There were hundreds of exhibitors at this year's well-attended International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York, but a few newcomers always stand out from the pack. Here is our roundup of the new and promising offerings:
Mobitable – It's the newest online solution operators never knew they needed. Restaurateurs who want to drive traffic on nights they know will be slow can log in to the program and advertise any amount of tables at whatever percent off they'd like. The information will be accessible to potential diners on the Web and also via a smartphone app. The service is set to debut in April; the first 50 to sign up will get a free trial period.
Natural nonalcoholic drinks – Many exhibitors fulfilled interest in this arena. Sea Breeze company emphasized the profitability of selling their filtered, flavored waters on tap as opposed to giving water away for free, or selling less-green plastic water bottles. Many newer artisan soda companies towed the "natural" line, positioning themselves as healthy and pure as water. Bruce Cost's new line of Ginger Ale sodas are made with 100 percent whole fresh ginger and pure cane sugar. Fever Tree, an import from the UK, pushed its line of premium, all-natural mixers, including bitter lemon, lower-calorie tonic water and Ginger Ale. We're seeing these drinks more in fast casual and even QSR segments.
Chefpak – Created for chefs, by chefs, this new "all in one" chef backback has slots for everything chefs need to get through their days, including a laptop slot, custom knife cases that fit easily in the "pak," cooking utensil space and more.
Sustain a cup – The first cup made with 100 percent recycled post consumer fibers debuted at the show. The price point is supposedly accessible to the average operator because the product is not made of fully compostable materials. Company spokesperson Dean Kalamaras said most operators and people don't end up composting the items anyway.
Vito – This frying oil-cleaning device supposedly reduces the cost of oil by up to 50 percent by extending its life. Vito filters oil in five minutes and stops automatically. It's dishwasher safe, too.