3 min read

National Restaurant Association Show: Standing Out From Competitors

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Our team recently had the pleasure of attending the National Restaurant Association Show, the largest gathering of food service pros in the Western Hemisphere. With over 2,200 exhibitors and 900 different product categories, setting your brand apart from the competition is challenging. As PR pros, our team noted some key strategies at the show this year that played a crucial role in enhancing brands’ visibility. 

If you’re in the restaurant space and considering attending next year, keep these three things in mind to help your brand stand out among the masses (aka the 300 different cheese and coffee booths):


Provide A Compelling Incentive To Attract Attendees To Your Booth

Whether it's a sneak peek of a product launch, a chance to win an exciting prize or a product demo, providing a compelling incentive at your booth creates a buzz and encourages attendees to stop by amid the bustling trade show floor. Not only does this increase foot traffic, but it also creates memorable experiences that leave a lasting impression on potential customers.

A Next PR fan favorite this year was a restaurant tech booth that gave out raffle tickets to win an Apple Vision Pro on the show's last day. Incorporating this kind of prize sparks curiosity and interest among attendees passing by and incentivizes them to return to the booth on the final day.


Plan Speaking Sessions Accordingly

Where and when a speaking session is happening, how it's being promoted and the session format are all things to keep in mind when planning a speaking session. When lining up a speaking session, consider these things:

  1. Secure a speaking slot toward the beginning of the trade show. Many people leave conferences early to catch flights home. Others may be tired and not very engaged after multiple days of networking. This usually results in the first few days of the conference having the best turnout.

  2. Incorporate engaging activities during your session. Restaurant365 did a live poll throughout its session on what potential struggles restaurant managers face during their shifts. Using the results from the poll in real time allowed for engagement with the audience in a more organic, conversation-style approach.

  3. Research what options are available to measure attendance and ROI. This year, NRA included QR codes on attendee badges so any time someone attended a speaking session or spoke with an exhibitor at a booth, their attendance would be recorded. Restaurant365 also went the extra step and incorporated QR codes into their speaker presentation to drive traffic back to their website.


Social Content Creation and Promotion

Executive and corporate content promotion plays a major role in maximizing your brand’s ROI at a trade show. Sharing content like videos, blogs and photos across social channels before and post-event will serve as a strategic way to engage with your audience. By providing an idea of what attendees can expect to see at your booth, you can pique their interest and encourage them to stop by your booth while at the show. By sharing content after the event, you remain top of mind for potential customers and media contacts, which helps your brand continue nurturing those relationships after the show has concluded.

Kraft-Heinz stood out this year by having multiple photographers and videographers on the scene, capturing content to share across its social channels. Whether it was its customizable ketchup bottle to snap a pic with or an attendee’s review of its personal sauce creation from the sauce remix machine, the brand created unforgettable experiences for those who stopped by the booth to help them stay top of mind after the show.


Attending The National Restaurant Association Show is a great opportunity to get your brand in front of some top names in the restaurant industry if you have an effective PR strategy in place. Attending next year and want more tips on how to help your brand stand out? Reach out and one of our experts will be in touch!

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