Magazines Archives - 2008 July

Restaurant show unfazed by economic slowdown in the US
Story 4 - NRA Show Overview

Not even a recession in the US could turn away more than 71,000 visitors from the National Restaurant Association’s annual Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, held from 17-20 May 2008 at the McCormick Place in Chicago. RETAIL ASIA’s Jennee Grace U Rubrico joined the throng and got a first glimpse of new products and future trends.

NOT even the slump in the US economy could stop the National Restaurant Association (NRA) from staging a soldout trade show this year, the third time in a row that it has been fully taken up.

At the annual NRA’s Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, the 621,000sqf exhibit space was fully booked, with more than 2,200 exhibitors showcasing their products and services to 71,500 industry professionals from 115 countries.

In an interview with RETAIL ASIA, NRA senior vice-president for convention Mary Pat Heftman said that the most recent instalment of the the show exceeded expectations. “It’s been outstanding. We had a sold-out show that’s bigger than it’s been in the past decades. We’ve had international guests
from over 100 countries,” she said.

She noted that trade visitors flocked to the NRA show because of its value proposition. “What
makes it unique is that it’s about the future — we talk about trends and they get a first glimpse of [newly launched] products,” she elaborated.

Heftman admitted that the slowdown in the US economy stemming from the mortgage sub-prime
crisis might have weighed on the show, but added that it was felt more in terms of the number of people being sent to the expo rather than on the companies’ support for the event.

“It’s not that the companies didn’t come, but that they might have sent fewer people. It’s understandable that folks’ budget for travel tightened a little bit,” she said, “... but the commitment is

“Trade shows are the only venue for buyers and suppliers to get together ... nothing takes away the value of face-to-face contact and to try to really reach out to partners to find solutions.”

Dr Dewitt Ashby, director for trade shows at the US National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, noted that group contingents have not been affected by the economic slow-down. He said: “We’re about the same size as last year’s. Maybe it will be more of a factor next year, but not this year.”

The NASDA-sponsored American Food Fair pavilion’s exhibitors showcased all aspects of national and regional cuisines and speciality foods. The show attracted many international visitors, of
whom 181 were from China. NASDA, Dr Ashby said, facilitated the Chinese group’s visa processing. “We also have visitors from Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.

“The total number of registrants seem similar to last year’s,” he added. These trade visitors, Dr Ashby said, were either importers or “people from the market who have a lot of potential buying power”.

Among the states that showcased their goods under the NASDA banner were Michigan, Illinois, New York and Minnesota, which Dr Ashby said are “very strong” exporters to Asia (see related story, US firms keen on Asia).

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2008 Jul Stories:

Let the Games begin - Beijing Olympics: Faster, higher, stronger merchandise opportunity for Asian retailers?

Certis CISCO provides holistic solution to prevent loss for retailers

2007 a good year for retailers despite changes in world economy

Restaurant show unfazed by economic slowdown in the US

Vietnam dislodges India as world's most attractive market for modern retailing

Cost-conscious US consumers head for discount stores during tough times

Escalating food prices influencing consumers’ spending habits

Study sees ample e-tailing opportunities in China

Retail trends in Asia-Pacific

Strong commitment to food industry resonates throughout Thaifex

Food safety and hygiene at forefront of the FMI Show

The importance of secure power
in the retail industry

THE RETAIL ACADEMY OF SINGAPORE CERTIFICATE AWARD 2008 - Retailers arm staff to take on challenges ahead

Nokia does black to evoke sense of elegance for handsets

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