NAFEM, FS/TEC open next week
** Image provided by NAFEM.
Pizzeria operators can catch the latest information and demonstrations on foodservice equipment and technology at the co-located North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers Show and International Foodservice Technology Exposition. The event runs Feb. 5-7 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.
With more than 600 exhibiting companies and 20,000 attendees expected at The NAFEM Show, Deirdre Flynn, executive vice president of NAFEM, expects the event to be yet another opportunity for foodservice operators and manufacturers to connect.
"Exhibitors are looking forward to the opportunity to showcase their products and spending time with their customers to find the right solutions for foodservice operators," Flynn said. "Attendees hopefully will find all they're looking for at The NAFEM Show — new products, new ideas, new solutions."
Exhibiting companies include stone hearth oven manufacturer Wood Stone Corp., oven maker Lincoln Foodservice Products, stainless steel foodservice equipment manufacturer Aero Manufacturing Co. and refrigeration manufacturer Manitowoc Co. Inc.
The new product gallery What's Hot! What's Cool! will debut at this year's NAFEM show, featuring more than 75 technology innovations available in the marketplace today, from food safety and labor-saving solutions to energy efficient offerings.
The show floor will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and the show's three educational sessions will cover the industry issues of sustainability, innovation in foodservice, and future food and beverage trends.
Sustainability is a growing hot topic among foodservice operators, as they seek to find ways to protect resources while operating a profitable restaurant. Pizza Fusion is one brand that touts its sustainability efforts in its marketing, and other operators are following suit.
A panel session featuring a slate of industry experts will follow each session. Panel experts include:
  • Gary Hirshberg, president and CEO, Stonyfield Farm, spotlight speaker on "What's Hot! Sustainability"
  • Michael Gordon, chief operating officer, Pizza Fusion, sustainability
  • Madison Mount, associate partner, IDEO, spotlight speaker "What's Cool! Innovative Thinking"
  • Jeff Cook, senior director equipment development, Burger King, innovative thinking
  • Harry Balzer, vice president, The NPD Group, spotlight speaker "What's Next! Future Trends"
  • Doug Martinides, Aramark, future trends
The educational sessions are from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. each day, with the panel discussions beginning immediately afterwards through 11:15 a.m.
In its second time co-locating with NAFEM, the FS/TEC expo will feature the latest information on cutting-edge technology solutions available to foodservice operators. This year's theme, "Keeping Cool When the Heat Is On" focuses on integration, communication and efficiency.
Exhibitors include MICROS Systems Inc., HyperActive Technologies, EMN8, Exit41, DT Research, NCR Corp. and Wand Corp.
Peter Leyden, technology and future trends expert and author of What's Next? and The Long Boom, will give the keynote presentation Feb. 6, from 10 a.m. - 11 a.m.
The expo also offers six educational sessions, on topics such as "Is Web 2.0 the Real Deal or Another Diversion," discussing the benefits of brands branching into social networking, and "What Top CIOs Know About Career Success."
Other educational seminars include: 
  • Cable Free & Clear: Wireless Networks in Restaurants
  • Making the Case For IT Investment in a Tough Economy
  • Handhelds: Their Exciting Potential Is within Your Grasp
  • High Tech Solutions for New, Tighter Nutrition Labeling Requirements
Additionally, FS/TEC will feature two panel discussions, including the Technology Executive Panel, with executives from the National Restaurant Association, Radiant Systems Inc., MICROS Systems and PAR among the experts, as well as the Awards Panel and Presentations, during which FS/TEC winners will share best practices and field questions from the audience.
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Ed Rothenberg, vice president of innovation and strategy for MICROS and a participant on the Technology Panel, said that now more than ever "technology can help with the challenges that restaurateurs are facing in this down economy. Specifically technology can help increase guest counts."
David Matthews, chief information officer, NRA, agrees. While many restaurateurs are cautious with their spending, NRA research shows that 45 percent of QSR operators say they will devote more resources to technology this year, he said.
"During these challenging economic times, it's more important than ever to streamline restaurant operations and every move you make matters," Matthews said. "Technology has become a more important part of restaurant operations and can facilitate everything from customer service to ordering and inventory, to staff scheduling and training. Investing in the right technology can increase productivity and help control operating costs.

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