How Independent Owners Get Their NRA Show Fix

Most independent restaurateurs are closely involved in their day-to-day operations. When time comes to make the yearly pilgrimage to NRA Show, leaving for even just a few days can feel like a big deal. We’re always curious about just what preparations these restaurateurs make to ensure everything runs smoothly while they’re away. So we sat down with a few veteran operator attendees to get their thoughts.

Divide And Conquer
“You have to be strategic. I select the staff that will allow us to be the most efficient at the Show. We bring six people broken up into teams of two, each consisting of one front-of-house and one back-of house team member.”

Contemporary American Restaurant Owner
Buffalo, NY

Close It Up
“We’ve been coming to the Show for a long time and it’s a big deal for us. We actually close lunch operations for two days and serve only dinner. It’s worth it to us.”

Italian Fine Dining Manager/Owner
Charlotte, NC

Trust In Your People
“We have a good staff that is very capable of running the restaurant for a few days while I’m gone. You just need to trust them and put the reins in their hands. It’s good for your sanity and allows you to better enjoy the Show.”

Fast Casual Franchise Owner
Saint Paul, MN

Handle all the details
“Get as much as possible done in advance so nobody has to worry. Orders, stocking and payments are wrapped up. We leave out phone numbers for vendors that handle drains, exhaust, refrigerator repair and oven repair. My cell phone is on at all times and I encourage my staff to call with the smallest of questions.”

Family Diner Owner
Traverse City, MI

Take it in Shifts
“We go in waves. My co-owner and I go on Saturday. Bartenders go to IWSB on Sunday and my kitchen staff goes on Monday and Tuesday. That way everybody gets to experience what’s important for them and we can still run the restaurant just fine.”

Brew Pub Co-owner
Fort Wayne, IN

Treat it like a vacation
“This trip is one of the only vacations I take each year so I plan far in advance. Everybody who works for me knows I come out to the Show every year, so they know they’ll have to cover for me in May.”

Bistro Chef and Owner
Princeton, NJ

Set Your Expectations
“You need to set expectations for what you want done and lay out priorities. More importantly, you need to manage your own. Not everything will be done just as you would have done it yourself. And that’s just fine.”

Bakery Owner/Operator
Woodstock, IL

As you can see, everyone has their own unique situation and style in making the trip to Chicago. But each finds a way because they all believe what they experience at NRA Show is important to their business. One or more of these tips may help you—or maybe your strategy should be completely different. Regardless, thousands of restaurateurs are getting ready to head here this May. Register now and join them.