Never been to foodservice’s premier annual event? No sweat. The team at FSR has you covered. Here are some tips to make the best of your inaugural trip to McCormick.
Check out the full NRA Show schedule. Start with your top picks and then work your way down your own priority list. Overwhelmed by the girth of programming? Here are our top picks.
While a detailed game plan is vital, so too is room for flexibility. One of the best parts of the show is alighting on something you didn’t expect to find, be it an exhibit, person, or presentation. Build in time to walk the show floor.
At 2.6 million square feet, McCormick Place is the nation’s largest convention center. Be fashion-forward, but not at the expense of your ability to get around. Band-aids aren’t a bad idea, too.
It shouldn’t come as a shock that a restaurant industry conference has no shortage of food. To that end, be sure to pace yourself lest you need to make a beeline for Pepto at the First Aid station (it happened to one of our staffers).
Just because you bought tickets to the BAR exhibit doesn’t mean you need to start your day with a Bloody Mary. Wait until you’ve checked off your more important engagements before imbibing.
WiFi and cellular service has increased significantly in recent years, but with more than 60,000 people vying for a connection, it can still be spotty. Have a meeting location set with colleagues ahead of time should the network fail you.
Even if the NRA Show’s proprietary app doesn’t house your itinerary, it can be handy for last-minute schedule changes and exhibit layout.
McCormick is not to be underestimated in either its size or its ease of navigation. Exhibit numbers (located on the floor) can be easily missed, and special presentation areas seem to follow no rhyme or reason in their numbering. Allow yourself plenty of time to make your next engagement.
They can be found in the hallway between the North and South Hall and are more than happy to help you get around.
Each day when the show lets out, traffic clogs in the immediate vicinity. If that taxi or bus queue looks especially daunting, walk a few blocks down to increase your chances of catching a Lyft. Or if you’re in need of some fresh air, walk a mile to the Cermak-McCormick Place stop on the L.
For many, downtime is nonexistent at the NRA Show, making sleep all the more important. Don’t brag that you can run the floors by day and party at night, because that momentum flags after two days and you’ve got four total. Remember: It’s a marathon, not a sprint.