Hey there, food fanatics and industry innovators!
It’s time to serve up a fresh recap of the smorgasbord of ideas, flavors, and trends that the National Restaurant Association Show 2023 cooked up from May 20-23. This show is no small potatoes – it’s the industry event of the year that garners more buyers, suppliers, and manufacturers than any other. Get ready for a mouth-watering dive into the highlights!
Imagine stepping onto a show floor that’s larger than 11 football fields, buzzing with the energy of over 2,100 manufacturers and suppliers showcasing their creations. For those hunting the latest in the restaurant and hospitality sectors, this is the ultimate treasure trove. From food and beverage to equipment, technology, tableware, and sanitation, the exhibits spanned 900+ categories, ensuring a flavor for every palate.
A whopping 800 companies made their debut at the show this year, a hearty 61% increase from last year’s newcomers. Not to mention, over 1,300 exhibitors returned, affirming that this show is indeed the place to be.
And we were right in the middle of it all with NorthStar and our team showing how our products and services can change, impact, and progress the hospitality space.
Here are 4 key tech takeaways from this year’s show –
- Where has all the innovation gone? There was not as much innovation this year as in the past. It may be that we reached a level of maturity in our industry where people aren’t pushing as aggressively for change. When an industry matures, there is often a shift from disruptive, game-changing innovations to incremental improvements and optimizations. This doesn’t mean that innovation has ceased entirely, but rather that the focus may have shifted towards refining existing technologies and processes.
- Single-point solutions want into the ecosystem more than ever. These solutions focus on specific functionalities or tasks within the restaurant operations, offering specialized features and capabilities. While they offer specialized features and capabilities, managing multiple single-point solutions can pose challenges such as integration complexities, data synchronization, and ongoing maintenance and support requirements. Businesses may benefit from seeking partners that provide integrated solutions, consolidating multiple single points into a unified system.
- Did anyone see PAR Brink, Orcale, or OLO? Are the big guys checking out of trade shows? It’s worth noting that industry trends and the strategies of individual companies can evolve over time. The absence of prominent industry players like PAR Brink, Oracle, or OLO at trade shows might lead to speculation about their engagement in the market. Larger companies may modify their approach to marketing and business development based on shifting market dynamics, digital transformation, and changing customer preferences. Trade shows might still be relevant, but companies may explore alternative methods to showcase their products and engage with customers.
- Ai is starting to make a dent but not on its own. Everyone is starting to leverage this tech. While AI is starting to make an impact, it is not a standalone solution. Businesses across various sectors are leveraging AI to enhance processes, improve decision-making, and unlock new opportunities. The next 12 months are expected to witness further advancements and innovations as organizations explore the potential of AI-enabled solutions.
Now, let’s talk about the keynote session that had us on the edge of our seats. This year, the spotlight was on Danny Meyer, the renowned New York restaurateur, and Pinky Cole, the dynamic owner and CEO of Slutty Vegan. These two industry rockstars, moderated by the National Restaurant Association’s Michelle Corsmo, shared their unique entrepreneurial journeys, the highs, the lows, and everything in-between. The wisdom they imparted about overcoming challenges and seizing opportunities left us feeling inspired and raring to go!
The show also featured an insightful session with Technomic, titled, “Chart Your Course: Traversing What’s Next for the Restaurant Industry.” This crystal ball gazing into the future of our industry was invaluable, with experts sharing their take on labor, menu trends, innovation, and more.
And that, folks, is the show in a nutshell – or a to-go box, if you will! We left feeling like we’d had a satisfying, hearty meal of knowledge and inspiration. The National Restaurant Association Show 2023 successfully ignited our passion, fostered collaboration, and set the stage to propel the industry forward.
💙 – Your friends at CBS