Yep. That’s me. I admit it. I love ‘em. Over the course of my career, I have had the opportunity to attend quite a few trade shows in several different capacities. Early on, it was impressed upon me that in order to get a better sense of an industry, you have to “go see the show”. At twenty four, my first trade show experience was a sense of total giddy excitement. My reaction today is typically the same. There is just something about it. All the people wandering from booth to booth, taking in the bright lights and whirring machines. The heady smell of business in the air...okay, maybe that’s taking it a step too far, but no one can deny the amount of buying and selling that usually takes place on the floor of a trade show.
This weekend, I got to make a trip out to Chicago to visit the National Restaurant Association Show. While McCormick Place and I are well acquainted old friends, this was my first NRA show. It was an inspiring thing to see. All the months of planning executed in exciting ways in so many places!
Wandering the crowded aisles of this weekend’s show, I was able to see first-hand a very good representation of the restaurant industry from stem to stern. As I walked the floor, I got to ogle all kinds of amazing things, most of which I would like to immediately transplant into my own kitchen (imagine the size of the batch of cookies I could churn out of that industrial sized mixer! And, oh that wood-fired oven! Don’t I need a pastry display case of my very own?!)
I also got something else: a very visible representation of just how important foodservice packaging is to the restaurant industry. It was everywhere. Sampling the gelato required a spoon. Handing off a sliver of pizza needed a napkin and a plate. Dispensing a drink, a cup was essential. It was evident packaging is a critical piece to the foodservice puzzle. It made me more than a little bit proud to be, as a part of FPI, representing such a needed industry.
Of course, I didn’t have nearly enough time. There were so many people, booths and things I wanted to see but could not fit into my one afternoon tour. It’s a lesson learned from my first experience. Next time I need more time. And, fortunately for an addict like me, there’s always next year!
p.s. a shout out of special thanks to Jeff Clark with the NRA’s Conserve program for taking the time to walk the show floor with me.