Do you find yourself humming “My Kind of Town” or craving Garrett’s Popcorn when the calendar flips to May? If so, you’re not alone. Thousands of foodservice professionals have begun gearing up for the National Restaurant Association’s 2017 NRA Show, happening May 20 – 23, 2017, at McCormick Place in Chicago.

While the ultimate purpose of the NRA Show is to connect buyers and sellers, this industry-wide trade show also provides the opportunity for trade associations to host events to honor professional excellence. One such event, sometimes referred to as the “Academy Awards of Foodservice,” is the IFMA Gold & Silver Plate Awards. It is an honor for PROS to participate as one of the 2017 sponsors for this celebration that recognizes the nation’s top operator talent. IFMA honors operators in nine categories each year with a Silver Plate Award and bestows the Gold Plate Award to one winner.

This is a terrific event that PROS is proud to sponsor, but our relationship with IFMA goes deeper. PROS’ is a strategic partner and educator that serves IFMA members to help move the food and beverage industry into the modern commerce era.

Foodservice and modern commerce

As technology continues to change the way consumers interact with brands, we see those innovations and demands bubble up to the B2B buying process. Food industry profit will be won or lost based on the readiness of suppliers to embrace innovations that consumers already demand from other industries.

Depending on how long you’ve been in the foodservice industry, you may think that the industry is slow to adopt and adapt when it comes to technology. That is definitely changing.

Take a peek at the educational sessions listed on the NRA Show website. There are sessions like, “Opportunities and Challenges of a Digital Marketplace” and “Hey Siri: Tell Us About The Future Of Digital.” Yes, these sessions focus on the patron’s experience with the operator. But as more operators grow accustomed to delivering a certain level of tech-savvy service, they will inevitably demand it for themselves, too.

Let’s also not forget about Millennials and the up-and-coming Generation Z. For many in these generations, there is no distinguishable difference between “online” and “offline.” Depending on when they were born, there may never have been a time when they didn’t have an internet-connected, always-on device in their homes (or pockets). They will expect the industries they work in to be always-on and ready to respond in a frictionless, dynamic manner. That’s modern commerce. That’s modern life.

Let’s talk

Will you be at this year’s NRA Show? Email me at ehart@pros.com to set up a time to talk with a PROS representative about pricing science and its impact on food and beverage revenue management.