Tuesday, May 19, 2009

NRA Show Recap

By Matthew Wall

Buzz around the NRA (National Restaurant Association) Show this year is mounting. In tracking hits on Twitter under 'NRA Show' we've counted over 650 Tweets in the last week. This speaks to the growing influence social media will continue to have on trade shows.

I love these shows and the people you encounter, the trends you witness. It is energizing to witness the way the industry comes alive. It is also important to note the way business is evolving in these economic times of strife.

My position with Findood.com has been allowing me the opportunity to connect with so many facets of the industry and literally connect with the heartbeat of the industry. I am continually enthralled at everything that is progressing and developing and I am surprised at how often undercurrents and trends in the industry will just jump to life and into the mainstream.

That said, below is our recap of the buzz, trends and news around the show. I've broken it into three categories (Social Media, Economy, Innovation/ Trends) for easy reference. Please comment below as well with thoughts and ideas, or things we may have missed.


Twitter and Blog Stats

As I stated earlier we have tracked over 650 Tweets on Twitter over the last week regarding the show. Also worth mentioning is the fact that over 3,500 blogs have been published about the show in the last week alone.

Social Media Marketing Presentation

Among the 65 presentations at the show, there was one that caught our eye, "Word of Mouth Marketing for Chains and Multi-Concept Operators." Although Findood could not be there, some others were. You can find a great review of what was covered done by ChicagoFoodies.com here.

Web 2010 and Social Media Ideas

I have personally found Robert Scoble to have some valuable insight on where we are heading with integration of social media in a companies web presence. He is starting a company called 'Building 43' which is for people who love the internet and the way technology is evolving. I am personally excited at the potential for him to give us great examples and insight into how mainstreet businesses will be able to generate business and customer loyalty through social media. He has written a great blog about the Web 2010 here.

He includes a great example of a yogurt shop right around the corner from the Facebook office called Fraiche, where tons of Facebook people go, and yet they have no social media presence to generate excitement among the people who frequent their shop the most. Give the blog a read, it is worthwhile.

Food Channel Blogs and Tweets Show

The FoodChannel.com has extensive coverage of the show on its website. It is actually an incredible amount of material and is done very well. Included below are links to several of their best pieces.

Top Ten Things Seen on Saturday
Top Ten Things Seen on Sunday
The Power of Viral Marketing (Blendtec)
Food Channel and NRA Show on Facebook


I was interested to see how the show would address the state of the economy and the impact on business. It was front and center during the Sunday Keynote session. Read about the session here.

Nations Restaurant News has also been covering this and you can see their article on the keynote here.

The move to online management and resources continued at the show. It seems that the newest technology out there has been online schedule management. One that caught our eye was Schedulefly.

Also take a read of this article by the Gourmet Retailer titled 'Coping with the Economy'.



Crocs was out showing their newest styles of work shoes, highlighting the ergonomic fit, comfort and slip resistance of the Crocslite material. They are also easy to clean. Find the article here.

Distilled Spirits:

One of the fasting growing trends (according to the NRA's What's Hot Survey) is definitely distilled spirits. More to come on this in some upcoming blogs as New York just formed a Distillers Guild this year. Findood has the privelege of being in close proximity to one of the hearts of this movement (Oregon now has over 20 Distilleries and Washington State will grow from 3 to 7 this year alone). The growth is quick and local distributors are beginning to carry West Coast Distilled products. Costco is also carrying (or will be soon) local distillers in Oregon and California which his sure to follow the path that wine has carved. Need Proof? Head down to the SE side of Portland next time you are there. 11 Distilleries within a 10 minute drive of eachother with bars like the Green Dragon exemplifying the value of offering local drinks to its customers.

What did we miss? Have comments on what we shared? Please comment below.

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