.
An ice-carving competition will be held throughout the show with attendees judging the frozen sculptures and awarding the winning artist a $2,500 prize. Chefs are invited to wear their chef coats May 20 for the show’s Chef Day. The all-day event will allow culinary professionals to network with other chefs, see new cooking techniques and find out about the latest trends in food, drinks, equipment, ingredients and food safety.
The show will also feature all the winners of the 2008 Kitchen Innovation Awards. The winning companies will be showcased at a special interactive demonstration area. The awards were judged by a panel of industry experts from companies such as Foodstrategy Inc., McDonald’s Corp., Disneyland Resorts and Aramark.
One big feature of this year’s show is “Ask the Design Experts.” This will allow attendees to get advice on kitchen and front-of-house design from the top design companies during free 30-minute consultations. Sessions can only be scheduled online through the NRA’s Web site.
The show will be arranged in pavilions to make it easy for people to locate the area on which they would like to focus. The pavilions will focus on segments such as technology, franchising, international cuisine, organic and natural foods and the culinary scene among others. Celebrity book signings will also return to the show with a bookstore open for attendees to buy the latest books on management, design and more.
The International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event, held during the NRA show from May 19-20 at McCormick Place, will give attendees a chance to wash down some good food and get the latest on trends, training and concerns for beverages.
For more information or to register, phone (312) 853-2525 or visit www.restaurant.org.