Getting plugged in

5 ways to take on tech at the new Innovation Hub
Innovation Hub social media bar

NRA Show 2017 attendees can engage with all things technology at the new Innovation Hub, located in the North Hall at Booth #5575. The hub includes five distinctive areas: Innovation Theater, Social Media Bar, StartUp Alley, Tech Talks and Tech Pavilion, each designed to provide attendees with can’t-miss business insights and information.

"Innovation Hub provides an opportunity for attendees to step away from the Show floor and get information on the latest technology innovations and gain valuable insights on technological practices and trends relevant for today foodservice business," says Sara Anderson, Director of Workforce Development, National Restaurant Association.

Putting everything technology related and everyone in the tech industry in one section is proving to be win-win for attendees and exhibitors alike.

“Combining all technology-related exhibitors in one location is beneficial,” says Mike Vanderslice, COO, ServiceGuru, Booth #5675B in StartUp Alley. “Attendees are finding the answers to all of their tech questions in one area, and exhibitors get to collaborate with each other by helping attendees stay current on the latest industry innovations and insights.”

Here are highlights of what’s been happening and what’s still to come at the Innovation Hub:

  • Innovation Theater, sponsored by HotSchedules (Booth #5870), provides 45-minute in-depth research and timely education sessions to help attendees keep ahead of the curve. At this new auditorium-style set up, attendees participated in key discussions such as “The Right Recipe for Restaurant Cybersecurity,” “Eat My Compost,” and “Attracting and Retaining Talent in a Challenging Environment,” Monday and Tuesday topics will include “Bridging the Atlantic:  U.S. and U.K. Restaurant Trends,” and “Millennials of the Future of the Hospitality Industry.”
  • Social Media Bar has proven to be the perfect spot for attendees to connect with experts who know social media like the back of their hands. Attendees are finding answers to questions on social media, digital marketing, web site design, livestreaming and personal tech. There’s also an opportunity to try out the latest gadgets, such as Microsoft HoloLens, VR gear, wearables and other tech toys.
  • StartUp Alley, presented by American Express (Booth #5874), allows attendees to easily connect with exciting new companies and products poised to have a big effect on the foodservice industry.
  • TECH Talks are focused on unlocking best technological practices and trends during fast-paced, 30-minute educational sessions. Themes have included “How to Achieve a 12% Sales Increase With a Mobile Loyalty App,” “Hey Siri: Tell Us About the Future of Digital,” and “Robots in Food Service: Possibilities and Challenges.” Topics to be discussed on Monday and Tuesday include “Cloud-Based Point of Sale: Crossing the Chasm,” “Restaurant Accounting Best Practices,” and “Lifehacks for Busy Professionals.”
  • Tech Pavilion (north end of aisles 5500-7000), just steps away from the center of the Innovation Hub, has been helping attendees learn about increasing efficiencies, guest satisfaction, transaction speed and lowering costs, including technology poised to change the way foodservice does business. Attendees also are exploring top-to-bottom tech solutions such as mobile apps and payment, POS, digital signage and data-driven solutions while they discover how mobile apps, front-of-house management tools and smart kitchens can improve their operations in a fully immersive experience at Microsoft Digital Transformation.

This post is sponsored by The National Restaurant Association®


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