Tips for a Successful NRA Trip

Posted by Melissa Walker on Mon, 5/16/2016

Hi everyone!  Melissa here, Customer Programs Director at WyckWyre, and I am gearing up for my 4th trip to the National Restaurant Association (NRA) trade show.  As a seasoned veteran, I have some tips for vendors and attendees alike to make the most out of this great show!


Plan your route

Again, this show is massive!  It’s a great idea to plan what you’re going to cover and when. Also, keep in mind the always great lineup of speakers and events happening throughout the day, and plan accordingly.  Knowing where you’re heading and what you can see along the way can help you cover more ground in the time you have.  

If you’re a vendor and you want to scope out potential partnerships or people you want to talk to, see if you can contact them ahead of time and work out a designated time to meet.  This way you can make the most out of your (and their) time!

Are you searching for new vendors?  Scoping out the newest technology?  Having an intention set before you get there can help you stay on target and not get overwhelmed.

Vendor guides will help you scope out who is offering what, and (potentially) you might walk away with a good deal if you do business at the show.


Bring your business cards everywhere

Because of the size of this show (have I mentioned that?), Chicago is overrun with attendees.  I recommend putting some business cards in your wallet, pockets, etc. etc. etc. because you never know who you might run into!  I’ve made great contacts in the elevator at my hotel before or out to dinner, and have been glad for this piece of advice.  Also, if you want more information on a product or service but don’t have the time to chat or get your badge scanned, dropping a card can be a useful way to pass your info on quickly.  


Keep your comfort in mind: mainly shoes.

This is a great tip, because I feel like it can make a big difference in how you feel overall after a busy day at the show:

No matter what you’re doing at the NRA, you will be on your feet for most of the day. McCormick Center is enormous, and the show covers multiple floors and areas.  Do yourself a favor and wear comfortable shoes with insoles, if possible.  You may be required to wear different shoes as part of your uniform, or may want to wear something fancier (aka uncomfortable) in the booth.  If so, plan to wear different footwear to the show and change there.  Then, you’ll have something comfortable to walk around in, and save your feet.  This tip can help you stay more refreshed at the end of the trade show day, so you’ll be geared up for a great Chicago night!

Another great comfort tip: stock your NRA bag with a little first aid kit.  Pain medicine to help relieve sore feet, band-aids in case of blisters or papercuts… you might not need to use it, but you’ll be happy to have it if you do!


Come hungry!

The NRA is full of with samples galore!  There’s no need to budget for lunch, because walking the floor is bound to keep you fueled for the duration.  Unless you have specific dietary needs, you can plan to eat your way through the show.  

Also, be sure to take advantage of Chicago’s numerous, diverse restaurants.  Just be sure to make reservations (early!) where required to secure your spot!


Swing by the WyckWyre booth and meet our team!

I’ll be there, along with a few of our great Custom Success Specialists.  Come by and say Hi!  More importantly, if you’re struggling to get a handle on your hiring and recruiting processes, lets chat.  Our team is more than ready to talk all things hiring-- it’s our favorite thing to do!  (Well, besides eating free gelato at the NRA) :)


Visit us in booth 6257 to discuss your online hiring needs and we can trade tips on meeting your restaurant staffing needs, comfortable shoes, and where to find the best food on the show floor!