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National Restaurant Show Follow Up

Yup, after more than 10 years I went to the National Restaurant Show in Chicago. For those of you who don’t know, it was from May 18th through the 24th. (Thank God you missed it if you didn’t go). I was there on Monday the 23rd. Got there early and left just after 4:00 pm, so I didn’t see everything. This is a National Restaurant Show Follow Up. What I did see wasn’t that interesting. Not like back in the day. At least not in food. Most of the new, exciting booths had electronics in them. 

Where was everyone?

What surprised me was how many of the big food companies weren’t at the National Restaurant Show. McCain wasn’t there, which wasn’t that big of a surprise. They bought out Anchor Food Products around 2001 so they wouldn’t have to be at the National Restaurant Show. What did surprise me was how few of the food companies that were there didn’t have anything interesting to show off. I mean, we’ve all had a Coke, right? Although the new Coke machines are pretty cool. Step up, get some ice, then select which flavor you want. I could get drunk on that.

123 Foodies Super Dairy BlendsSlivers Of Hope

There were a few slivers of ingenuity, however, but most of those were probably overlooked. One in particular was 123 Foodies Super Dairy Blends. It’s basically a liquid ice cream base that is shelf stable. It stood out amongst the otherwise drab offerings. As an example, one of the only appetizer companies of any significance was Fred’s 9if you can call them significant ,and they have some serious branding issues. I nearly walked right past their booth and didn’t even notice it was Fred’s. That’s because it was hidden under the Ajinomoto Foods brand. That being said, their booth was nearly empty of anything exciting, or people wanting to take a better look.

Back in the Day

When we represented Anchor Food Products before they sold the business, we would have everyone on edge with loads of new ideas. We even brought two semi trailers into the show one year and had a beach party with sand all over the show floor. The workers at the National Restaurant Show were not happy with us, but our followers thought it was spectacular.

Advice from an Expert

Right now, the National Restaurant Show in Chicago is something you could do once per decade and not really miss anything. A little like watching Grey’s Anatomy. It sort of drones in the background. Something you watch just before a good nap, or when you’re scrolling through social media.

Find Mark here for advice on Brand Marketing, Restaurant Marketing & anything related to foodservice.