The coronavirus pandemic is taking a significant toll on the restaurant industry. Experts are forecasting that 1 out of every 3 restaurants faces permanent closure.
Even the National Restaurant Association Show in May is in jeopardy. Last year, the event did not occur due to the pandemic and now a second wave is ripping through the United States.
The National Restaurant Association Show is a great way to learn the latest trends. While the event may not occur in-person, the spirit of the show lives on in a digital environment.
Read on for a comprehensive guide to the restaurant show. Explore topics such as the show’s purpose, history, and furniture trends.
What Is the Purpose of the National Restaurant Association Show?
McCormick Place in Chicago is the location of the annual restaurant show. It is an industry showcase of the best restaurants, manufacturers, chefs, and more.
There is something for everyone to learn or achieve at the show. New restaurants and entrepreneurs can draw inspiration and solutions from the industry's best.
There are exhibits and presentations on specific challenges impacting the industry. You can learn more about the operational side of running a business.
This includes insights and workforce development strategies. Some attendees are there to explore the latest trends in the culinary arts. Others want tips and tricks on running a successful restaurant.
The backbone of the show is the exhibits. Here, exhibitors show off their prized products or processes.
Exhibitors also get to network with other businesses and entrepreneurs. There is the potential to form valuable business partnerships at the event.
The National Restaurant Association show schedule includes many other demonstrations. There are mixology demonstrations, celebrity chef appearances, and various workshops.
Which Exhibitors Attend the Restaurant Show?
There are dozens of premium exhibitors at the restaurant show. The most prominent companies include Amazon, Goya, and Hormel.
Yet, any company can request to be an exhibitor at the national restaurant show. The exhibitors provide complete coverage of the restaurant industry. Everything is on the agenda from product distributors, restaurant furniture, to food preparation.
For example, you may enjoy an exhibit showcasing popular restaurant furniture. Adding comfortable and hip furniture is always a priority for restaurant owners.
Here, you will be able to see the latest in bar stools, chairs, and logo tables. Regardless of your product need, you are likely to find a useful exhibit to check out.
How Big Is the Show?
The national restaurant show is not a small-town event. There is a reason why the show occurs in Chicago in a venue with 695,000 square feet.
Three years ago, more than 66,000 attendees registered to attend the show. This figure was a record-high for the show.
Attendees are likely to make a purchasing decision based on what they see. Roughly 86% of attendees are influencers, purchasing decisionmakers, or product specifiers.
Most impressive about the annual show is the growing international presence. In recent years, the show has started attracting exhibitors from beyond North America.
In 2017, the show landed participants from Iran, China, and the Philippines. The number of international pavilions increased by 55% from the prior year.
What Is the History of the National Restaurant Show?
The national restaurant show has been operating for over 100 years now. The National Restaurant Association is the host of the show. This restaurant organization began in 1919.
The first convention occurred in December 2019. It drew approximately 200 registrants from 14 different states and Canada.
While the show has been operating for over 100 years, not much has changed besides size and popularity. In 2019, the world was recovering from another global pandemic, the Spanish Flu.
Attendees described the event as invaluable in solving problems. One guest learned another method for making doughnuts. Another attendee discovered a more efficient system for tracking inventory.
Today’s attendees may learn the same exact thing a century later. The equipment and ingredients change, but the spirit behind the show never does.
What Happened to the 2020 Show?
The National Restaurant Association Show 2020 did not occur due to coronavirus. In May, the pandemic was raging across the United States.
Tens of thousands of positive cases happened every day. The show’s organizers had to cancel the show.
Unfortunately, a similar fate is likely for the 2021 show. Mass events like concerts and conferences are improbable. State governments are placing restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings. Packing 70,000 people into McCormick Place is not safe for the public.
Organizers and show participants were both devastated that the show did not occur. Many exhibitors spent significant investment dollars on their showcase.
Canceling the show means a lost opportunity for business partnerships and revenue growth. There was also widespread concern about a vacuum of new ideas.
The restaurant show would have been a great venue to discuss how to navigate the pandemic. It is likely that many companies have adapted to the new normal. These companies discovered successful products and processes for Covid-19.
The future of the show and restaurant industry is unclear. State and local governments are imposing new restrictions on indoor dining nationwide. Many restaurants are going out of business as they cannot produce pre-Covid revenue.
Yet, there is hope in the form of a Covid-19 vaccine. Several pharmaceutical companies have developed vaccines to combat the coronavirus.
Administration of the vaccine begins before the Christmas holiday. With widespread vaccination, there is hope that the country can return to normal.
A Recap of the National Restaurant Association Show
The national restaurant show is a critical event for the industry. It provides attendees with solutions, improvements, and products to operate a restaurant.
While this year’s event is not likely to occur, there is hope that it will return in the future. It is not lost on us that the show began immediately after the devastating Spanish Flu.
Another pandemic is now threatening the industry. Like the Spanish Flu, the restaurant industry will emerge stronger than before. If you are missing the National Restaurant Association Show and want to buy furniture, contact us today to speak with an associate.