Archive | May, 2013

The Southwest Foodservice Expo: Why we are looking forward to going to Texas

28 May

Much more than a tradeshow, the Southwest Foodservice Expo is the largest foodservice event of its kind in the region. With local foodservice sales projected to reach $55 billion in 2013, this foodservice expo provides an excellent opportunity to network with the decision makers of the Southwest foodservice industry, as well as check out the latest and greatest in the market.

Held in the Dallas Convention Center on June 23th and 24th, the Southwest Foodservice Expo will host culinary showcases with the likes of chef Robert Irvine, host of Food Network’s Restaurant:Impossible and chef Tyler Stone. There will also be chef competitions, an Education Idea Center, and the opportunity to check out the most innovative products and services in the country.

One of the things that we find the most interesting about the Southwest Foodservice Expo is its Experts Forum. These one-on-one, or small group chats with some of the foodservice industry leading experts, will provide restauanteurs tips on how to make their restaurants more profitable.  Another interesting happening this year is the Northwest Wine Expo, co-located with the Expo, which will showcase a diversity of wines, trends and leading voices from the rapidly growing wine region.

And as every year, the event not to be missed during the Expo will be the Texas Restaurant Association’s President’s Gala. In the iconic celebration, the the who’s who of the Texas foodservice industry celebrates its yearly achievements and induct Texas restaurateurs into the Hall of Honor, the TRA’s most prestigious award.

For easy navigation of the Southwest Foodservice Expo, download their free app and for more details, visit their website.

National Restaurant Association Show 2013 Recap – Our Journey on Day 2

20 May

Author: Nicolas Watson

As we’ve been saying for months now, the NRA Show is one of our favorite foodservice industry events of the year. The NRA Show brings exhibitors from all over the country that come to showcase the latest and greatest in foodservice trends and innovation. Because the this show is so big, we literally feel like we are on a journey as we make our way around the exhibition floor, meeting new people and companies and saying hello to old friends and colleagues. Plus, we also had a quick run in with the Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel who was busy checking out all of the excitement that the #NRAShow has to offer! (Check out our picture in the gallery below.)

For those of you who didn’t get a chance to attend this year, we wanted to share a recap of our journey through the trade show floor on Day 2. We have some great pictures and a videos that will give you a sense of the magnitude of brillance that this show brings to Chicago. But first, here is a snapshot of me, Nicolas Watson, marketing manager at CHD Expert, with the team at Cookina, high-quality non-stick cooking tools.

Idaho Potatoes at the #NRAShow

Cookina Company #NRAShow

One of the most impressive demonstrations that we saw today was by Blendtec. They did a demo of their blender that blends at 20,000 RPMs and to illustrate it’s strength  they took a wood rake and fed it to the blender! Watch this. It’s really something that you haven’t seen before! But, please don’t try this at home!

Lastly, here are a few snap shots from some other booths that we stopped by through out the day. Oh, and did we mention how delicious the Sweet Gordita S’More Burrito was from Maria and Ricardos? Take a look at pictures from the floor of the trade show.

Just in Time for The 2013 National Restaurant Association Show, CHD Expert Launches New Menu Type Segmentation For Their Foodservice Data, Web-Based Query Tool, Easy2Find

8 May

Leading food service data and analytics company CHD Expert, releases a new menu type filter allowing for more granular segmentation of restaurants by specific menu type.

Author: Nicolas Watson

Just in time for the 2013 National Restaurant Association Show, Chicago-based foodservice database, and analytics firm, CHD Expert, expands their available menu filters allowing for foodservice businesses to more narrowly target unique restaurants with their sales efforts.

As American food culture grows in popularity, themed and diverse restaurants are now opening on a regular basis. Ten years ago, few would have ever imagined dining at a Japanese Moroccan fusion restaurant or a restaurant specializing in meatballs, but now diverse ethnic menus are all the rage. While a diverse restaurant scene has been a treat for Americans’ taste buds, this presents a challenge for foodservice industry professionals, who are constantly trying to identify and pin point these relentlessly growing menu segments.

CHD Expert’s web-based query tool, Easy2FIND, provides a solution for foodservice industry professionals who need to sell and market to the ever changing restaurant landscape, and this new set of filters allows for deeper insight into a wide-range of less common menu types.

With Easy2FIND, more granular filters are now available for many emerging Asian and African menu types, including but not limited to: Malaysian, Cambodian, Pakistani, Tunisian, Lebanese, Russian, and many more. This is in addition to the already available “standard” menu types like Chinese, Barbecue, Vegetarian, Kosher, etc. Furthermore, this new segmentation capability also allows for standard menu types to be further dissected. For example, the common ‘Italian’ segment can be filtered to identify ‘pizzerias’ within the Italian segment.

“The restaurant industry is extremely competitive and complex,” said Nicolas Watson, Marketing Manager at CHD Expert. “As consumer pallets continue to evolve, restaurateurs, chefs and entrepreneurs tenaciously push the envelope to introduce exotic, unique menus. And while consumers reap the benefits, this becomes incredibly challenging and cumbersome for someone who is selling a product like Asian Chili Oil. With these new Easy2FIND filters, foodservice manufacturers and distributors now have a much deeper level of insight on their target markets, making their sales and marketing process much more efficient. We have already received some excellent feedback from our beta testing, and are very excited to roll out this tool in time for the National Restaurant Association Show.”

To schedule a demo of the Easy2FIND tool, and see if you qualify for a seven day trial, please contact Brad Bloom.

NRA Show Tips from CHD Expert

2 May

The NRA Show 2013 – the largest and most important foodservice industry showcase is getting even closer – just over two weeks away now.

In our previous post, we discussed how technology has changed the conference experience for the attendee, exhibitor, entrepreneur or food enthusiast. This week, we canvassed some opinions from some of our top CHD Expert foodservice consultants, who are NRA Show veterans, and they provided some great advice about how to make the most of your four days at the center of the food industry’s universe.

How many NRA shows has CHD Expert attended?

CHD Expert visits about 15 food service shows and conferences every year across the US and Canada. We have been attending the NRA show since 2006 and this will be our 8th time at this event.

What was the most memorable NRA Show you have attended?

The show gets better every year and last year was our busiest yet! We had over 35 different in person meetings with prospective and current clients. There was also an excellent networking event hosted by P&G and Kelloggs at the House of Blues, where Huey Lewis and the News performed!

 Are there any exhibitors’ booths you would recommend checking out?

At previous shows Rational has done a fantastic job with a live demonstration of their products with live chefs, very fun to watch and sample. Also in years past Daymark also has had a “must-visit” booth. They have a fun staff and have had different types of competitions and games where attendees can win prizes. Food is plentiful at the NRAShow, as you would expect, and there are samples of every food you can imagine from everywhere in the world. So if all else fails, just follow your nose!  

What is the best advice for first time attendees in Chicago?

After visiting seven consecutive NRA shows we’ve had some great experiences and picked up some valuable tips to help the experience be as smooth, productive and tasty as possible!

  • Plan your time – the show is very large, bigger than you would imagine so make sure you leave enough time to get around to visit all the exhibitors and events or else you’ll be disappointed that you didn’t see it all.
  • Take a shuttle – Shuttles are one of the best ways to get around Chicago and only pick up at certain hotels so there are less stops than a regular service.  If you do take a cab to and from the show, try to leave before the majority of the attendees as the demand for taxis is similar to an airports – you could be waiting for over an hour!
  • Don’t Eat beforehand – Why would you want to eat before visiting the biggest food industry showcase in the world? There are more samples and demonstrations here than anywhere else and there is ample opportunity to fill up at various points during the day and evening. Like the best restaurants, buzz soon gets around about the tastiest samples at various booths so make sure you take advantage while you can.
  • Charge Up! – If you are bringing a laptop or smartphone to the convention then make sure it is fully charged overnight because it’s going to be a long day. Remember to bring your charger with you to take advantage of any spare outlets and top off whenever you can. Also remember to check out our tech-savvy NRAShow tips post from last week.
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