Education Sessions and Speakers

As our industry is changing, we’re seeking out new resources, new ideas, and new perspectives that can help us reimagine the future of foodservice. For the 2021 National Restaurant Association Show we are carefully curating an education program that will feature 70+ sessions and demos and two deep-dive workshops. Get right to what matters most to your business with six unique tracks, covering everything from culinary insights to workforce development. No matter what challenges you’re facing, you’ll find the information that will help you build the next era of your business here.


2021 Education Tracks

Live Demos

Join us at various stages across the Show floor as industry experts demonstrate their techniques and share their stories.



Learn hands-on from experts and peers about today’s most pertinent topics at two deep-dive workshops.


Year-Round Online Education

Get the info you need right now.

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View a sampling of 2021 session topics below, and find the full lineup here.

Topics subject to change.


Culinary Insights

  • Culinary demos

    Watch celebrated chefs demonstrate their techniques and share their stories as they cook up unique dishes.

  • Successful chef and restaurateur collaborations to grow business

    The right chef and restaurateur partnership can create restaurant magic, but how do you build that relationship? Hear from some of the most successful chef and restaurateur duos about the keys to their success and how you can bring that partnership magic to your own business.

  • Culinary innovation to reenergize your business

    In times of great challenge, innovation can and has prevailed. Whether it be a new ingredient, a new menu item, or a new approach to recipe development, there’s something about “new” that can reenergize your business. Hear what innovations culinary experts are cooking up that may inspire something new for you.

  • Overcoming challenges: lessons from industry leaders

    Discover inspiration from some of the country’s top chefs and operators as they share stories about how they’ve overcome challenges they’ve faced, their biggest learnings, and their outlook on what’s ahead for their businesses and the industry.

  • Diversity and representation in restaurants

    Diversity and representation in the foodservice industry means more inspiration, more delicious foods, a stronger workforce, a stronger community, a wider audience that wants to engage with your business, and so much more. Learn how making diversity a priority can make restaurants stronger.

The New Consumer

  • Digital media slam

    Digital tools are critical to build loyalty, manage online reviews, drive mobile orders, connect directly with customers and so much more. Learn directly from great brands who are using digital media with great success.

  • The new service experience

    The traditional foodservice ‘steps of service’ have been turned on their head, but guests still demand and deserve a great experience. Learn how to excel in the new world of service experience, focusing on key elements of the customer touchpoint journey.

  • Social justice in the foodservice industry

    The movement for racial and social justice in American has forced foodservice businesses to recognize systemic inequities, unconscious biases, and lack of representation in the industry. What is the restaurant’s role in this movement and what’s their obligation to reflect the voices of those they serve? Hear from experts about what consumers want to see from restaurants during this pivotal time, and how businesses can best serve their communities.

  • Consumer expectations: less food waste and more responsible packaging

    Sustainability is just as important as ever before and consumers still value efforts to reduce waste. Learn effective ways to minimize waste and maximize profit, while demonstrating environmentally conscious practices you have implemented that your guests will appreciate.

Operations Solutions

  • Financial fluency

    Improve your bottom line through a series of financial fluency sessions focused on operational cost management, real estate, loans, and more.

  • Navigating the current legislative and regulatory landscape

    From federal and state regulations and legislative efforts, to local ordinances and guidelines, gain tips and resources to keep up with this ever-changing landscape.

  • Product licensing and merchandising: does it make sense for your business?

    While restaurants selling retail products is nothing new, many quickly shifted to a retail model over the past year as a survival tactic. While that quick shift to retail may be temporary for some, it may be a viable longer-term revenue channel for others. Learn what it takes to successfully venture into licensing and merchandising for retail.

  • Off-Premise: what’s new and next

    From new curbside delivery solutions, to the growing world of virtual brands, to the next iteration of catering opportunities, find out what’s around the corner in off-premise.

  • Optimizing menus

    Make your menu more profitable by learning best practices and new developments in menu engineering, inventory management, and rationalizing offerings.

  • Safety, sanitation and hygiene: operational execution

    Learn directly from the pros! ServSafe experts will share the latest in safety, sanitation and hygiene practices and tips to best execute to keep your staff and your guests safe, and how to do so in as efficient and cost-effective ways as possible.

  • Supply chain disruption and impact mitigation

    Has the supply chain disrupted your business? If so, how have you managed? Learn tactics to effectively monitor your supply chain and work with your suppliers, understand potential revenue implications, and develop contingency plans so you are as prepared as possible should disruption occur in your supply chain.

Technology & Innovation

  • Tech Talks

    A variety of technology-focused sessions featuring the latest tech tools to help you maximize performance, streamline operations, and build your business.

  • Orders for pick up

    Are you properly managing orders for pick up? Do you have the technology in place to streamline operations and service? Gain best practices and tips to efficiently manage to-go orders and provide the best service your guests expect.

  • Off-premise technology

    Learn how the newest technology tools can improve your customer takeout and delivery ordering experience, encourage repeat business, and drive new sales.

Trends in Adult Beverage

  • Beer, wine, and spirits demos

    A variety of demos featuring beverage experts and celebrated mixologists shaking up the latest creations while talking to the value and versatility of the beverage on menus.

  • Off-premise alcohol sales: here to stay?

    No one could have guessed a pandemic would jumpstart off-premise alcohol sales, but is off-premise alcohol here to stay? Hear directly from industry experts on current and future projections, operational challenges and regulatory uncertainty, and growth opportunities for your own business.

  • Creative food and beverage pairings for your menu

    From comfort food and favorite beers, to fancy treats and complex wines, gain inspiration by way of creative and unique food and beverage pairings to excite your guests and boost sales.

  • Alcohol service risks and best practices

    Prepare yourself to handle alcohol service risks and find alcohol training best practices from ServSafe, the industry’s most trusted and experienced resource.

Workforce Development

  • Diversity, equity & inclusion in the workforce

    Understand the challenges of inequity, inclusion and representation in the foodservice industry, how diversity in the workforce can help you build a better business, and gain insights on how to create effective multicultural teams.

  • New approaches to staffing

    Operators are faced with many labor challenges in the age of COVID-19. How do you make sure you’re hiring the best staff for your brand? How do you retain your top performers? How do the labor laws impact you and your workforce? Learn creative new ways to navigate the complicated world of hiring & retention that will set your business up for success.

  • Next generation of workforce: the leadership pipeline

    Learn long-term strategies to build an effective and inclusive leadership pipeline to ensure the strength and stability of your business for years to come.

  • Finding a health and wellness balance in 2021

    This past year has been no joke. Everyone is exhausted, scared, and uncertain of what the future may still hold. While there’s no magic to relieving physical, mental, and emotional strains, we should acknowledge the turmoil we’ve been through and share tips to try and find a renewed balance of health and wellness.

  • How has training changed?

    From virtual learning platforms to new guidelines around in-person training, understand how staff training has changed and what tools and practices best suit your business.

Education Super Center Sponsors

Innovation Hub Sponsors

Tech Talk Sponsors

Innovation Theater Sponsors

World Culinary Showcase Sponsors

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More information on the latest National Restaurant Association Show