We’re getting pretty excited for this year’s National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago. The speaker lineup is loaded. There are so many restaurant biz experts, celebrity chefs, sommeliers and mixologists showing off their skills, it’s tough to choose just what to attend. Attendees can also catch quite a few presentations speaking to the latest trends in the industry.

Here are a few we’re planning to squeeze in.

Balancing Convenience and Experience in Restaurant Design

Location: Kitchen Innovations Showroom: South Hall – Booth 2440

Date: Monday, May 20 11:00 AM

Duration: 30 minutes

As huge supporters of brick-and-mortar businesses, we know how important an in-store experience is. Design is a big part of that. Steve Starr of Starr Design is an accomplished leader in restaurant and retail design. This session will explore how restaurants, through intelligent design and thoughtful application of equipment, can be both convenient and provide meaningful experiences to a variety of consumer occasions.

Culinary Demo with Rick Bayless

Location: World Culinary Showcase: Lakeside Center – Booth 10357

Date: Saturday, May 18 10:30 AM

Duration: 1 hour

This is sure to be one of the more well-attended events of the show. Chef Rick Bayless is an award-winning restaurateur and cookbook author who is well known for his Mexican-American cuisine. He’s having a book signing later, which fans should not miss, but if you’re more about the food, you will want to see him cook!

Nutrition and Sustainability: The Best of Both Worlds on Your Menu

Location: Learning Center: North Hall – Booth 7400

Date: Saturday, May 18 10:00 AM

Duration: 30 minutes

Speaker Jeff Clark manages the National Restaurant Association’s environmental education efforts. Nutrition and sustainability might not sound like hot topics, but they are enormously important to millennial and Generation Z customers. However, you can’t just serve boring healthy food. This short talk will help you to start incorporating nutrition and sustainability initiatives in your restaurant brand.

Digital Media Slam

Location: World Culinary Showcase: Lakeside Center – Booth 10357

Date: Saturday, May 18 1:30 PM

Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes

This presentation features rapid fire presentations from brands killing it on social media. Lynn Blashford, VP of marketing, has been with White Castle for over eight years. She’s joined by Donna Josephson, the Chief Marketing Officer for Corner Bakery Cafe. Both brands have strong social presences, especially White Castle (they are often hilarious on Twitter).

Culinary Demo with Andrew Zimmern

Location: World Culinary Showcase: Lakeside Center – Booth 10357

Date: Sunday, May 19 1:30 PM

Duration: 1 hour

Andrew Zimmern is a culinary expert, chef, restaurateur and TV host. His show Bizarre Foods is a favorite around our office. He’ll be demonstrating how to make asopao with chicken and shrimp, a dish inspired by his recent travels in the Caribbean. He’ll also be focusing on knife skills.

Owning It: How Women Step into Leadership and Ownership in Culinary and Hospitality

Location: World Culinary Showcase: Lakeside Center – Booth 10357

Date: Monday, May 20 1:30 PM

Duration: 1 hour

This panel showcases powerful women in the industry who have overcome adversity and have risen to the top of the culinary world. It’s hosted by the James Beard Foundation’s Katherine Miller and features: Esther Choi, owner of Mokbar; Asha Gomez, award-winning chef; and leading restaurateur Rohini Dey, PHD.

Protecting Your Most Valuable Data

Location: Innovation Theater: North Hall – Booth 5575

Date: Monday, May 20 4:00 PM

Duration: 45 minutes

We are very focused on data protection. That’s why we have taken steps to become General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliant. We are also developing tools to help merchants protect their customers’ data. This panel will address top-of-mind security issues within the data space today, as well as where things may be headed in the future. If this isn’t something you know much about, but you use digital marketing tools, it’s worth attending.

While there are tons of incredible speakers and presentations to choose from, these are our top choices if you’re short on time. And don’t forget to come see us at booth #5759 to learn how Zenreach is changing the way restaurants do marketing!


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