New Products, Trends, and Insights at the 2018 Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show, Orlando Florida
From new delicious products and high efficiency restaurant equipment, educational industry seminars, awards, and time saving tips, this year’s FLRA Show did not disappoint those in attendance.
Our team is always eager to learn about and discuss what is new, exciting, and trending in the food, beverage, and hospitality industries, especially in our home state of Florida. This year, our goal was to meet the faces behind the products and services, and learn firsthand what they feel is making a difference in the industry and why that matters.
Regarding industry trends and innovations, one category that has grabbed a considerably growing amount of attention over the last few years has been within the healthy food sector. This category has become more than just a trend; it is proving to become a movement. So significant is the appeal that it has inspired its own spinoff at the Healthy Food Expo, a sister show happening throughout the 2018 FRLA event.
Originally launched in 2017, Healthy Food Expo drew in hundreds of exhibitors, consultants and industry peers interested in educating the world about the need for higher standards regarding the food and beverage industry. From organically grown herbs and spices, to gluten free meat/protein substitutes, the showroom floor featured a number of brands that provide chefs and buyers the opportunity to provide their customers with the ability to eat what they want, and have more healthy choices to do so.
Another new feature to the show this year was the Food Trends Experience Area of the show allowing visitors to taste through 50 tables of various trending food options that you can discover that may be the perfect fit for your customers in your establishment.
For those looking for ways to learn more about how to run their business in a successful manner, the Foodservice Forums were organized of industry professionals that provided tips, tricks, and techniques that help owners and managers in their marketing, operating ideas, growth and profit strategies.
Some of the topics included:
- 3 Ways to Use Social Media to Attract Customers to Your Restaurant
- What Will It Take to Win Over Gen Z as Foodies?
- Drowning in Data but Thirsty for Insights?
- Serving the Next Generation’s Digital Appetite
On the efficiency side of running a restaurant or hospitality venue, software/hardware is a huge proponent to simplifying staff training, customer experiences, and inventory accounting and management. “One of the fastest ways for restaurants to go into the red is by not properly and effectively managing your inventory and productivity,” said Michael Davis, Senior Account Executive for Synergy Suite. Their technology was created to take the best features from POS, data management, and analytics, and provide an easy to use dashboard for those with the responsibility to keep the business afloat, and to manage that data to their advantage. “Our company has spent years testing, analyzing, and consulting with clients regarding the best features required to make their jobs, and the jobs of their employees, easier and more efficient.” As this can be a considerable initial investment, the results are especially good with concepts managing over five properties in-house. “Our software truly allows a business owner or management team to see the benefits over a relatively short period of time.”
Along with the uptick in plant based proteins, vegan, and gluten free products, we noted a few other flavor and food trends at this year’s show. Small batch beekeeper honey was popular at the show, with Honey Feast winning the Best New Product award in the Food Trends Experience category. Unique Florida honey varietals included Brazilian Pepper bush, Sea Grape, and Florida Holly.
Foodstiks compostable wood utensils won the Pitch the Press Best New Product for the eco-friendly way to reduce plastic in landfills, while in the sandwich space, Sweet Mesquite showcased their Texas made breads, featuring gourmet flavors like jalapeno cheddar sourdough, and sweet onion. Island Way Sorbet showed off their sorbet in a fruit shell flavors, with crisp apple a great fit for fall menus. Their biodegradable, all natural packaging means less waste, creating a positive, eco-friendly option for the dessert menu.
Overall, the 2018 FLRA Show provided any restaurant owner, whether seasoned, emerging, or simply contemplating their first venture with an opportunity to touch, taste, and learn about products, resources, and business insights to help them succeed in one of the most highly competitive industries in the country.
If you missed this year, or would like more info on what the show was about, please comment below. For more information on next year’s show, go to Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show.