For operators preparing to attend the upcoming National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, the convention staff has lined up a full slate of expert-led professional development opportunities.
Held May 22-25 at Chicago's McCormick Place, NRA Show 2010 will feature an impressive lineup of more than 65 education sessions focused on helping restaurant and foodservice operators succeed this year and beyond.
"Keeping up with the latest trends, success strategies and innovations is crucial to building profits and controlling costs in any restaurant," said Ira Cohn, convention chair for NRA Show 2010 and president of ARAMARK Business and Industry Group. "The NRA Show offers unparalleled opportunities to learn from recognized industry experts."
New this year, all sessions are now arranged by the NRA's industry imperatives and will address hot topics within the areas of jobs and careers, sustainability and social responsibility, profitability and entrepreneurship, and food and healthy living. Additionally, the Technology session track will focus on the latest foodservice technology solutions.
Greg Kirrish, vice president of convention marketing for the NRA, said the new alignment not only connects to the association's imperatives but also means sessions are more suited to operators' needs.
"Obviously, we try to provide the products, services and information in a context operators need to be able to improve their businesses," he said. "We're also really focusing on the issues that operators are telling us are important."
Here's a look at five of NRA Show 2010 education sessions:
Greener is Better! — Leading restaurateurs on the cutting-edge of green operations will cover tools and resources to choose a more sustainable future, including through the NRA Conserve's green recognition program. Industry expert speakers include: Chris Moyer, manager, NRA Conserve: Solutions for Sustainability; and Vaughan Lazar, president and founder, Pizza Fusion.
Expanding Your Brand into Nontraditional Locations — Led by location expert Marie Van Drisse, executive national account manager of F.C. Dadson, this panel of operators will discuss kiosk, airport, university, office building and other non-traditional "express" and "smaller-footprint" opportunities.
Winning Share of Heart – Strategies for Building a Cause Marketing Campaign — Restaurant operators and suppliers have discovered that giving back can be good for business and employee satisfaction. Learn from a power panel of restaurateurs about the ways to develop cause marketing campaigns that engage employees, suppliers and guests at a time when giving back is needed. Panelists include: Ray Blanchette, CEO, Ignite Restaurant Group (Joe's Crab Shack); Diana Hovey, SVP marketing, Corner Bakery; and Mindy Segal, owner, Hot Chocolate, Chicago. The session will be moderated by Paula Berezin, president and chief strategist, Social Capital Partnerships.
Menus 2010: Turn Trends into Money Makers — Newsmakers and noisemakers are shaking up bills of fare in every industry segment. Nancy Kruse, menu trends expert and president, The Kruse Co., will present a fast-paced review of flavor, freshness and other menu essentials that will help operators thrive in today's quickly changing environment.
Enhancing the Safety of Fresh Produce — Leaders of the Center for Produce Safety and the Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement will focus on recent scientist and regulator collaborations to help operators understand the latest fresh fruit and vegetable findings and apply the lessons to the produce supply chain.
Christa is editor of QSRweb.com and contributes to FastCasual.com and PizzaMarketplace.com. She has experience in the restaurant industry as well as 15 years as a journalist.