National Restaurant Association, Technomic and Digital Coco Partner to Launch New Fast Casual Trends & Directions Conference

The National Restaurant Association, in partnership with Technomic and Digital Coco, today announced that it has created a new industry event focused on the fast casual industry segment. The National Restaurant Association Fast Casual Trends & Directions conference will be held Oct. 3, 2012, in Dallas.

The conference is designed to deliver a comprehensive look at where the fast casual segment is and where it is headed. The event will bring together key players in the fast casual community, including leaders from the National Restaurant Association’s Fast Casual Industry Council.

“We recognize that each industry segment has unique properties, opportunities and challenges, and our new event will address those perspectives specific to fast casual restaurants – a fast-growing segment of the $632 billion restaurant industry,” said James Balda, chief marketing and communications officer for the National Restaurant Association. “By combining research and operator insights in conference programming, we will present a 360-degree overview of both current conditions and future trends.”

“Fast casual professionals can’t miss at this event, where we’ll cover everything critical to them, including original research, fast casual strategies and actionable recommendations to keep this growing segment attractive and profitable in challenging times,” said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic. “This segment has been an industry bright spot for over a decade and deserves its own event!”

Drawing on an unmatched wealth of expertise in trend-watching, foodservice knowledge, data collection and customer insight, the teams at Technomic and Digital Coco have developed a compelling program for restaurateurs.

“Attendees will be privy to research not previously released—information that can provide a significant edge in the competitive restaurant marketplace,” said Paul Barron, founder of Digital Coco, a firm dedicated to assessing the social business movement in the restaurant business with the creation of the first consumer and social brand index.

This event will provide insights for fast casual executives, as well as casual dining, quickservice and family style restaurants executives who can learn from the success of what is one of the fastest growing segments in the industry. Attendance is limited to restaurant operators and sponsoring organizations.

Online registration is available. For more information, contact Lauren Fredericks at (312) 506-3862 email

Technomic provides clients with the facts, insights and consulting support they need to enhance their business strategies, decisions and results. Its services include numerous publications and digital products, as well as proprietary studies and ongoing research on all aspects of the food industry.

DigitalCoCo is the brainchild of web entrepreneur, publisher and producer Paul Barron. Paul has been instrumental in developing publishing platforms, creative content, tech solutions and web audience over the past 18 years. As the founder of and he has been a retail and restaurant industry catalyst and sought after speaker and consultant to many of the top brands in the business. DigitalCoCo is leading the social business movement in the restaurant business with the creation of the restaurant industry’s first consumer and social brand index. The Restaurant Social Media Index (RSMI) is expected to reach 5000 restaurant brands, 40 million consumers and more than 250,000 locations in 2012.

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 970,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of nearly 13 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf. We operate the industry’s largest trade show (NRA Show May 18-21, 2013, in Chicago); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF’s ProStart, including the National ProStart Invitational April 19-21, 2013, in Baltimore, Md.); as well as the Kids LiveWell program promoting healthful kids’ menu options. For more information, visit and find us on Twitter @WeRRestaurants, Facebook and YouTube.