How to Get the Most Out of Your Visit to NRA 2017
The National Restaurant Association Show is the largest restaurant industry tradeshow in the country. Every year, the NRA Show boost over 45,000 attendees and more than 1,800 exhibitors between four days. There is a wealth of information on emerging trends, technology, and other topics revolving around the restaurant industry. The sights, smells, and tastes can overload your senses so to get the most from attending NRA, you must have a clear strategy in mind.
To make it worth your while, have a battle plan.
Thirty hours over four days. The days at NRA are long and the lines can be even longer. You might not get the chance to taste every sample or catch the hottest sessions. Start by visiting the NRA website and check out the list of exhibitors that you may want to talk to. Set clear goals and objectives – why are you attending NRA this year? Do you need new technology, new equipment or want to stay in the know in the industry? Then make two lists, a “must see” and “want to see.” Map out where each booth is located, prioritize your route, and take this list with you.
Reach out to the companies on your “must see” list and start setting up meetings in advance. This will ensure that you will get to meet with these vendors and set aside time to ask your questions and build a relationship. Remember, when scheduling meetings you can request to meet outside of normal show hours. Attend some of the after-hour events or ask to meet for coffee or dinner.
Dress the Part
Be prepared to hit your 10,000 steps goal by noon each day – there is a lot of walking! While the idea of hitting your steps goal is exciting, all of the walking can become tiresome very quickly. You’ll need to wear comfy shoes – not the shoes you just bought that’ll end up giving you blisters. Wear your tried and true “getting around” shoes. Since this is still an industry event, we suggest packing some dress shirt and slacks as well.
No need to make lunch plans when you’ll have the opportunity to fill up on free samples for 7 hours. You’ll find food and drinks from around the world and celebrity chefs serving up their favorite dishes. Give your body the energy it needs to check out every exhibit by snacking and drinking plenty of water. As an added bonus, you can get some great ideas from other minds in the industry.
Bring a Bag
It is unlikely that you will leave NRA empty handed – you’ll have free samples and collateral to lug around for hours so save yourself the trouble now and bring a bag with you. Make sure the bag is durable with comfortable handles and big enough to carry all of your belongings. Don’t be afraid to pass on literature pieces and samples that you are not interested in. You don’t need to fill up your bag with junk you’ll never use or read!
PRO-TIP: Stop by QSR Automations at Booth #6846 for a free bag!
Be active in your quest for information while going from booth to booth. Engage with the vendors – ask questions, tell them what you are looking for or let them know their product isn’t for you. Exhibitors are there to guide you and help you determine if their product is a great fit for you, and they aren’t interested in wasting their time nor yours. Always ask questions to get the information you need and never hesitate to speak your mind.
After each day, take the time to make notes and organize the materials you gathered. Place sticky notes on literature pieces with specific notes about the company, product, and who you spoke with to jog your memory after you’ve returned home. Be sure to follow up with the people you met by giving them a call or shooting them an email.
Having a clear plan of action will make sure that the time and money you spent at NRA 2017 was a worth-while investment. As you start to plan, think about your ROI and the types of booths you need to visit for it.
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About the Author
Chrisea Chosta is QSR’s Product Marketing Manager. Chrisea graduated from Western Kentucky University and works to launch new product initiatives and develops product resources. In her spare time, you can find her spending time with family, her chocolate and black labs, and aimlessly walking down every aisle of Target.