ICYMI: NRA Unique Finds for Equipment, Tabletop, and More

The cacophony of any restaurant trade show can leave you wanting more: more time to get acquainted with new products, more information to digest about new equipment, and quite frankly, more food and beverage samples. The NRA show in Chicago this past week was jam-packed with innovations, new ideas, and new technology. 

From sustainability to style, below are some of the best equipment and smallwares niche finds to amp up your restaurant’s experience and tangibly develop your brand.

Hello Table, Meet My Personal Farm

Local sourcing is one of the top ten concept trends for 2017, as identified by an NRA survey of ACF chefs. While rooftop gardens and onsite beer brewing contribute to this trend, the Carter-Hoffman GardenChef line can let you grow your own herbs and micro-greens within the restaurant. Weather, pests, and natural disasters can put a damper on restaurant gardens, but this line lets you bring the garden indoors. Its digital system is equipped with multiple setting for airflow, watering, and light. You can reap all the benefits of hyper-local sourcing and organic food with lower costs by growing from seed.  

Ventless Cooking Options With Personal Style

A past KI award winner, the EVent Series by Evo, Inc. can help any restaurant display cooking without the need for costly overhead ventilation. The electric griddle is integrated with its own proprietary downdraft system that keeps smoke and grease out of the air. Each model is equipped with an automatic fire suppression system that meets fire codes across the US and Canada. The EVent line is truly a cost-effective, plug-and-play option for any restaurant that will be adapting to display cooking. 

Announce Your Presence With Flair

Authentic, exotic spices and dishes have taken the lead in menu trends. Customers are clamoring for new flavors and chefs are more than willing to provide. For the past few years, woods and metals have adorned tabletops as the new palette for showcasing unique dishes and flavors.  Homer Laughlin’s Foundry line has finally given us the look of cast iron in a durable, ceramic form. The rich charcoal color and texture is present in each of the Foundry’s different pieces beyond the typical plate, including fry pan servers, rarebits, mugs, bowls, and more.

Beverage Service Like You’ve Never Imagined

Wood and marble are fantastic materials for creating a unique look, but are not considered food safe for the commercial industry. Service Ideas, Inc., the leader in beverage service, has developed a new way to display coffee and iced tea service while maintaining the efficiency and cleanliness of stainless steel. Using technology once reserved for the custom motorcycle industry, Service Ideas now offers hydro dipping and liquid paint applications to create the look of dark or light wood and marble on its stainless steel products. Offering 12 more preferred finishes and accepting custom patterns, it is the only resource for creating a look and a unique brand statement. As a brand-spanking new innovation, info is not available online yet; talk to your local product reps to request more information.

Shoo Fly, Don’t Bother Me

No one wants to talk about it, but flies are everywhere. Sneaking in through open doors, they can become more than an annoyance, but also a threat to food safety. Ecolab USA Inc. has developed a new LED Fly Light that uses up to 60% less energy than traditional fluorescent fly lights. With a smaller footprint and effective and discreet design, this 2017 KI award-winning product is a must. Ditch the sticky fly sticks and bait stations for a technologically advanced way to keep your restaurant safe and fly-free.  

Food For Thought

There will never be a one-size-fits-all solution for meeting trends and guest experiences. It's important to know your brand and work with your suppliers and reps to find the best equipment and products for your distinct set of opportunities. Until next year…