The Texas Restaurant Association Marketplace returns to the Alamo City in time for the city’s 300th anniversary. After more than thirty years in other cities, the event will be held on Sunday, July 15 from 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., and Monday, July 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, 900 East Market Street, San Antonio, TX 78205.

In its 81st year, and now the second largest foodservice show in the country, TRA Marketplace is primed to dazzle visitors as San Antonio continues its Tricentennial celebration. Part trade show and part educational conference, TRA Marketplace hosts hundreds of exhibitors and speakers from across the nation. Row after row of stunning and interactive displays showcase industry-leading products, equipment, and cutting-edge technology. Meanwhile, three different programming stages offer powerhouse rosters of outstanding speakers, industry experts, and culinary celebrities, serving up practical insights and valuable advice.

Thousands of restaurateurs, chefs, educators and industry executives are expected to attend over the two-day period. In addition to networking and getting incredible show-only discounts and deals, attendees will have the opportunity to sample a wide array of food and drinks, including craft beer and specialty cocktails in the designated (and highly popular) Craft Beverage area. 

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to be back in San Antonio,” says Richie Jackson, CEO of TRA. “TRA Marketplace is as much a celebration of the restaurant industry as it is a show, especially as the city commemorates its 300th anniversary. National Geographic Traveler magazine selected San Antonio as a ‘Best of the World’ pick for 2018. When you combine an extraordinary destination with TRA Marketplace, you have the perfect opportunity to see, learn, play and experience the best that the restaurant industry has to offer.”

From seasoned industry veterans to those with only a dream, TRA Marketplace will motivate and inspire. On the exhibitor side, guests will find everything from kitchen to curb, including artisan food products, linens, dinnerware, cookware, mobile technology, security, flooring, apparel, kitchen equipment, supplies and even food truck displays.

The three seminar stages, the Education Idea Center, TIPS: Technology, Innovation, Profits & Solutions, and the Cutting Edge Stage offer a wide range of topics and educational opportunities. Highlights include:

Keynote Conversation: Johnny Hernandez and Hugo Ortega – Award-winning, legendary chefs Johnny Hernandez of San Antonio and Hugo Ortega of Houston, gather for a fascinating, in-depth conversation on food, family, culture and the Texas restaurant industry.

Keynote Interview: GJ Hart and David Cantu – The newly appointed CEO of Torchy’s Tacos, GJ Hart, will be interviewed on stage by David Cantu, the Chief Customer Officer for HotSchedules. Learn what GJ’s plans are for the taco chain that started as a food truck and seems ready to expand even farther.

Foodservice Industry Insights – Join Carlos Herrera, chief economist for Coca-Cola’s North America Foodservice and On-Premise Division as he shares his insights on the impact of the economy on consumers and the restaurant industry.

Solve Your Biggest Problem: Recruit & Retain – An exclusive group of seasoned HR veterans from top brands and technology solution providers will talk through driving passionate employee loyalty, reward systems that work, and how culture can solve your biggest problem with your business. 

Food + The Future: The Virtualization of Hospitality – Virtual experiences enable restaurants to make and save real money in ways never before possible. Learn how Darden / The Capital Grille and Shula’s Steakhouses have embraced augmented reality and virtual reality in their restaurants and what opportunities exist in the restaurant space.

At the Head of the Table: Women in Foodservice Leadership – Some of our restaurant industry’s most powerful female leaders come together to discuss the current and future state of the service industry, gender dynamics in the food service ecosystem and practical strategies to implement in everyday work life.

What Makes Me Stay: Restaurant Employees Speak Up – A panel of long-term service industry employees get real on culture, communication, tools, and what makes them stay in our industry.

In addition, specialty pavilions throughout TRA Marketplace also offer an exciting previews of hot industry trends. They include:

  • Craft Beverage Garden – an oasis of new, craft beverage products.
  • Culinary Innovation Stations – a curated collection of innovative companies new to launching their products in Texas, or the restaurant industry.
  • New Product Showcase -an entire area dedicated to hot, new products.
  • GO TEXAN – an eclectic collection of Texas-grown products available for purchase.
  • Startup Showcase – a group of technology-based restaurant solutions from the startup world.
  • TRA members can enjoy an exclusive member lounge – a comfortable retreat featuring whiskey pairing education sessions, free WiFi, charging stations, sofas, and complimentary food and beverage. TRA Political Action Committee (PAC) members also have an exclusive lounge, with its own programming schedule, including presentations by Jacob Monty, of Monty & Ramirez LLP, who will speak on immigration, and Retired General Bentley Nettles, executive director of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

Proving that the show is not “all work and no play,” there will be unlimited opportunities for networking and fun with two special evening events. On Saturday, July 14, TRA’s annual Night of Excellence awards dinner and party will be held in the Hemisfair Ballroom of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, and the following evening, Sunday, July 15, is the Lone Star Bash at the Sunset Station, 1174 Commerce Street. Open to the public and benefitting the Texas Restaurant Association’s Education Foundation, the Lone Star Bash is a culinary extravaganza, this year featuring special guest Chef John Tesar of Dallas-based Knife restaurant, a four-time James Beard “Best Southwest Chef” semifinalist and “Top Chef” contestant. There will also be live music from the legendary band Jomo and the Possum Posse.

Attendees and exhibitors can navigate the show with ease, stay on top of seminar schedules and quickly find vendors and services with the TRA Marketplace app, free of charge and currently available for download on iTunes (Apple) or Google Play (Android).

TRA Marketplace tickets are $45 for TRA members, and $55 for non-members. After July 11, all tickets, regardless of membership status, are $65 general admission at the door only. Tickets for non-exhibiting suppliers are $250 for TRA Members, and $500 for Non-members.

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