High-Impact, Positive Growth Energizes Industry at 2012 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show

The 93rd National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show and 5th annual International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event posted strong growth in both attendee and exhibitor numbers. This year’s event attracted 61,000+ registrants from all 50 states and 100+ countries–a 6+ percent increase over 2011. Among NRA Show registrants, there was an 8+ percent increase in the Restaurant/Foodservice category, 6+ percent increase in the Dealer/Distributor category, a 21+ percent increase in Retail, and 7+ percent increase in the Press category. The significant increase in attendance also fueled a gain in the number of hotel room nights sold–representing a 5 percent increase over 2011. The NRA Show was held at Chicago’s McCormick Place May 5-8, and IWSB was held in conjunction with the NRA Show on May 6-7.

On the exhibitor side, there was a 5 percent increase in square feet occupied over 2011, covering more than 540,000 square feet. The sold-out, newly redesigned exhibit floor showcased 1,900+ exhibiting companies offering a stream of exciting new products and services, including over 500 new exhibitors, as well as a wide variety of learning opportunities.

“NRA Show 2012 and IWSB were blockbuster events, each delivering a high-impact springboard to energize the restaurant and foodservice industry,” said Jack Crawford, Convention Chair for NRA Show 2012 and President and CEO of Ground Round Independent Owners Cooperative, LLC. “In only four days, attendees get a year’s worth of solutions and ideas. The event gathered more industry leaders than any other industry event, from celebrity chefs and restaurateurs, to the largest commercial feeders and lodging companies, to executives from some of the most successful independent restaurants and top-performing chains. Restaurant operators are returning home revitalized and optimistic and ready to put new products, ideas and contacts to work.”

The hugely successful International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event (IWSB) featured hundreds of world-class beverage alcohol brands and labels and attracted thousands of buyers. Held in conjunction with the NRA Show on Sunday and Monday, IWSB significantly increased its total number of exhibiting companies by 40+ percent over 2011.

Highlights from NRA Show 2012 and IWSB included:

  • Operator Innovations Awards: The inaugural Operator Innovations Award winners in each award category: Sustainability, Technology, Food Safety, Health & Nutrition and Menu Development, plus the Innovator of the Year, Evelyn Hill, Inc. (Liberty Island), were revealed live at the Destination: Celebration event at the Harris Theater Rooftop Terrace at Millennium Park.
  • Star of the Bar Mixology Competition: Patti Frank from Chicago’s Roots Handmade Pizza won the coveted IWSB Star of the Bar title and $5,000 cash prize. Her Drunken Flower was selected as the winning cocktail by judges “The Master Mixologist” Tony Abou-Ganim, “King Cocktail” Dale DeGroff, and Bravo TV’s Top Chef contestant Fabio Viviani.

For more information on these and the many other NRA Show and IWSB features, including downloaded photos, videos and the NRA Show blog Floored, visit www.restaurant.org/show and www.winespiritsbeer.org.

NRA Show 2013 will be held May 18-21 at Chicago’s McCormick Place, and the 2013 International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event held in conjunction with the NRA Show will take place May 19-20.

The annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show is the largest single gathering of restaurant, foodservice and lodging professionals. NRA Show 2013 will be held at May 18-21 at McCormick Place in Chicago. The event attracts 61,000+ attendees and visitors from all 50 states and 100+ countries, and showcases the latest products, services, innovative ideas, up-to-the-minute information about trends and issues and other growth opportunities than any other industry event. For more information, visit the Show website at www.restaurant.org/show, and find the NRA Show on Twitter @NRAShow, Facebook, YouTube and its widely read blog Floored!

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 5-8, 2012, 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 27-29, 2012, in Baltimore, Md.); as well as the Kids LiveWell program promoting healthful kids’ menu options. For more information, visit www.restaurant.org and find us on Twitter @WeRRestaurants, Facebook and YouTube.