Sunday was opening day for the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York, one of the largest trade shows in the industry. Despite enduring economic woes, pre-registration was up 20 percent, according to spokesperson Amy Riemer, and 15,000 foodservice trade professionals are expected to convene on the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center over the next three days.
Opening day events focused on beverage showcases, including the concurrent New York Wine Expo, which featured 640 wines from more than 160 winemakers from around the globe. The Ultimate Barista Challenge featured baristi competing to create the best latte art, brew and frappes. There also were educational demonstrations on milk texturing and how to make the perfect espresso. Other scheduled demonstrations include healthy menu item creations, author interviews, cocktail recipes and dessert program presentations. In excess of more than 40 workshops and demonstrations are planned over the next few days, many centered on pushing up profits and figuring out the 2010 customer.
Today's well-attended seminars included "The Food Service Consumer in 2010," presented by Technomic's Kathy Gaynor, which profiled the psychological and financial state of the average restaurant consumer, and offered slight implications and insights for operators. Consumer confidence is still down, she said, but restaurateurs will benefit from their pent-up demand to spend more in the dining sector over the next 12 to 18 months.
Many more seminars and keynotes are planned for the show's second day. The keynote will come from Dunkin' Brands executive chairman Jon Luther. He will share his expertise on how he led the transformation, revitalization and global expansion of the company's two iconic brands, Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins.