2024 National Restaurant Association Show® Draws 58,000 Foodservice Professionals with 6% Growth

Global Participation from 124 Countries and 9% Increase in Exhibit Space Highlight the Event’s Remarkable Success

Contact: Julie Franks; FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 23, 2024

CHICAGO (May 23, 2024)The 2024 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show® wrapped up Tuesday at Chicago's McCormick Place, reaffirming its status as the premier event for the foodservice industry. The Show attracted more than 58,000 foodservice professionals from across the United States and around the globe, representing 124 countries. The Show saw a 6% increase in total attendance—with 22% international growth—compared to last year, highlighting its growing influence and importance within the industry. With a 9% increase in exhibit space compared to 2023, the Show floor provided a comprehensive platform for industry professionals to connect and collaborate.

“The 2024 National Restaurant Association Show has once again proven to be the cornerstone event for foodservice professionals worldwide,” said Tom Cindric, President of Exhibitions for Informa Connect Foodservice. “This year’s Show not only showcased the latest innovations and trends but also provided an unmatched platform for networking, education, and inspiration. We are proud to lead the industry in bringing together such a diverse and dynamic group of professionals who are driving the future of foodservice.”


Show Floor
The Show floor buzzed with energy and excitement. Decision-makers from leading restaurants and foodservice operations converged to discover the latest products, technologies, and solutions. The Show boasted over 2,240 exhibitors, with 34% being first-time participants, reflecting a 6% overall growth from the 2024 event. The Show floor spanned over 723,400 square feet—over 12 football fields—offering attendees the opportunity to explore products and services across more than 900 categories. 

“This Show has completely elevated our business for wholesale and direct to restaurants and bars,” Aimée Sedky, co-founder and owner of Mockly and first-time exhibitor, shared her experience. “I could not recommend it more. It's just so rare that you get to meet so many decision-makers in one place. I feel like we got right to the people that matter and that's been really huge.” 

This year, several key trends stood out on the Show floor, reflecting the evolving consumer demands for seamless customer service, convenience, and memorable experiences. One major trend was the focus on flavor experiences, with restaurants embracing global flavors, playful plating, and health-conscious options to captivate consumers. Another prominent trend was the integration of technology to enhance convenience, including AI-driven solutions such as voice assistants that enhance customer service, kitchen equipment with built-in sensors that free up staff, as well as innovations in AI-generated plant-based food development. Sustainability continued to be a critical focus, with many exhibitors highlighting eco-friendly products and zero-waste initiatives that set new standards for food production. Additionally, the rise of snacking as a response to changing consumer lifestyles was evident, with a variety of convenient and indulgent snack options on display.

International Participation
International participation reached new heights at this year's Show, with attendees representing 124 countries, marking a 22% increase in international attendance compared to last year. Countries with the highest number of attendees included Brazil, Canada, China, Mexico, Taiwan, Colombia, the United Kingdom, Italy, Turkey, Japan, and Spain. The increased representation from African countries and significant participation from China, the United Kingdom, Honduras, and Cameroon underscored the Show's global appeal and relevance.

The Show floor itself featured a significant presence of 621 international exhibitors, showcasing a diverse range of products and innovations from 44 countries around the world. This global representation provided attendees with unique insights into international trends and opportunities for cross-border collaborations. The inclusion of international pavilions, such as the Bellavita Italian Pavilion, Iberica Spanish Pavilion, and the Global Food Expo, highlighted the richness and variety of the global foodservice industry, making the 2024 Show a truly international event with more global representation than ever before.

“It’s a million little things running a restaurant,” Michael Sito, owner of the Globe Bookstore and Café located in Czech Republic, said. “And these little things are changing every day so coming [to the Show] and meeting other restauranters as well as distributors and wholesalers, you get a broad array of what's happening in the industry. In three or four days, you can get caught up on six months of trends.”

“We are very proud of the fact that we represent Australia beef and lamb,” Tim Harrison, Senior Sales Executive of Paradigm Foods, stated. “We're finding a lot of attendees are interested [in our product] whether they're a chef or a distributor, so to be able to connect to a global representation of potential customers is really important.” 

Expo + Education
A new addition to the Show this year was the Expo + Education program, which provided enhanced educational opportunities for the 2,700 Expo + Education badge holders. This program included over 40 sessions led by industry operators, focusing on critical business strategies, game-changing food and beverage innovations, and practical solutions for contemporary challenges. The sessions covered various topics, including sustainability, technology integration, and customer experience enhancement, offering attendees valuable insights and actionable takeaways.

“I attended the Expo + Education sessions and they were fantastic,” Simone Galante, CEO of Galunion, remarked. “I received deep dive information on specific areas like off-premise, marketing, as well as better knowledge about the consumer.”

The enhanced education program elevated the overall Show experience, affording participants the opportunity to connect directly with operators who shared successful business practices and missteps to avoid, all to help grow and evolve business. This initiative underscored the Show's commitment to fostering continuous professional development and addressing the most pressing topics facing the industry today and tomorrow. 

Featured Speakers, Celebrated Chefs & Master Mixologists
Keynote ‘24 featured a captivating discussion with acclaimed chef, restaurateur, and humanitarian José Andrés. Andrés shared his profound insights on the transformative power of food and his journey in intertwining culinary excellence with humanitarian and food policy efforts. Additionally, the Technomic featured session, titled “Journey to 2030 – Forecasting the Future of Foodservice,” was a highlight, with food futurist Liz Moskow and Technomic’s Joe Pawlak guiding attendees through projected opportunities and challenges in the industry. Both Keynote ‘24 and the featured session were presented by Restaurant365.

"Chef José Andrés’ keynote was truly inspirational! As a restaurateur and someone with a love for the hospitality industry, it was wonderful to hear how he uses food to bring the world together," Lisa Gutierrez, CEO and co-founder of Dos Hermanos Taco Truck, stated. 

The Show also showcased celebrated chefs and master mixologists demonstrating their culinary and beverage expertise. Attendees witnessed live cooking demonstrations and engaging sessions with renowned culinary figures. These demos and sessions covered the latest cooking techniques, plating innovations, and creative ingredient use. Top mixologists and beverage experts shared their secrets to unique cocktails and beverages, highlighting trends like low-alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks, global flavors, and sustainable practices. These demos provided attendees with practical insights and inspiration to elevate their own beverage programs, emphasizing creativity, quality, and customer engagement in the foodservice industry. 

Kitchen Innovations & FABI Awards
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Kitchen Innovations (KI) Awards recognized 25 foodservice equipment innovations that are driving advancements in automation, efficiency, safety, and sustainability. These awards highlighted how the industry is evolving with new technologies that enhance both front-of-house and back-of-house operations.

“If you’re not innovating, you’re going backwards,” Richard Eisenbarth, President of Emeritus and 2024 KI judge, shared his insights on how the award program selects its awardees. “Some manufacturers are happy with the status quo. They’ve been making the same refrigerator for the last 20 years and they add a new handle—that’s an evolution, that’s not an innovation. The companies who are really getting ahead are the ones who are thinking outside the box.” 

The FABI Awards honored 35 products that are shaping the future of food and beverage, with 10 receiving special recognition as FABI Favorites. Among the notable products were the AI-generated recipes for plant-based Kraft products and sustainable food production from Atarraya Inc—its awarded shrimp uses an indoor technology process offering fresh, never-frozen shrimp locally.

“We are truly honored to be part of the FABI Awards,” Daniel Russek, CEO of Atarraya Inc, said. “We're always looking for external validation because our customers like us, but we need validation from somebody that is reputable and knows what they're talking about.” 

As the Show concluded, Cindric expressed his gratitude: “We extend our heartfelt thanks to all participants, sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, and attendees for their contributions to this year's success. The energy on the Show floor was unmatched, and we are thrilled with the positive feedback received.”

Plans are already underway for the 2025 National Restaurant Association Show, which will take place from May 17-20 at McCormick Place in Chicago. For more information and to relive the highlights of the 2024 Show, visit

About The National Restaurant Association Show
The National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show® is the Western Hemisphere's most influential foodservice event showcasing industry innovations and trends. Each year (starting in 1919), the Show brings together restaurant operators and foodservice professionals for four days of celebrity-led demos, exhibits, sampling, education and networking. The Show unites a global community and enables exploration of the latest advancements in food, beverage, equipment, technology and solutions driving the industry forward. The Show is owned and operated by Informa in partnership with the National Restaurant Association. Visit for more information.

About Informa  
Informa is a leading international B2B markets, live and on-demand events and digital services group. They connect businesses and professionals in 30+ industries with the knowledge they need to learn more, know more and do more. Informa has hundreds of global brands, products and services and employs 11,000 employees in ~30 countries worldwide.

Informa Connect is a content-led, live and on-demand experiences business which connects professionals with knowledge, ideas and opportunities. Informa Connect, a community of over 1,000 colleagues globally, offers connection through events, media and research. They service a number of different industries including Foodservice, Finance, Bio Tech and Pharma, Pop Culture, Marketing, Law, Energy, HR, Sustainability, Construction. Visit for more information.

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