Listen hard at the restaurant show and you can almost hear the crack of the economic freeze as it starts to break.
Aisles are packed, booths are busy, and attendees are asking for product demo’s and more information, not for another sample to munch as they scout for more freebies.
I saw franchisees and executives of a sizeable chain descend on the booth of a supplier with a $32,000 piece of technology. There was no doubt the seller was going to get the contract, which would probably run far into six figures.
Then again, the exhibitor had already sold the equipment on display. A sign identified the buyer, a high-volume independent.
A walk down the aisles devoted to natural and organic products provided a looped rerun of that scene. Operators were asking precise questions about cost and supply logistics, which meant they were there to buy.
The show is the strongest sign I’ve seen that the industry is bouncing back, hard and fast.