4 Key Trends From The National Restaurant Association Show

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7 min

4 Key Trends From The National Restaurant Association Show

This week, I attended my first National Restaurant Association show in Chicago, featuring over 2k vendors and 50k+ attendees. In between hot dog roller grills, โ€œtater kegs,โ€ mist systems, and โ€œpaper straws that donโ€™t suck,โ€ I sat down with food technologists helping to shape the future of the restaurant industry. After clocking 40k steps over two days, I identified four major trends detailed below: disruption within restaurant procurement, POS/kiosks doubling down on fintech, the commoditization of automation and AI, and sustainability in the form of alt protein, beverage dispensers, and food waste reduction. Not to mention, the trend of booths like Square and Toast furnishing themselves as literal โ€œcafesโ€ and โ€œkitchensโ€ cooking up merch in lieu of actual food.

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