This year’s National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show was one for the ages. Held at the McCormick Place in Chicago, this 2.6 million square foot facility was the temporary home for thousands of vendors to showcase their product. From food to equipment to technology, there was something for everyone. By everyone, I mean the attendees included people throughout the United States and those from international locations. There were people from everywhere including Chicago natives and attendees from countries such as China and Colombia. Anyone worldwide with a passion for food was in attendance.

This was my first year going as an exhibitor. I have gone to the NRA Show in the past as a spectator. Thermodyne and American Griddle had custom built a brand-new booth this year. The new booth included a two-foot griddle, cooler, freezer and a Thermodyne-Dry well combo unit. I had all the tools I needed.

On the menu was smoked brisket, prime rib, pork tacos and burger sliders. With plenty of people to feed, I was constantly busy putting out trays of food. They were on almost instantaneously gone, as hungry attendees would come and grab them while they lasted. Some people were curious about what we had, others were just looking for something to eat. Either way, the foot traffic to our booth was fantastic. We meet a lot of great people and made a lot of great connections. At the end of the day, it is about getting your name out there and providing a product the customers will remember.