Sunday, May 26, 2013


The Annual National Restaurant Show blew into Chicago during its most beautiful time of year!  Well at least this year!  The tulips lined Michigan Avenue with 70 degree weather during this year's annual foodservice industry week.
TO THOSE OF YOU WHO were looking forward to Linda Duke of Duke Marketing moderating a panel at MEG and the NRA show--our apologies.  We missed you too!  Unfortunately there was a conflict.  
Industry analytics company, Technomic, outdid themselves this year by not only hosting their annual dinner event at the Ritz, but launched the Fast Casual Trends & Directions conference at the Drake Hotel on Friday, May 17th which continued as a breakfast conference at the McCormick Place Saturday May 18th.  Linda Duke of Duke Marketing was the Master of Ceremonies for the event which was put on by Technomic, and Digital Coco.
Paul Barron of DigitalCoco shared the top Social Fast Casual Brands and hosted the first annual Social Media Awards -- Panera Bread's Scott Davis accepted the award for the TOP Social Media Marketer in Fast Casual segment of the restaurant industry.
Chicago's iconic restaurateur, Richard Melman of Lettuce Entertain You, rounded out the Technomic event by sharing some of his greatness during a Q & A with Donna Hood Checca (formerly of Beverage Magazine). Melman came up with some ideas on the spot regarding the "Dinner Daypart" and became tightlipped since he can really test, try and launch any concept he wants! 
Saturday May 18th, Duke hosted the Celebration of ANX (cyber data security co.), Earthlink and the NRA's new partnership.  They will offer NRA members cyber criminal protection and training to protect their brands against customer credit card theft.  The party was on the #1 roof top bar in Chicago, ZED451, the amazing three story restaurant owned by famed Tavistock Restaurants.  Over 60 restaurant chain executives attended the four course dinner and chef's from Canada's fast casual brand, Relish Gourmet Burgers, enjoyed sitting at the bustling chef table. 
 The festivities continued throughout the weekend including the Top 100 Fast Casual Movers & Shakers Awards ceremony on Sunday evening.  Top fast casual brand executives gathered  at the Hotel Palomar to recieve their award for top 25 BEST --including Duke Marketing client, Cowboy Chicken, who moved up 17 places this year to #25.  Congrats to all the up and comers and new brands that attended!!!

Another year under our belts!  Chicago outdid itself with the great weather and flowers in full bloom!




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