Professional Food Service Trade Show recommendations

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Joined Jul 5, 2015
It's trade show season and I'll be heading to Restaurants Canada as usual. I'm just wondering what others think of attending trade shows. I go essentially for some networking and to look at new items that I've only seen in catalogs. But I'm wondering what the ChefTalk community think of attending such events?
 
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Joined Jan 17, 2015
I still go to a couple but the truth is that they are geared up for big, corporate business most of all. Hordes of sales people looking at your badge to see are you worth talking to......I go to see equipment, dream about having a Charvet range. This time round I am going to see what is available in take away containers world, so all in all they are useful I would say
 
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Joined Feb 8, 2009
I always went to the Shows in Washington State, Oregon and California along with a Vending show in Las Vegas. It gave me a lot of insight on whats new. I was able to see all the new equipment, products and so on. It also gave me a chance to touch base with the people I deal with on a national level. There is no way to keep up with all the new things coming out unless you keep up with it. Nice having everything in one place.
 
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Joined Oct 31, 2012
I love going to trade shows. New products, new people, old friends. I've met people and businesses back when they were just getting started and who are now industry stalwarts while others have come and gone. I've found all kinds of new products large and small- food, kitchen and building equipment and services. . New ideas and concepts of every kind. They are a great way to open your eyes to other ways of doing everything. Especially fun if the show is held in a large city some distance away, Great excuse for a road trip.
I try to never have "Buyer" on my name tag. Did that once, no one left me alone. Better to be a simple worker so you can look without interruption.
A friend taught me to do the Trade show walk upon arrival. Meaning you walk without stopping through the entire trade show once. Take note of any booth you really want to visit. Then once you've seen and know where everything is, you return to those booths you really want to spend time at.
I haven't been to one in a few years. Time I went back.
 
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Joined Jan 19, 2014
Never been to a national show although we're considering Chicago this May. We do the New England show in Boston every year and a few vendor specific small local shows when we can. Nothing replaces the ability to taste, see, smell and feel actual products quite like a trade show. I've found new produce vendors, bread distributors, uniform suppliers, and paper goods companies that we never would have found otherwise. It's rare that we walkaway without a few new ideas at least for new products, techniques, or suppliers. And as others have said, there's no better way to network with both suppliers and other restaurant owners and chefs.
 
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Joined Apr 25, 2017
We love trade shows. I really like being able to see, taste, and handle things in person. The shows are a great chance to do that as well as talk to suppliers about odd requests, those seem to go better in person.
 
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Joined Sep 26, 2017
I try to go to as many trade shows as I can every year. You get to see new products (equipment, food, gadgets) and a lot of times, can get great deals on stuff you have been wanting but cannot afford at full price.
 
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Joined Jan 11, 2018
I am the Chef for Thermodyne and American Griddle. We are always at the NRA show in Chicago every year. I like these shows because it gives chefs an opportunity to look at new and exciting things. I do agree though that Pushy salesman can ruin it for people.
 
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Joined Oct 31, 2012
Thanks to this thread, I'm now planning to be at Jacob Javits next month on the last day of the show. I can't wait.
 

nicko

Founder of Cheftalk.com
Staff member
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361
Joined Oct 5, 2001
I am the Chef for Thermodyne and American Griddle. We are always at the NRA show in Chicago every year. I like these shows because it gives chefs an opportunity to look at new and exciting things. I do agree though that Pushy salesman can ruin it for people.

I was going to recommend this same show. It is not what it was 15-20 years ago but it is still a great show worth attending. What I mean by that is the cost at McCormick place where they hold the show is so high that many vendors don't go simply because it is not worth it. Still the culinary competitions are great.
 

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