Editor's note: This is the fourth story in an eight-part series previewing the 2006 NRA Show.
At this year's National Restaurant Association Hotel, Motel Show, operators can learn from the industry's top resources. Held in Chicago May 20-23, the NRA Show always features multiple operator and expert panels and presentations. Among those that will interest operators:
The Evolution of Payment Cards: How to Make Sense of An Array of Prepaid Products in the Marketplace Saturday, May 20, 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Learn to navigate the complex choices and gain an understanding of how prepaid cards work as a cost-effective payment alternative and impact revenue and bottom line. Presented by Gregory Holmes, senior vice president, Enterprise Product Development for First Data.
Multicultural Customer Service Panel Sunday, May 21, 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Train your employees to better serve the particular needs of culturally diverse customers with tips from a panel of cultural content experts. Presented by the MultiCultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance.
Nutrition Trends Affecting Your Business: 2006 and Beyond Saturday, May 20, 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Find out the key trends catalyzing growth in the health and wellness, organic, functional food and beverage markets. Gain insight into how consumer health awareness will impact your business practices for the medium term (2006-2010). Presented by Matthew Tripodi of market researcher Euromonitor International.
How Your Distributor Can Help You Make More Money! Saturday, May 20, 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Learn about distributor programs that can improve profitability. Maximize the knowledge and experience of your DSR to incorporate new items, delivery options, staff training, promotional ideas and delivery options. Presented by Kay Taylor, director of Training for Progressive Group Alliance.
New Restaurant Technology: Lessons Learned Saturday, May 20, 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Leverage new technology to improve performance by better understanding the implementation process in a seminar appropriate for independent, regional and national chain operators. Presented by Dave Miller, founder of JTECH Communications, Inc., with a panel of three to four of the nation's top operators and one vendor participant.
Using the Media to Grow Your Business Saturday, May 20, 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Learn how to work with the media to generate press for your business or brand. Hear expert insights from key media perspectives: newspaper, freelance journalism, television and public relations. Moderated by Denise O'Neal, food writer for the Chicago Sun-Times and author. Panelists are Michael Austin, a James Beard Award finalist for feature writing and freelance writer whose food and wine stories have appeared in Esquire, GQ, and Chicago Tribune Magazine, David Manilow, creator and executive producer of "Check, Please!" and Susie Riskind Robbins, co-owner and CEO of RR Public Relations, Inc.
How to Prepare a Winning Restaurant Business Plan Saturday, May 20, 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Make your business plan a reality. This program will cover the elements required to create a plan that will increase your chance of success. Presented by Jim Laube and Joe Erickson, founder/president and vice president, respectively, of RestaurantOwner.com.
Grow Profits by Stabilizing Health Insurance Costs Sunday, May 21, 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Develop new ways to substantially contain insurance costs. Employers Committed to Control Health Insurance Costs (ECCHIC) is a team of professional, proactive cost-managers who have successfully stabilized rising health-insurance costs for employers of all types and sizes. Presented by Howard Danzig, president and founder of ECCHIC.
Going Like 50: Why Older Employees are a Valuable Workforce Asset Monday, May 22, 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Attract and retain experienced and reliable workers older than age 50. Learn how these employees can be more productive and cost-effective than those from other demographic categories. Presented by Deborah Russell, director of Workforce Issues for AARP.
10 Things You Need to Know to Improve the Effectiveness of Promotions and Limited-Time Offers (LTOs) Monday, May 22, 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm Learn how operators are collaborating with their supply chain partners to more effectively manage their promotions and limited-time offers. Hear how to improve visibility of proprietary products across the supply chain to reduce stock-outs, overstock and costly product repositioning. This panel discussion will feature operator insights from Dennis Clabby, vice president of Purchasing for the Independent Purchasing Cooperative for SUBWAY, and Mike Ochs, vice president, Supply Chain Services, at International Dairy Queen. Presented by Instill Corp. Presented by Instill Corp.
Increasing Profits Through Revenue Management Monday, May 22, 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Increase restaurant revenue by 2 percent to 5 percent. Learn the general principles of revenue management and hear tips on how to effectively use demand-based pricing and better manage arrivals and meal duration. Presented by Sheryl E. Kimes, interim dean at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.
Fresh Produce and Foodservice: Putting Taste and Profitability on the Menu Tuesday, May 23, 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Increase your return-on-investment by using more produce on the plate. Enhance your understanding of the fresh produce trends, which are vital to menu development and marketing strategies. Presented by Janet Erickson, executive vice president of Purchasing and QA for Del Taco, Inc., and Produce Marketing Association chairman, and Lorna Christie, PMA senior vice president.

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