The Most Head-Turning Things We Saw at the 2019 National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show

Editorial Team

2 min read
The Bean at Millenium Park

Walking the halls of the annual National Restaurant Association (NRA) trade show is always illuminating – and 2019’s show was no exception. This year’s highlights suggest restauranteurs are focusing on personalization, innovative products to meet evolving customer tastes and desires, and improving operational efficiency. Let’s take a spin.

We loved the Ripple Beverage Printer, which brings “signature drinks” to a whole new level. This product can print anything from logos to selfies on beverages ranging from beer and cocktails to cappuccino.

Standout new products we tasted included Trident Seafood’s protein noodles. This “pasta” checks all the right boxes for the modern consumer: it’s low in carbs, high in protein, low-fat, sustainable and tastes great.

We couldn’t get enough of Jimmy Dean’s new Stuffed Sausage & Gravy Hash Browns. Think giant, stuffed tater-tots – so good, so crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, and so portable. Yum!

Operational efficiency was perhaps the most pervasive trend in the 2019 NRA show. Restauranteurs are keen to optimize operations in every corner of their business – from the hostess stand upfront to sparkling-clean restrooms in back.

Starting in the kitchen, H-eats Lava Gel, promises to revolutionize catering and large-scale events when kitchens struggle to prepare a big meal without overcooking it. Flame-free heat from this handy gel keeps food warm and service-ready for two hours after leaving the kitchen.

Bear Robotics promises to improve guest experience and the bottom line at restaurants with an automated food runner. Similar to a Roomba, these robots use AI to navigate a busy floor carrying food and drinks to tables. It even busses the dirty dishes after the meal.

The Giddel Toilet Cleaning Robot is self-explanatory. Who wouldn’t want it to do your restaurant’s dirtiest work?

Allied to this efficiency theme was a greater emphasis on digitization – ditching paper-and-pen in favor of integrated digital systems accessible anywhere, a concept Clover understands very well.

We talked to many restaurant owners about the value of automation to reduce labor, enable smarter decisions and delight the guest – goals we saw repeatedly addressed across the show floor. We’re excited to get back to Clover and keep helping merchants realize their goals.

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