Let’s get this show on the road

Get ready for the biennial 2015 NAFEM Show – it’s going to be bigger and even better, says Amelia Levin

Tens of thousands of foodservice equipment manufacturers, sales reps, engineers, restaurant and foodservice operators, designers, consultants and other members of the foodservice equipment and supplies industry will come to the Anaheim Convention Center for the show hosted by the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers. The biennial show, 19-21 February in Anaheim, California, will see more than 500 manufacturers exhibit.

The 2013 NAFEM Show saw nearly 20,000 attendees split evenly between exhibitors and attendees, and NAFEM planners hope to see those numbers exceeded this year. End users still take up a big chunk of the attendee pie, at about 30% and span all major commercial and non-commercial foodservice segments.

“We’re hoping for the same numbers in Anaheim and excitement is rather high for our first trip back to the West Coast since 2005,” says Charlie Souhrada, director of member services for NAFEM.

In a departure from previous years, this year’s NAFEM Show will not feature a keynote or educational break-out sessions, however, various industry associations are planning their own seminars and symposiums.

“This was a conscious decision to keep the educational focus on the show floor where there’s already lots of training and discussion happens,” says Souhrada.

On Wednesday 18 February NAFEM will offer ServSafe Food Safety Manager Training (see bit.ly/fsmtraining for details).

The WHAT’S HOT! WHAT’S COOL! exhibit (booths 1220, 2820, 4820 and 6020) will focus on trends and showcase the top innovative and sustainable products and technologies in four categories: Community Responsibility (energy-efficient, water-saving and environmentally-friendly equipment); Global Flavors & Craft Preparation (equipment for authentic/ethnic cooking and unique tools); Health & Wellness (plant-based cooking, food allergies); Productivity, Efficiency & Precision (equipment that automates or simplifies processes).

Attendees will have the chance to network and socialise at the casual, outdoor kick-off party, on 18 February from 6-8pm. An aftershow party featuring the Zac Brown Band will close the week on 21 February from 7-11pm. While the dinner reception will have assigned seating, the concert is open seating. Tickets are required and can be bought from the NAFEM Show site.

Consultant advice

Navigating the show floor and multiple events can test an attendee’s stamina and shoes. We caught up with a few consultants to see how they make the most out of the show.

“I’ve found the best way to navigate NAFEM is to develop a game plan ahead of time using all the tools available,” Ray Soucie FCSI, LEED AP and principal of RSA Inc, has said. “Visit the show website or download the mobile app, make a schedule and a list of 20 things that are a must-see for you, but build in some extra time to look at the next best thing.”

Because it’s a challenge for one person to see everything at a show, Christine Guyott FCSI, principal of Robert Rippe & Associates Inc, works with her group to divide and conquer by major equipment segments, from refrigeration to hoods, ice makers and more. “Every week after NAFEM each ‘expert in the room’ segment lead presents what they learned about their equipment area so that we can all discuss and make decisions on what we specify and recommend,” she says.

Eric Norman FCSI, vice president of MVP Services Group Inc, makes his appointments ahead of time, looking at booth numbers to plan those strategically, time- and location-wise. “We also look for anything new and cutting edge that we definitely want to see at the show,” he says. “One of the best things about NAFEM is the networking – taking advantage of the industry seminars and receptions is a great way to meet people from all facets of the industry.”

Amy Hegarty FCSI, CID, ASID, CFSP, LEED Green Associate and principal of Foodservice Consultants Studio Inc, says: “Larry Huber, Doug Huber and I look at NAFEM as the best show for consultants to attend. Our goal is always to see the new equipment and technologies that the companies have to offer. It’s also fun to get to know new people as well as catch up with people we only see at events such as NAFEM. We leave inspired but tired, hoping our clients didn’t miss us too much while we were gone.”

FCSI The Americas at NAFEM

In keeping with tradition, FCSI The Americas will host its annual conference in a seminar on 17-18 February at the Anaheim Convention Center prior to the show. The 2015 FCSI Symposium, called Stop, Collaborate and Listen, will kick off on Tuesday night with an opening party and lip sync contest at Heat Ultra Lounge.

The next day Brad Barnes, CMC, director at the Culinary Institute of America, will make a presentation on emerging culinary trends and how they translate to consulting, followed by several breakout sessions with consultants advising on the best ways to collaborate in the cloud, during pre-design planning, outside the kitchen and more (for full details see bit.ly/fcsisymposiumschedule).

The day will conclude with a presentation from Afterburner about how the military collaborates to make sure missions are completed and show how important it is to rely on each other.

“We had 118 consultants lined up in December – not including allied members,” said Wade Koehler, CAE, executive director of FCSI The Americas. “Consultants are busy right now. It’s a sign the economy is doing well and I believe we’re going to see a strong FCSI showing at the NAFEM show this year.”

CFESA and MAFSI are also hosting events in conjunction with the show. The CFESA Spring 2015 Conference is at the Hilton Anaheim from 17-18 February, while MAFSI’s member celebration and cocktail party is on 20 February.

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