NRA Show 2017 Wrap Up: The Importance of Connecting Dots in the Foodservice Industry

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One of my favorite parts about the National Restaurant Association Show is eating my yearly allotment of hot dogs. These aren't the hot dogs of my youth with (gasp!) ketchup. They're the Vienna dogs with the perfect snap. Drag them through the garden with pickles, peppers, relish, and everything else that makes a Chicago dog so great, and I'm a happy camper.

Usually the line at the Vienna Beef's NRA booth is wrapped in a complete knot. It moves quickly, but it's definitely a wait. So what does this have to do with connecting dots aside from the "line"?


When you've just entered the Chicago hot dog line in the Vienna booth, there's someone right next to you who has already waited through the entire spiral. There's always someone ahead of you, someone who has already experienced what you're about to experience.

Metaphorically, that line stretches throughout the foodservice industry. It's an old line that has been forming for decades, and connecting the dots in this industry is no different than standing in line for one of those Chicago hot dogs.

As we wait our turn, we have the opportunity to talk with the people ahead of us about their experiences at the show, in the industry, or in life. We can decide whether or not we want to invest the time and energy into a complete stranger knowing the benefits will likely be muted. We can choose whether or not we're interested in connecting the dots.

This year I made a concerted effort to bring my figurative pencil, and what I found was a hall full of foodservice companies looking for new ways to demo their solutions, share their ingredients, and have someone just stop and try their innovative new flavor. It was a hall full of companies ranging from high end ranges to free range meats just waiting to be connected.

Last year, my top takeaway was the fact there are different aspects of this industry so foreign to one another yet so ripe to work together. This year, that point was underscored just about every hour I spent on the show floor and certainly during the hours I spent off it.

So what am I getting at here?

Let's start with Google. If you've ever been inside Google, what you'll find are these small, pod-like areas called micro-kitchens. They're set up strategically between vastly different departments within the company. For example, a micro-kitchen might exist between the finance and marketing departments because they wouldn't normally interact.

The goal here is to create collaboration between those divisions, between the people who might not normally converse. They do it in a setting that includes food and beverage because these things bring us together, just like the NRA Show. The result is conversation, people connecting dots on Google's behalf.

Basically, this is a roundabout way of getting to an important reason TMC Digital Media can help foodservice companies. We're here for a reason, and a big part of that reason is to help our clients connect dots.

Yes, we provide value with our core competencies: foodservice branding, website development, lead generation, content creation, messaging, social media marketing, and sales enablement to name a few.

But we also provide value because we can connect a lot of dots from vastly different areas of the industry. To say we're big on relationships is an understatement, and we've been in different areas of the industry long enough to establish just a few of them.

At the end of the day, that means new go-to-market options for our clients with potential exposure to a whole new group of buyers. We just have to be creative, think outside the box, and be willing to work together to connect the dots.

Curious to know how we can help foodservice companies like yours? Check out our free Inbound Marketing Cookbook or you can schedule a free Intro to Inbound webinar.

Intro to Inbound


Topics: branding, content, website design, lead generation, Foodservice Websites, NRA Show, Content Creation, Vienna Beef, Hot Dogs, Chicago, sales enablement

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