Tag Archives: trade show

The NAFEM Show 2017

That’s a Wrap – Our NAFEM Recap

Another NAFEM (North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers) is in the books! We had a great time walking the floor and learning more about new trends and designs that are making a splash in the world of foodservice. We got to catch up with some of our biggest vendors, as well as meet potential new ones, and discover innovations to better enable us to continue fulfilling our purpose – to equip people who feed the world.

Here’s what was hot at this year’s show.

Enhanced Technology

Technological innovations have redefined the ways nearly all industries conduct business. From the mainstream use of smart phones to advanced computer systems that save us all time and money. This is especially true in the world of foodservice. At the show we saw our share of internet-enabled remote and programmable equipment that assists in automating cooking processes while providing that individualized experience customers expect. Examples include the abundance of new coffee makers and espresso machines that can be programmed to make that trendy, high-end latte in a fraction of the time (and price) as traditional espresso machines.

There were also plenty of innovations in the beer and wine scene, like this “Growler to Go” machine that allows users to hit a button and fill their own growlers.


Putting the Customer First in Food Preparation

Manufacturers continue to go out of their way to deliver new solutions to better enhance the customer experience. This year’s big focus was on color-coding supplies to prevent cross-contamination, accommodating guests with dietary restrictions. This includes tools for allergy-friendly food preparation. Be on the lookout for more purple products, like storage containers and cutting boards, that signify the product is may contain a popular allergen, like peanuts.


San Jamar unveiled their new bandage dispenser with blue bandages that standout more in food dishes than traditional beige bandages, making them easier to spot and keeping sanitary food prep practices the main priority.

More Environmental and Budget Friendly Options

Another trend in recent years is putting an emphasis on social responsibility and being conscience of energy consumption. This year, every category offered new products that provide high performance without consuming the amount of energy they used to. Such products include holding and transport equipment that can retain heat longer without a utility hookup, and green servingware options.

Water-saving options were also plentiful.

As a distributor, trade shows like this provide an incredible opportunity to network and learn more about what we can be offering to better serve our customers. But the benefits don’t stop there. NAFEM is a great opportunity for anyone involved in the foodservice industry. Meet with like-minded industry professionals, share stories, learn from the best, showcase your products and discover innovations that could transform the way you do business. The next NAFEM will be hosted February 7 – 9, 2019 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. We hope to see you there!

National Restaurant Association Show Recap

One of the foodservice and hospitality industry’s largest events, the National Restaurant Association Show, recently wrapped up after a busy four days (May 5-8) at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill.

McCormick Place is the perfect venue for an event as large as the NRA Show, with 2.6 million square foot exhibit halls and ceilings up to 50 feet high.  The show uses every inch of space they reserve, with many booths tightly squeezed in together.  Then there are the thousands of people bumping into each other as they go from booth to booth to see the latest and greatest products and taste different foods and beverages.

This year the event took up two of McCormick Place’s massive halls and was comprised of around 1,856 exhibitors of the foodservice and hospitality industry.

Attendees and Exhibitors

What’s great about the NRA Show is anyone from a company can attend and get a meaningful experience as it provides several learning and networking opportunities–whether it’s a company’s buyer or member of a marketing department.  As you walk through the event and glance at different badges, you truly see the several different types of people that come to visit the show.

While attendees gain product knowledge and learn about other companies, exhibitors get a just as meaningful experience.

NRA said exhibitors are able to “connect with a massive group of high-level decision-makers and influencers from all across the foodservice and hospitality industry.”

As a bonus, NRA said after the show, those who attended plan to spend an average of $429,600 with exhibitors they connected with.

Schedule and Events

This year’s show had a jam packed schedule with the show floor being open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except only open until 3 p.m. on the last day) and various events, attractions, educational sessions and demonstrations.

The show also held the International Wine, Spirits and Beer Event on May 6-7.

On Sunday May 6, the show’s keynote speaker was President Bill Clinton, founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation.  According to a Chicago Sun-Times article, a large portion of his one-hour speech pertained to childhood obesity.  He also praised the NRA for their commitment to children’s health initiatives.  (Read the article for more information).

This year was the first year for the Inaugural Operator Innovations Awards, “a program for commercial and non-commercial operators who transform the industry with their extraordinary creativity and commitment.” Winners were announced at the Destination: Celebration event on May 5.  (Check out the nominees and the winners).

Social Media

As there are thousands in attendance or interested in the show, social media helps to keep everyone involved, whether they are attending or not.

Social media was heavily used and enabled everyone to stay connected via NRA’s Facebook, Twitter (also using #NRA2012), LinkedIn, YouTube and Flickr accounts.  People were also able to subscribe to the show press room’s RSS feed.

Those who weren’t able to attend or want to re-live certain events can benefit from all of NRA’s different social media platforms for videos, pictures and more.

Central’s Experience

Central has had a presence at the NRA Show since 1983, which is two years after we opened. Product Consultant Steve White has been attending the show on and off since 1988—and to the left is a photo of all his different badges from over the years.

It was Central Product Consultant Karin Romani’s first year attending the show and said it was a really great learning experience.

“I ate my way through the show,” she said, as everyone at the show does. “But I learned about the new NSF-2012 rules going into effect in November (that will affect slicer manufacturers for one thing).  And I got to see a few new models of fryers and ranges at the American Range booth—fryers with a built in filter that filters continually while frying.  (I also saw) a commercial range that has a pilot light like a residential range that turns off between uses rather than staying on continually like most commercial ones.”

Romani added she saw a new line of flash freezers that she had been looking into for a customer.

“It was really nice to be able to see so many things in one place,” she said.

That essentially is the best way to describe the show—everything in one space with tons of innovative products.

Next year’s event will be at McCormick Place again, from May 18-21.

If you attended the NRA Show, please let us know what you thought! What were some of the favorite products you saw or food items you tried?

Leaving Las Vegas: We’re back from the Pizza Expo!

26th Annual International Pizza Expo

Source: PizzaExpo.com

We’re back from another fabulous trip to the 26th Annual International Pizza Expo.  Just like last year, we had a great time meeting our wonderful customers in person!

If you couldn’t make it out to the show, Central’s Director of Sales, Don Hogan, put together a list of the highlights from the 2010 expo:

  • Larger crowd than in 2009
  • Lots of hands-on displays, including the Nemco Easy Chopper II and Easy Slicer shown at Central’s booth
  • New from HATCO:  Glo-Ray food warmers
  • New from DoughPro:  Panini grill that is large enough to cook sandwiches up to 4″ thick!
  • Hot trend in the pizza industry:  Gluten-free pizzas
  • Celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse provided cooking demonstrations

For more information about any of the products or trends mentioned, contact a Product Consultant for details.  You can also browse through a list of the top pizza supplies (and if you buy through 3/15/10, you’ll save 10%!).

Be sure to mark your calenders for the 27th Annual International Pizza Expo held March 1-3, 2011 in Las Vegas!  Stay tuned for more details from Central.

Central to exhibit in two upcoming trade shows

Come visit us in Booth #631 at the North American Pizza & Ice Cream Show (NAPICS) in Columbus, Ohio this February 22 and 23 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

We’ll have products on display as well as some great show specials and prize giveaways. We’re looking forward to this chance to meet and network with all you food-industry people out there.

NAPICS is a good show to go to if you’re in the area, and are an owner/operator of a small chain or independent pizzeria. It’s a more intimate event, with around 4000-5000 attendees and several hundred exhibitors.

And if you’re going to be in the Las Vegas area this March 10-12, I’m told the International Pizza Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center is one of the biggest pizza-industry trade show in the world. Stop by and talk to us in Booth #413 & #415.

I’m told there will be nearly 10,000 in attendance, with thousands of exhibitors from all over the work. Come hungry, and wear shoes that are made for walkin’. 😉