Did you make it to the National Restaurant Show in Chicago this year? In case you missed it, we’re sharing some of the highlights from our experience:
iPads, iPads, Everywhere
The Restaurant Manager POS booth was filled with people excited to check out our mobile POS technologies, including our new iPad POS solutions like the RM Kiosk customer self ordering tool and our traditional touchscreen software mobilized on an iPad and iPad Mini. But we certainly weren’t alone in showing iPad POS tools. iPad POS was shown in nearly every point of sale company’s booth this year. In the past, we’ve seen start up tech companies with iPad POS apps but these new players were rarely around by the next year’s show. This year however, iPad POS wasn’t relegated to the booths of start-ups, each well-established developer had some type of iPad POS software to show, though some were more robust than others.
It wasn’t just iPad POS that had iPads popping up all over the show floor, menu printing companies showed new iPad digital display options and customer loyalty companies demonstrated how to add new loyalty members on in-store iPads.
The show hosted an impressive lineup of chefs including Chef Robert Irvine but we may have been even more excited about the unexpected siting’s of celebrities on the show floor including the inspiring Chef Paul Prudhomme.
Health food and health care were both hot topics at the 2013 show. Food vendors are taking action to help restaurateurs satisfy more health conscious customers with a variety of health and special-diet friendly options, including some surprises like vegan sushi. Meanwhile, the National Restaurant Association used the show as a venue to help educate restaurant owners about how the new health care laws will affect them.
One trend we were especially happy to see as we talked to visitors in our booth was a generally more positive outlook for the coming year. More than at the past few shows, attendees we spoke to felt their businesses were growing, they we ready to make investments in that growth, and they had an aura of confidence. Guess the steady increasing in consumer’s dollars spent dining out that we have been reading about is starting to feel real for restaurateurs.