National Restaurant Association Show® 2023 Delivers a Spectacular Showcase of Foodservice Innovation and Inspiration
Contact: Julie Franks, mdg
CHICAGO (June 1, 2023)—The National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show®, concluded last week at Chicago's McCormick Place, reaffirming its position as the premier event for the foodservice industry. Drawing an impressive crowd of industry professionals from across the United States, representing all 50 states, and boasting a diverse international presence from 107 countries—including key countries from Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America such as Australia, Mexico, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Taiwan, and the Philippines—it stood as the leading industry gathering.
The Show hosted nearly 55,000 foodservice professionals and experienced an 8% growth in total registrants compared to the previous year, reflecting the growing interest and engagement in the event. Additionally, international attendance accounted for 15% of the total registration, marking an increase from 11% in the previous year and highlighting the Show's growing global appeal. Serving as the ultimate sourcing destination for restaurant and hospitality buyers, the National Restaurant Association Show 2023 provided unparalleled opportunities to explore the latest trends and establish invaluable business relationships.
"The National Restaurant Association Show concluded its 2023 edition as the undisputed epicenter of the foodservice industry,” said Tom Cindric, President of Winsight Exhibitions. “With its unparalleled showcase of foodservice brilliance and an impressive show floor buzzing with unrivaled energy, the Show united professionals from around the world, inspiring trends, fostering global collaboration, and providing leading education. As the premier global gathering, it stood as a testament to the industry's vitality, driving innovation and shaping the future of the culinary world."
Spanning an expansive exhibition space of over 661,000 square feet, the Show floor was a hub of excitement and innovation. Hosting an impressive lineup of more than 2,100 manufacturers and suppliers, the 2023 event showcased a nearly 17% increase in exhibitors compared to 2022. The growth was particularly notable with over 800 first-time exhibitors, representing a substantial 61% increase over the number of new exhibitors in 2022. With a significant 12% expansion in exhibit space year over year, the Show floor provided participants with a vast platform to present cutting-edge products across a comprehensive range of 900+ categories, solidifying its reputation as a premier destination for discovering the latest in foodservice
The abundance of innovation, influential decision-makers, and exhibitors, combined with the remarkable growth in exhibitors, left attendees completely satisfied and inspired to shape the future of the foodservice industry.
"If you're in the industry this is the place to be,” said Brian Duffy, Chef, TV Personality, and
Hospitality Consultant. “You cannot even imagine how many opportunities there are for
inspiration, for innovation, for new ways to run your business and new items to put on your
The National Restaurant Association Show achieved unprecedented international participation,
reflecting its global appeal and significance. With attendees from 107 countries, this year's
event marks a historic milestone, with the highest percentage of international attendees relative
to overall attendance since data has been recorded. The rise from the pre-pandemic average of
11% to 15% showcases the growing interest in the Show from around the world.
Notably, Asian countries experienced remarkable growth, with an 80% increase in registrations compared to the previous year. Japan, Taiwan, and the Philippines made significant contributions to this rise, opening doors for new collaborative opportunities. Latin America, the Caribbean, and North America (Canada and Mexico) remained strong partners, while Brazil's largest-ever attendance, with a 45% increase from last year and 31% more attendees than in 2019, deserves special recognition.
"The remarkable international participation was made possible through invaluable partnerships
with the U.S. Department of Commerce (USDOC) and the National Association of State
Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), and the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). The USDOC's
Trade Event Partnership Program (TEPP) brought together 29, accounting for 35% of the
overall international numbers. The NASDA/FAS partnership witnessed a 14% increase in
delegates compared to the previous year and introduced the A Taste of the States pavilion,
showcasing diverse culinary offerings from various regions within the United States," stated
Cindric. "This record-breaking international presence solidifies the National Restaurant
Association Show as a premier global gathering, where industry professionals shape the future
of the culinary industry on a worldwide scale."
FEATURED SPEAKERS & EDUCATION
Keynote speakers Danny Meyer, renowned restaurateur, and Pinky Cole, CEO and founder of
Slutty Vegan, ATL, captivated the audience with their insights and success stories. Attendees
also benefited from featured sessions led by industry thought leaders, expert insights leaders
from Technomic and Winsight Media, and top industry operators, sharing valuable insights on
labor, menu trends, innovation, and more.
“This year was really different because I always come as a spectator and to be affiliated with the Show as a keynote speaker is a big deal,” said Pinky Cole. “I'm excited to not only be able to attend again, this is my fourth year attending, but to have a premier business that people love and recognize and to be able to share my story with hundreds of people."
The Show's extensive education program featured more than 85 sessions, culinary and beverage demos, plus networking meetups bringing together industry experts and thought leaders across various tracks, including Culinary Insights, Marketing Matters, Off-Premise, Operations Solutions, Technology Strategies, Trends in Adult Beverages, Wellness, and Workforce Recruitment and Retention. Attendees had the opportunity to learn from a diverse lineup of speakers, with more than 170 foodservice leaders sharing their knowledge and expertise to provide forward-looking insights, new perspectives, and strategies to facilitate growth.
Celebrated culinary leaders, including Rick Bayless, Lauren Von Der Pool, Gemma Stafford,
Brian Duffy, Nancy Silverton, Sean Sherman, Zoe Adjonyoh and Jeff Mauro, wowed attendees
with their demonstrations and discussions on the latest trends and innovations in food and
beverage. The Beverage Room showcased top mixologists and beverage experts, offering
captivating demos and thought-provoking discussions on practical business strategies.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION
Revolutionizing the way restaurants operate and elevate the dining experience for customers,
the Food and Beverage (FABI) Awards and the Kitchen Innovations (KI) Awards showcased a
total of 62 outstanding products and solutions.
The prestigious FABI Awards recognized a record-breaking 42 industry-altering products, setting a new benchmark for ingenuity in the foodservice industry. Carefully selected by a panel of expert judges, these groundbreaking offerings showcased remarkable advancements in taste, sustainability, functionality, and more. Among the FABI Awards recipients, eight products were designated as FABI Favorites, chosen by the judges as the most pioneering and influential of the year. These FABI Favorites represented the pinnacle of culinary ingenuity, driving positive change and shaping the future of the industry. Show attendees took advantage of tastings, demos, and a judge’s session which highlighted the selected FABI favorites and how they are shaping the industry.
“Being a participant at the National Restaurant Association Show is absolutely key,” said Scott Tassani, President and COO of Eat Meati. “This is the signature event within the industry and we're incredibly proud to have a big presence here and to launch our steak product which has been recognized with a FABI award which says to the entire industry that we're here to play and play in a big way and help our partners grow their business.”
Similarly, the KI Awards celebrated 20 exceptional back-of-house innovations designed to
enhance operational efficiency, streamline processes, and generate growth for foodservice
establishments. From cutting-edge cooking systems to automated inventory management tools,
the KI Awards recognized the latest advancements that empower operators to optimize their
business performance. The awarded products were featured in the KI Showroom where
attendees could experience live demos and learn more about each innovation. Plus, a panel of
experts shared their insights on how these forward-thinking products and solutions are evolving
the back-of-house operations.
Project Beverage, an ongoing initiative that explores the hottest adult beverage trends and
opportunities for growth, returned to the Show with great anticipation. Building on its previous
success, the project aimed to drive innovation and unleash creativity in beverage offerings by
bringing together industry leaders, mixologists, and beverage enthusiasts to explore new
flavors, techniques, and experiences. Throughout March and April, the Show community
actively participated in an online cocktail tournament, casting their votes for their favorite
experiential beverages. After six weeks of fierce competition, the distinguished finalists, Rum &
Smoke and Peach & Honey Champagne Smash, were announced. During Industry Night Out,
attendees had the opportunity to savor the creations of these finalists and ultimately selected
the Peach & Honey Champagne Smash as the 2023 Project Beverage Champion.
Following the conclusion of the Show, Cindric expressed his gratitude, saying, "The Show extends its heartfelt thanks to all the participants, sponsors, exhibitors, and attendees for their invaluable contributions to the resounding success of this year's event. The energy on the Show floor was unmatched, and we are thrilled with the overwhelming response and positive feedback we received."
The National Restaurant Association Show is committed to sustainability and takes significant steps to minimize its environmental impact. After the event, the Show implements robust recycling initiatives to ensure proper disposal of materials, contributing to a more sustainable future. Moreover, the Show actively supports philanthropic endeavors by making substantial donations to local food pantries, thereby addressing food insecurity and positively impacting the community.
Plans are already underway for the highly anticipated 2024 event, which is set to take place from May 18-21. Click here to relive the highlights from the 2023 Show and browse through photos captured during the event. For more information about the National Restaurant Association Show, visit nationalrestaurantshow.com.
The National Restaurant Association Show, Hotel-Motel Show is owned and operated by Winsight LLC in partnership with the National Restaurant Association.
About Winsight LLC
Winsight LLC is a business-to-business information, event and market intelligence company serving the restaurant and noncommercial foodservice, convenience and petroleum retailing and grocery industries. Winsight provides research and analytics, branding solutions, face-toface opportunities, lead generation initiatives, and content marketing services through products including subscription data products, reports, research tools, research programs, fully custom studies, conferences, custom marketing services, meetings, print, digital trade media and tradeshows, including the National Restaurant Association Show.
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