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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