Day Thirty-Nine: Walking the New York Restaurant Show March 6, 2016

I am finding more and more that the professional shows are getting smaller and quicker to walk through. As part of my job as a college professor, I attend the shows to keep up with the latest trends in the industry. The New York Restaurant Show is one of the three shows I like to attend for professional reasons. The show is a showcase of all the new trends in the restaurant industry and all the new technology that is coming out. There has been a vast improvement in the purchasing, ordering and managing of a restaurant and the technology today is marrying all three systems from the waiter, to the cook, to the manager and purchasing director. Even with all this new technology and innovations in furniture and decorations, the show keeps getting smaller every year and like the Hotel Show later in the year is a fraction of the size it was pre-2008. The good news is that they are slowly introducing the food vendors back in the show and that has made a difference in the number of people that I saw in that part of the show.

Technology keeps changing in the field. Everything is going based on the ‘cloud’, which can be a little scary because what do you do if the power goes off and the lights go out. One company that really stood was a company named “Toast”, which is Restaurant POS & Management System.

Their technology is interesting that you can marry both the waiter’s ordering system through tablets set up to the main system as well as being to able to not just able to adjust inventory through the dining room ordering but through how much food is cooked and then it lets you know what to order from your supplier as well as it lets you know what your best sellers on the menu. This is the trend right now in restaurants. I remember when we had to know it by POS sheets and past history as well as we had to do it all by hand. (www.Toasttab.com).

Passing by all the furniture and hardware vendors I made my way towards the end of the show where the new suppliers booths were located. There were some new products that were worth noting.

Pure Genius Foodservice had an interesting tasting product for health conscious customers, brownies and blondies made with a secret ingredient, beans. These desserts are gluten-free and vegan, under 200 guilt free calories with no nuts, no soy and no GMO’s. There are also made in a kosher, allergen-free facility. These come fully baked and frozen. All you have to do is thaw and they are ready to cut and sell. They come in Deep Chocolate and Chocolate Chunk Blondie. They are a very tasty dessert. (sales@puregeniusprovisons.com).

Another product that stood out was Grown-Up Soda (Gus) that is made with real juice and natural extracts, cane sugar, no preservatives, are kosher, gluten-free, non-GMO and can be easily used for cocktail mixers. Some of the flavors that stood out were the Dry Valencia Orange, the Dry Meyer Lemon and the Dry Cranberry Lime. These beverages delightful flavor to them and a wonderful fizziness to them. They might be refreshing on a hot day. (info@drinkgus.com)

Another beverage that stood out at the show was Bruce Cost Ginger Ale. Bruce Cost is a well known Asian themed chef who opened Big Bowl and Wow Bao in Chicago and brought the recipe of the fresh ginger ale with him. In 2014, he opened his own factory in Bushwick, Brooklyn. (Twitter @BCostGingerAle)

Some of the stand out flavors were that I tasted were the Passion Fruit and the Pomegranate. I found them fruity and flavorful and have a nice fizziness to them as well. They would be nice paired with both Asian and spicy Mexican.

I was impressed with Natural Cabana drinks. These were truly refreshing and would be perfect to drink on a hot day. These are made with 100% natural fruit flavored juices and natural lemon juice. They are sweetened with a combination of pure cane sugar and the pure sweetness of the Stevia leaf. The Stevia plant is a herb that produces a natural sweetness without the calories or carbohydrates. The flavors I tried were the raspberry, blueberry and the mango. They even let me sneak out a blueberry to enjoy on the way home that did not last one block once leaving the show. (Pulse Beverage Corp. 720-382-5476).

One of the snacks that stood out were Kitchen Table Bakers Parmesan Crisps. These pure cheese little crisps had a sharpness and snap to them. They would be great on a salad or just munching out of the package. There is a distinct zing to them when you bite into these crisp little snacks. (KTB@KitchenTableBakers.com)

Desserts stood out at the show as well. Allie’s GF (Gluten Free) Goodies were delicious and it was interesting talking to Allie herself. She is a AllerTrain certified baker who whips up cakes, cookies, brownies and tarts. She can make soy-free, low glycemic and Fod-map options upon request. Her facility is nut free as well. Allison Luckman created the business due to her and some family members having health issues to lactose intolerance and allergies to eggs and gluten. These tasty desserts satisfy any sweet tooth. Some of her standouts included her chocolate chip and banana buddies. (www.Alliesgfg.com)

Jersey Cookie Girl is a tasty and whimsical product in which the cookies are beautifully decorated cookies in various shapes, sizes and colors. Her face cookies and animal shaped cookies will be a hit at any child’s or adult’s party as well. They are almost to good to eat as each one is its own piece of art.(www.jerseycookiegirl.com).

Another beautifully decorated dessert that stood out was 2 Chicks with Chocolate chocolates that looked to good to eat. These colorful chocolates each had a unique hand-painting on them and were not just candies but each bite was a piece of art. These would make a great gift to any artist at heart and the perfect host gift. (2chickswithchocolate.com).

The show was not a total loss as there were many standout innovators but the show has gotten so small in comparison to previous years that I am beginning to wonder if they should just merge it with the Hotel/Motel Show and show all the products at one show and bring back a bigger food presence to compliment the items being shown to run a proper hotel or restaurant. It is just a thought.

Places to Visit:

The New York Restaurant Show is every March

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