CHICAGO—The 2008 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, to be held May 17-20 at Chicago’s McCormick Place, will feature more than 2,150 exhibiting companies and once again offer a slate of environment-related educational sessions. The show is expected to draw 74,000 industry professionals from all 50 states and 115 countries. Programming will also feature trendsetting chefs and restaurateurs, leading experts, celebrities and more.
Located on Level 3 of the North Hall, the Organic & Natural Pavilion will highlight exhibitors offering certified organic food and beverage products. Organic is one of the hottest menu trends right now, and show attendees will find an abundance of these products in this Pavilion.
“Some of the hot-button industry issues right now are environmental issues, technology integration and how to boost profits in a challenging economic climate, and NRA Show 2008 will guide restaurant operators toward proven solutions and best practices on these issues and many more,” said William C. Anton, FMP, convention chairman for the 2008 Show, and chairman and founder of Anton Airfood, Inc. “In addition, show attendees will get the scoop on the top consumer and culinary trends, like culinary uses and responsible serving of alcohol, nutrition, and creative cuisine from our impressive lineup of education sessions.”
The following is a list of some of the educational sessions that will have a green focus:
• 5 Things Operators Must Know About Energy Efficiency (Saturday, May 17, 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.): Richard Young, senior engineer and director of education at PG&E’s Food Service Technology Center, and Kate Lewis, marketing manager with EPA’s Energy Star program, will strip away the technical details and offer up the five “must know” steps to begin conserving energy.
• Marketing to Conserving Customers: A Guide to Operating Green with a Triple Bottom Line (Monday, May 19, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.): Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko, operators of self-sustaining Inn Serendipity, will share how to green a business while increasing the bottom line.
Food Chain to be Discussed
• It’s All About Results: Sustainability in the Food Chain—Emphasis on Animal Products (Saturday, May 17, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.): Sustainability in the food chain is an essential component of corporate social responsibility. Jeffrey Armstrong, dean and professor, Michigan State University, will moderate a discussion on the importance of audited, science-based guidelines as a component of corporate social responsibility, with an overview of the components of sustainability using a holistic approach. Panel will include: Janice Swanson, professor and director of Animal Welfare, Michigan State University, and Todd Bacon, U.S. supply chain management, McDonald’s Corp.
• Organic Growth: Being Green to Build Customer Loyalty (Sunday, May 18, 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.): American consumers continue to equate “fresh”, “local”, and “organic” foods with being healthy. Arlin Wasserman, Sodexo’s new vice president of corporate citizenship, will describe how this increasing consumer demand for organic, locally grown, and sustainable foods has created an opportunity for food service providers (ranging from restaurants to college campuses and corporate cafeterias) to build their brand image and, more importantly, a loyal customer base.
• Casual Dining Goes Organic (Sunday, May 18, 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.): Adding natural, organic, and locally grown menu choices can be a boost to your menu’s overall profitability. Elaine McFadden, corporate dietitian for Nature’s Path Foodservice, along with Olga Kras, registered dietitian and owner of Organic Wellness Cafe, will provide a comprehensive look at the benefits of having organic menu items, and how to market them to yours and your customer’s benefit.
• Steve Ells on Food With Integrity: Creating a Sustainable Food Supply (Monday, May 19, 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.): Steve Ells, founder, chairman and C.E.O., Chipotle Mexican Grill, will talk about his vision for Chipotle and how it is driving the company toward more sustainable practices in terms of the ingredients it uses, the way it designs and builds restaurants, and how it develops people.
• Lean, Green, & Clean: Environmental Practices in Collegiate Foodservice (Tuesday, May 20, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.): With students demanding socially responsible food sourcing, convenience, and low-cost alternatives, how are colleges and universities meeting those expectations? Representatives from The National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) will share how they are increasing product convenience by strategic sourcing, and demonstrating greater social responsibility on campus through recycling and other sustainability initiatives. Moderated by Shawn LaPean, director of Cal Dining for the University of California-Berkely, this panel discussion includes: David Annis, NACUFS president, Diane Hardy, director of food and auxiliary services at the University of Richmond; Lester Prue, unit manager at Bowdoin College; and Rafi Taherian, executive director of Yale University Dining Services.
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