Monday, May 23, 2011

A few small plates from the NRA show

Phoning it in
Coca-Cola is already working on technology that will allow restaurant customers’ smart phones to “communicate” with self-serve drink dispensers. Buying a highly customized drink could be as easy as relaying the info from a Droid or iPhone. The capability could also deepen the information a restaurant collects on consumption behavior.

So, how’s traffic?
It’s a sport to speculate on the volume of traffic on any given day at any given point on the show floor: “Traffic is great!” “The traffic sucks.” “It was great yesterday, but today? Eh.” After attending 30 shows, I’ve never heard a consensus from vendors or operator attendees

But here’s a quick gauge on the caliber of attendees. I literally bumped into McAlister Deli’s CEO Frank Paci as he walked the American foods aisle with his corporate chef, David Groll, and several other top execs. Turning a corner in to the second aisle of that show-floor area, I nearly collided with a man wearing a badge that identified him as a president of Bravo. It wasn’t clear if that organization is affiliated with Bravo Brio, the polished-casual dinnerhouse operator, or some smaller local chain that operates under the name Bravo.

I would’ve asked him but he was too engrossed in examining what was in the booths.

NRA’s Greatest Hits
So what’s the best-selling recording of education breakout sessions (most of which are taped for sale as CD or web-delivered MP3’s)?

It’s sort of the boxed set, explained the woman manning the sales booth.

The most common order, she said, was a purchase of all the recordings. That runs about $100, while individual recordings are about $25. “People figure, ‘Why not just buy them all?’” she said.

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