National Restaurant Association Show 2019 Preview: What to Expect at the 100th Show

/ Foodservice Tips, Restaurant Tips / May 10

2019 National Restaurant Association Show Preview-NRA Show PT Logo

The 2019 National Restaurant Association Show kicks off Saturday, May 18 at McCormick Place in Chicago. This year’s 100th anniversary show promises to have all the newest and best innovations in the foodservice industry. Whether it’s equipment and supplies or foods and beverages, there is something for everyone at this four-day event.

If you plan to browse all the exhibits from front to back, here are some cool things you can expect to see at the centennial NRA Show.

The Latest & Greatest Equipment

Commercial foodservice equipment is always changing from year to year. Even the slightest tweaks can improve the operation, efficiency and maintenance of a unit. From beverage machines and refrigerators to fryers and ranges, this year’s show is set to feature new equipment innovations designed to help streamline the way food and drinks are prepped, made and stored.

For instance, Henny Penny will showcase its new FlexFry and Space$aver Team Combi, which both were named one of the National Restaurant Association’s top kitchen innovations of 2019 (Booths: 1021, 1022 and 1023). FlexFry comes with the benefits of open and pressure frying in one battery footprint. The new Space$aver is a 22-inch, single-frame unit that combines with two-stacked combi ovens, which each operate independently from one another.

On the cold side of kitchen equipment, Manitowoc Ice will unveil its new Indigo NXT ice machine (Booth: 1324). The latest line uses a combination of efficient rotary compressors and environmentally friendly R410a refrigerant, which haven’t been used before for making ice in the U.S. The new Indigo NXT also produces roughly 50 pounds more ice daily and is 11 percent more efficient on average than models using R404a refrigerant.

In the world of juicers, Zumex will have a prototype of its Imperial Pro, which has a multi-level performance that juices 27 oranges per minute (Booth: 4375). If you’re looking for new coffee equipment, make sure to check out the Grindmaster-Cecilware PrecisionBrew Air-Heated Shuttle Brewer (Booths: 948 and 949). The machine’s shuttles are designed to maintain temperature and flavor, and the Java-tate™ technology stirs coffee at regular short intervals to keep the brew seamlessly blended.

Tons of Tech

Technology has really helped simplify the day-to-day operations of many establishments. The centennial show will have all sorts of improved systems that make life easier for restaurant owners and foodservice workers.

In recent years, POS and management systems have been prominently highlighted at the show. This year will be no different with many top providers like Clover, Toast Inc., Restaurant365 and Upserve scheduled to exhibit. In fact, Upserve will show users its newest Tableside Mobile POS and Workforce products (Booth: 6774). Tableside Mobile POS is a five-inch screen that allows wait staff to send orders and accept payments right from the palms of their hands. Workforce, a suite of labor-management tools, lets owners and managers track labor costs and simplify communication with staff.

NRA Poster - 2018 NRA Show Floor

Aside from POS systems, you’ll find other types of cool tech too. Everything from new ordering kiosks and delivery systems to touchscreen recipe manuals and automated temperature solutions will be on display. Different manufacturers who specialize in cash management equipment will be on hand as well. One of those manufacturers, APG Cash Drawer, will offer insights on BluePRO® Bluetooth Devices, NetPRO® Interfaces and other new machines (Booth: 6376).

A Food Frenzy

The food always makes the NRA show a treat for attendees. With it being the show’s 100th anniversary, this year definitely won’t disappoint. Get ready for all sorts of tasty samples from across the U.S., ranging from sweet and savory delights to unique sauces and condiments.

J&J Snack Foods is bringing its world-famous soft snacks to this year’s show (Booth: 5607). In addition to mainstays like soft pretzels and funnel cake, the new California Churros® will make their long-anticipated debut. These Spanish-style churros feature authentic loops and are available in chocolate, cinnamon sugar and other varieties. Looking for something gluten free? Bravadough is bringing pizza, vegan cookies and other goodies made from its gluten-free dough (Booth: 362).

If you want something a bit healthier, check out the Organic & Natural Pavilion. This section of the show floor features all the newest organic foods, drinks and ingredients. Some of the exhibitors this year include PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter, Think Jerky and JUST. JUST will hand out samples of its famous JUST egg, which is made from plants instead of chickens (Booth: 390).

Don’t Miss a Thing

The show runs from through Tuesday, May 21. Want the latest from the floor? Follow us on Instagram for updates and stories during the event. Also, check out our blog post after the show for a complete recap.


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