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Show and tell

NRA event feeds need in the industry


The National Restaurant Association’s hotel/motel show may not rival Barnum & Bailey ‘s circus as the greatest show on earth, but it certainly could give them a run for their money as the largest show on earth. Or, at least that’s what our feet felt like after three days of walking the 608,000 square feet of exhibit space.

This year’s event at the end of May at McCormick Place in Chicago attracted 74,000 attendees from all the states and 110 countries.

More than 2,140 exhibitors offered their wares and services to the throngs of attendees. And, the food sampling is not only mind-boggling, but stomach stretching, especially if you’re a fan of fried food. The most crowded booth once again this year was the beer booth, although when the model at the Angostura cognac and rum booth showed up with her bare chest painted with the company’s logo, there was a traffic jam around that booth.

In addition to food and equipment suppliers, the show also offers workshops and seminars, plus a great forum for networking.


Robin Kwiecinski models Tele-pac Inc.'s credit card dress

Sonia Barajas-Najera of Shakey's Pizza Parlor.

Two model employees of Tiltled Kilt Pub & Eatery, a pub concept.

Franchise Times spent most of our time in the Franchise Pavilion, where we both handed out magazines and sales materials to passers-by and took advantage of any lulls in the traffic to talk to the franchise salespeople who manned their booths.


Here are the pictures of just a sampling of who exhibited.

Bill McClintock, vice president of franchising, and Mike Sullivan, franchise concultant, of Buffalo Wild Wings.

Robert Fix of Cosi

Ian Byrd, director of franchise development and Rankin Belkofer, consultant.

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