National Restaurant Association Show 2018: What We Saw

Key Moments from the National Restaurant Association Show 2018

Every year, thousands of chefs, restaurant owners, and other restaurant industry enthusiasts descend onto Chicago for the National Restaurant Association Show. The National Restaurant Association Show 2018 (NRA Show 18) was filled with technological innovation, plant-based proteins, and global foods taking center stage across the restaurant industry. From Impossible Foods debuting their Beyond Breakfast Sausage to flameless heating systems for quick-serve restaurants, there was a lot at this show to see and explore. Below is some of what we enjoyed.

Beyond Breakfast Sausage, Impossible Foods

Impossible Foods Breakfast Sausage

While Jackfruit-based pulled pork, soy-based buffalo chicken, and many other plant-based proteins were at the show this year, Impossible Foods made sure they were seen as the competition to beat. They had a full takeover of the grand concourse and an immense presence in Lakeside.  Throughout the weekend they debuted their ‘Beyond Breakfast Sausage’ and served large portions of their meatballs and burgers to growing crowds.

SpeedHeat, Sterno Products

Speedheat by Sterno

For fast casual restaurants with a prep line, these SpeedHeat warmers kept food hot with an innovative flameless pan.

Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt Dispenser
Automated frozen yogurt and ice cream dispenser
image via Generation Next Vending Robots Inc


The next step in automation seems to be sweet and cool desserts—just in time for the summer. “We are delighted to meet with restaurant industry leaders and establishment owners at this year’s NRA show,” said Nick Yates, Chairman of Generation NEXT. “The value proposition of combining high margin frozen dessert options, a very small footprint and minimal labor is something we believe will be well received”.

Shoes for Crews


A leader in safety footwear for the restaurant industry, Shoes for Crews showcased their product line at the show.

Grasshopper and Worm Salt
Agave and Worm Salt
Image via Gran Mitla

A small company making waves in the Lakeside exhibit this year was Gran Mitla, an inventive salt and spice company.  Patrons were invited to try flavors like Grasshopper and Agave Worm Salt on slices of oranges. The company was promoting the various applications their salts have, from the bar to the table.


As always, we were excited to see FoodBAM showcasing their mobile price comparison tool and inventory management system.  FoodBAM makes it easier for you to place orders for the products you need in your restaurant AND easier for your distributors to receive those orders.