Emerging Concepts

Get Inspired: Restaurant and Restaurant Tech Events to Attend in 2024

Are you ready to raise the bar this year? There’s something about starting a new year that fills people with inspiration, hope, and energy! Now, the trick is to stay inspired throughout the coming year. 

One way to accomplish this is by attending the many events found in our industry. From the Bar & Restaurant Expo to the FSTEC Conference, you’ll find more than enough gatherings to help keep you engaged, up-to-date, and excited about this sometimes challenging career path. 

Let’s look at some of the events we can expect in 2024 so you can start putting them on your calendar! Some of these events offer early bird specials, which means the sooner you commit, the more you save.

ICR Conference: January 8-10

You’ll have to be quick on your feet to attend the ICR Conference in Orlando, FL, this year. And if you haven’t received an invite, you’ll need to request one. This event is about creating connections and discovering the latest trends and financial strategies in restaurants, restaurant tech, food and beverage, retail, and other industries. Some of the presenters in the restaurant industry include Darden Restaurants, Inc., First Watch Restaurant, Inc., and Dave & Buster’s Entertainment, Inc. 

IFA Annual Convention: February 17-20

This year, the IFA Annual Convention is at the Phoenix Convention Center. This gathering is for those in the franchising community and attracts about 4,000 attendees every year. It’s the place to learn the strategies of successful franchises and wander through the many exhibitions in the vendor exhibit hall. A few of the 200-plus exhibitors include BizBuySell, Corporate Image Group, and Franchise Altitude. The International Franchise Association (IFA) is the largest membership organization for franchisors, franchisees, and franchise suppliers.

MURTEC Total Intelligence: March 11-13

The Multi-Unit Restaurant Technology Conference takes place at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, where restaurant technology executives will explore Total Intelligence. According to MURTEC, Total Intelligence is about the “thoughtful pairing of technology with human intent, emotional connection, ethical consideration, and tribal brand knowledge.” The keynote speaker, Will Guidara, is the author of the best-seller Unreasonable Hospitality and a hospitality authority. The Restaurant Technology Network’s Start-Up Alley is a competition where the best restaurant technology start-ups vie for a spot to show their solutions live at MURTEC.

Bar & Restaurant Expo: Unlock Your Profit Potential: March 18-20

Taking place at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Bar & Restaurant Expo is the place to go for entrepreneurs looking for additional streams of revenue and innovations in food and beverage. Over 13,000 attendees pack the center, many in search of strategies to maximize their profits in 2024. The Expo Hall is where you’ll sample the latest trending flavors in food and beverages. You can also head over to the Shake it Up cocktail competition. From networking opportunities to VIP workshops, this expo explores how to enhance your bottom line.

The National Restaurant Association Show: May 18-21

The National Restaurant Association Show is open to restaurant, food service, and hospitality professionals and is the largest gathering of food service professionals in the Western Hemisphere. This year, it’s happening at McCormick Place in Chicago. Some highlights include the 1,800 suppliers and exhibitors on the trade show floor and inspiring speakers, including the chef, restaurateur, and humanitarian José Andrés. You’ll also experience culinary and beverage demos from top celebrity chefs, culinary leaders, and mixologists. And, of course, there’ll be time for networking and socializing.

FSTEC: September 16-18

If you’re interested in the latest restaurant technology, the FSTEC Conference at the Gaylor Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine, TX, is for you. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, technology in the restaurant sector is taking on a life of its own. Yes, we were pushed into the high-tech world out of necessity a few years back, but now it’s no-holds-barred. Here, you’ll discover the latest tech innovations and insights in data, AI, operations, and creating unforgettable customer experiences.

Restaurant Finance & Development Conference: November 11-13

The Restaurant Finance & Development Conference is, in a nutshell, the financial conference of the year suited for operators, owners, and financial experts in the restaurant industry. It’s the place to meet the top lenders and investors, buy and sell restaurant businesses, make invaluable contacts, and attend financial workshops. This year, it takes place at the Fontainebleau, one of the newest luxury hotels in Las Vegas. Educational sessions cover finance, accounting, technology, operations, and more. 

And we’ve just scratched the surface! Now’s the time to set your goals, expand your horizons, and set sail for an exceptional year. May these events help you reach and surpass your vision.

Emerging Concepts
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