The National Restaurant Association celebrated it’s 100th Show this month in Chicago and exposed the restaurant and culinary industry to another year of new food technologies, trends, and dining services. With over 40,000 attendees, the NRA Show offers an overwhelming amount of samples, pours, and food novelties for everyone. We came across small footprint appliances, smart prep tables, innovative cooking tech, and other noteworthy trends. Read below for all of our NRA Show Highlights.
Meet Penny, the robotic food runner that stands a few feet tall and designed with artificial intelligence. Penny is one of the recipients of the 2019 Kitchen Innovation Awards and rightfully so. The robot can easily balance trays of drinks and food from kitchen to table, all while maneuvering smoothly in a crowded setting. With Penny’s help, servers will be able to focus more on their customers with face to face interactions and spend less energy running food to and from the kitchen. Businesses can test out Penny as an employee with a one-month pilot before committing to a subscription.
Unrivaled Cooking Power
Alto-Shaam’s versatile and powerful vector ovens brought the heat to this year’s Show yet again. The H-Series is small and with no exhaust hood it is ideal for compact kitchens that still need big production. The F-Series are built for high volume cooking and include hotel pans making a huge leap in capacity. All vector ovens, F or S, come complete with waterless operations saving on maintenance costs and risks, structured air technology (no “hot and cold spots”), and the ability to cook several different foods without losing flavor or quality.
Design Innovation Award winner, L2F Smart Prep Table, is an innovative solution to increase food prep productivity and efficiency using advanced technology. The proprietary pro-cam system projects instructions on the table and uses a 3D sensing camera to ensure food is prepared by the chef’s instructions. A customer places an order and it is directly fed into a step-by-step AR projection that the employee can then follow.
Hatco Handles Any Kitchen
Hatco has been a leader in the food service industry for nearly 70 years with their vast line of equipment that ranges from fry stations, built-in stove tops, lamps, cabinets, and toasters. Their induction warmers are designed with elegance and feature the patented Hatco Palletti™ heat ensuring lasting quality of a variety of foods. Seen below, the Countertop Daisy Chain Induction Warmer uses low wattage allowing up to five units to be functioning through one outlet while being flame-less and ultra thin.
Avery Dennison’s tabletop Monarch Printers are durable enough for any deli and are versatile enough for any industry; from food, to retail to manufacturing. Compared to other systems, the Tabletop printers can print, encode, cut, and stack twice as much and at 200-300% faster speed. The ADTP™2 EcoCut Solution feature is simple and produces face cut, application ready labels resulting in increased productivity.
Reimagining the Kitchen
Unified Brands’ booth took on a colorful designer spin with their brainstorm cubes. The drawings explored the company’s slogan in the form of cooking, business, and tech in the restaurant industry. Their portfolio includes products from top notch brands such as Groen, Randell, Avtec, A la Cart and Power Soak . Unified as one of the local companies at the NRA Show and they continually exhibit new food prep technologies. For example, Groen’s braising, grilling, steaming, and cooking are all possible with the new electronic controls
on the their Pans and Steam Kettles.
Turbo Sweeping System
Bissell Power Sweepers easily take on any mess. Post concert, festival, party debris like cans, bottles and food scraps are easily swept up and rolled over. The 5.3 gallon container on the BG355 has a stand up storage design and two front brushes that rotate in opposite directions mowing down debris in front of the sweeper. The bottom brush roller grabs any left over fine particles resulting in a clean floor in minutes.
Affordability Without Losing Quality
Hobart debuted their affordable, energy saving warewasher, The Centerline™, this month. The warewasher features a heavy-duty mixer and undercounter dishwasher, the same quality and performance as their premier line, but without the advanced technology and extreme-volume capabilities. The Centerline™ is perfect for a customer with varying needs and lower volume.
Unox’s combined oven can do it all: grill, fry, roast, brown, smoke, and cook to a name a few. With MIND.Maps™ technology, the oven removes humidity, generates steam (saving energy and water), and uses high flow reversing fans to decrease cook time. The compact version is just as capable but works best with small kitchens, quick service restaurants and convenience stores.
Uber Continues to Increase Deliveries
Uber Eats was welcomed back again this year to the NRA Show. The ride share company launched their delivery services in 2015 and encourages restaurants to partner with them in hopes of leveraging their kitchen capacity and capabilities. With more access and drivers, deliveries become faster, more efficient, and hopefully benefit the restaurant and city overall.
Food Delivery Perfection
CookTek’s ThermaCube Food Delivery System maintains temperature and humidity ensuring customer’s food never gets cold, soggy, or loses flavor. The system uses induction charged natural convection trays to keep hot air flowing and the VaporVent™ eliminates any resulting condensation. With one charge the food temp stays for 30 min.
Design + Development in the Kitchen
Morelloforni’s wood ovens are designed with 50 years of research, design, and development. Since 1969, the company has been manufacturing a diverse range of pizza ovens. The Range FWR (left) is a rotary wood oven with a gas heated bedplate creating an authentic Italian flavor. The design is a cupola mosaic finish of natural stones and is hand-made.
Touchless lid dispensers from LID Boss are the hygienic answer to wasteful, contaminated lids in coffeehouses and restaurants. The lids remain untouched and fully contained in the tower until engaged by the user. The system features interchangeable options that let the customer customize the LID Boss for hot beverages, small and large conventional cold lid options.
Eliminating Lines with Apex
Apex Supply Chain Technologies have been “game-changers” for three decades and their most recent innovation is their Order Pick Up technology. Integrating easily into existing kitchen management, app, e-commerce, and inventory systems make the addition of Apex tech a welcomed improvement for take-away workflow. For example, the AnyWhere™ Mobile Pick-Up Solution is a fast way to keep stadium and arena customers happy and back to their seats, with food, in minutes.
That’s A Wrap!
This year’s NRA Show was full of great finds, great food, and even better products. The food industry continues to impress us and we’re excited to see what new designs and trends emerge for 2020. Thank you for reading and have a great summer!