The unsung heroes of New York are (along with police and firefighters) the restaurant owners! They, along with food service, summer camp, nursing home, and other “institutional” buyers swarm to this show every year, hungry for new ideas. “Top Chef” on Bravo has taught us all about the difference between the front of the house, the back of the house, and in-the-kitchen drama. So, every year we look forward to grazing the aisles with fellow foodies and related businesses. This year’s show was especially “yummy,” and included a cool new area where small food companies could sample their stuff for buyers. Sort of the half portion concept for business! So, pull up a seat and read on. No reservations required.

Best of Show
What’s more appetizing than an appealing brand? The recruiting company Harri made attendees smile with their bright blue shirts, their great tagline, and their cheerful booth staff, which brought their message to life. If I owned a restaurant, I’d hire all my staff from them!

Speaking of happy things, we loved these Flexipans from Demarle.  Talk about mood food!

Freak Show
Although highly creative and artistic, these naked and gruesome cakes sort of made us lose our appetite, as did the scantily clad booth babes at one exhibit and the graphic depiction of bugs at another. (We realize exterminators are necessary in the business, but seeking faux critters next to food sample is always a bit of a stomach-turner).

On the Floor: Awesome Displays
Simple and powerful. This display for a consulting company (Letter Grade Consulting) lets you know exactly what they’re all about.

And, although we smiled when we saw this product name, I won’t think religious institutions are going to buy much of their packaging.

Paper AND plastic were both beautiful. Check out this amazing bag for coffee cups from Restaurant Bags. Check out these cool cups for everything from shrimp to spuds. And we love this wrapping with a message from If food could talk…
Actually, sometimes food CAN talk. Here I am, posing with my buddies.

rest bags



Peep Show
What’s lurking around the corner in new trends? Micro greens and edible and drinkable flowers from Fresh Origins, and anything gluten or dairy-free all seem to be the rage. We love this woman who invented an alternative to cheese called Daiya – that really tasted like cheese!

Can I touch your order? Technology abounds, as several companies (such as NCR) showcased alternatives to paper and pencil with systems that “feed” order directly into the kitchen.  Tap, taste, tip!  It’s all integrated!

And, despite all the industry innovation, some things never seem to go out of style. People waited patiently for free corned beef sandwiches. In New York, a deli never dies.

Show People
Kudos to the friendly Unox chef who made an inanimate object come alive with his humor and charm.  And the guys from iRest were persistent (but warm and funny) salespeople. Plus, who doesn’t love a backrub (even if it’s administered via electric shock)?

Similarly, the staff at the Beer Saver did an awesome job of explaining someone would need this neat device. (Did you know that restaurants lose up to 23% of the beer they buy due to pouring problems? Makes you want to drown your sorrows. But this neat device seems like a great investment!)

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