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MRA Report: There’s Still Time to Sign Up for 2017 Conference



Hopefully you’ve already added October 5 to your calendar as the date for the 2017 Hospitality Conference and Expo at RiverCentre in St. Paul. We’re excited about the theme for the event, Learn–Discover–Connect! In keeping with this theme, there is an exciting new feature called Connection Corners.  Not surprisingly, given the name, the three interactive learning spaces are in the corners of the exhibit hall. Yes, the room does have four corners, with the remaining space being used by the Expo Stage, sponsored by Reinhart Foodservice. Each of the Connection Corners will provide scheduled programing on one of three themes: marketing, technology and workforce. There will be short presentations followed by questions and, most important, robust discussion. The goal is to provide an informal and effective forum for attendees to interact with each other and with knowledgeable operators and vendors. Our thanks to Clear Sight and Sound for sponsoring the technology Connection Corner. 

Big news!  US Foods will have an exciting new role this year. A customized version of their award-winning Food Fanatics Live will be an exciting added ingredient for our event. Come ready to see how US Foods helps you make it with ideas to inspire your menu, attract more customers and optimize operations.  Our heartfelt thanks to US for their support and for this big commitment.  We will have more exciting details online at www.hospitalitymn.org/expo.html.

Our thanks also to Ecolab for becoming a Gold Sponsor of the event.  There support and the information and new ideas they contribute are much appreciated.

Other opportunities include:

Keynote address by Gavin Kaysen, owner of Spoon and Stable and Bellecour;

Nine seminar sessions on topics of interest to the industry;

Interesting programs and demonstrations on the Expo Stage;

More than 125 exhibits on the Expo floor.  For many of these companies this is their only Minnesota trade show this year;

“Last Call” opportunity for an adult beverage and great networking with new and old industry colleagues.

Detailed information is online at www.hospitalitymn.org/expo.  The event is open to those in the hospitality industry and admission is free. We encourage pre-registration. There are still exhibit and sponsorship opportunities available for companies that want to gain enhanced exposure to the industry. 


One of the many benefits of being a member of the Minnesota Restaurant Association is an automatic and free membership in the National Restaurant Association. A great value provided by the NRA is its comprehensive industry research.  The 2017 State of the Industry report (formerly called the Restaurant Industry Forecast) was published recently. The 100-page document is packed with information on the outlook for sales, the economy, workforce, technology and menu trends. 

The NRA's research is the most authoritative source for restaurant industry sales projections and trends. It is based on analysis of the latest economic data and extensive surveys of restaurant operators and consumers. Some of the key points are:

Total industry sales for 2017 are estimated to increase 4.3 percent compared to 2016. The increase is 1.7 percent when adjusted for inflation. This is up slightly from a 1.5 percent inflation adjusted increase in 2016 over the preceding year.

Sales at fast casual and quick service restaurants are estimated to increase faster than sales at table service establishments. The estimated gains are 5.3 percent and 3.5 percent respectively, not adjusted for inflation.

Consumers are increasingly interested in new menu options and in new ways of interacting with restaurants. Mobile ordering and delivery are part of this emerging trend.

The report is free to members of the Minnesota Restaurant Association or for $325 to non-members. If you need your membership number and password, just email angie@hospitalitymn.com for the information.


The Minnesota Restaurant Association is excited to announce the launch of our online Vendor Directory. This new tool is a convenient resource that you can use when you are looking for products and services. The information is organized into more than 90 categories to make searching easy and convenient. The online guide lists all of our allied members, the services they provide and their contact information. You can find the Vendor Directory on our home page under the resource tab or visit it directly at web.mnrestaurant.org/search 

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