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Coyle Hits the NRA Show: Day 3 Highlights

Coyle Hospitality Group attended the National Restaurant Association Show this weekend in Chicago at McCormick Place. Our team members–including our President, Managing Director, and Restaurant Specialist–spent the weekend getting the scoop on the newest innovations, hottest trends, and upcoming strategies in the restaurant industry. In the final post of this three-part series, Coyle will summarize highlights from day three of the show.

Coyle took day three at the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel show (“NRA Show”) by storm. Coyle started the day off by attending a seminar dealing with an emphasis on building consumer trust in regards to food safety and then toured the floor to check out exhibitors of all types. After two days of traveling all over McCormick place, we knew the layout of the conference like the back of our hands but were still amazed at all the various booths we had yet to see!

Tea was one of the hottest trends at the NRA show this year!  As operators are looking for more ways to add value for their guests and increase revenue streams, tea seems to be making strides with varieties including iced tea, sweet tea, hot tea, green tea, black tea, white tea, and more!  After a bit of research, Coyle was surprised to discover that there were just over 40 booths that were either tea-focused or featured tea as a part of their offerings.  It may be worth it to develop the coffee and tea beverage program in your restaurant to stay on top of this trend.

As previously mentioned in our coverage of Day 1 at the NRA Show, another hot topic is Cleanliness and Safety in the food service industry. In the seminar Building Consumer Trust and Protecting Brand Reputation, with Ruth Petran from Ecolab, Craig Hedberg (PhD) professor at the University of Minnesota, and Jerry Chesser with Cal State Polytechnic University, speakers addressed the issues of food safety awareness and its importance to your guests. This topic is not only current and relevant but also something every food service or restaurant operator should be an expert on. Everyone knows how essential gaining customer trust is, but maintaining that trust requires a focus on food safety and preparation. Operators need to be proactive when dealing with their products and do everything in their ability to keep their guests safe so they can gain and maintain trust.  Anyone who has ever had food poisoning will agree: this is not a subject to be overlooked.

There are three elements of trust related to food safety.

Did you know that, each year, 1 billion people suffer from food borne illnesses, more than 2 million turn fatal, and over 52% of these outbreaks happens at a restaurant or deli? These numbers are staggering and shocking to say the least. A powerful beginning to the relationship between restaurants and their guests involves how an operator handles and responds to an outbreak.  Honesty is a powerful tool, and guests want complete transparency.  Operators needs to empathize and care for their guests, and, most importantly, encourage and hold their staff accountable for doing the same. Did you know that 75% of restaurant outbreaks are due to improper holding, contaminated equipment, and poor personal hygiene of staff members?  This statistic highlights the importance of getting your employees to sincerely care for the well being of guests.

Food safety is definitely not something to take lightly, and helping to increase awareness–such as streamlining the grading system–can be the first step to forming a more uniform food safety system nationwide.

Lastly, you should focus on building trust with your suppliers. Supplier care and supplier relationships are extremely important in maintaining the loyalty of your guests.  You need to trust your suppliers, because food-borne illnesses are often linked back to your restaurant’s supply chain.  Addressing these issues from the start can prevent such occurrences at your restaurant.

That is a wrap from Coyle on our NRA Show recap! I leave you with an invitation to check back later this week, where we will publish a list of the top ten 2012 NRA show take-aways.  We will highlight what was most popular, informative, and valuable for you as an operator.  Until then, have a great week!