AUSTIN, Texas, Aug. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Every year since 1937, restaurant owners in Texas have gathered for a meeting and convention to learn from one another and to discover new products and services. For the first time ever, the Texas Restaurant Association moved this to a virtual experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic. TRA Marketplace kicked off yesterday and is running for six days, from August 16 to 21.
"Restaurateurs and foodservice operators have been in a fight for survival these past five months," said Dr. Emily Williams Knight, President & CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association and Education Foundation. "We could have easily cancelled this year's TRA Marketplace, as so many other organizations have done with their trade shows and conferences. However, we recognized that our industry needed this opportunity to come together, to learn about new innovations and solutions and as the Texas Restaurant Association, we could lead the information sharing and take this important event well outside the Texas border. We are proud to have include our colleagues from across the United States, making this year's TRA Marketplace not only a first by being virtual, but also being National."
For the trade show portion of TRA Marketplace, attendees can choose to attend category-based brand experience sessions, where vendor companies showcase videos of their products and services before taking questions from the audience. Categories include sanitation, food and beverage, power, service and technology, and equipment. It is a curated experience for attendees, something never done before. One week ago, attendees who registered early received TRA branded swag boxes to their homes, filled full of small gifts and materials from participating exhibitors.
The week is packed with relevant education content, including sessions on alcohol to go, marketing and PR, using video for your brand, the restaurant design of the future, delivery, technology, hiring techniques, and mental and physical wellness. Also, for the first time, TRA Marketplace is hosting two sessions completely in Spanish, one from the Department of Labor on new regulations and another on health inspections.
Keynote sessions include a conversation with the senior leadership team of P. Terry's, an Austin-based concept that has fared well during the pandemic due to their minimal menu and drive-thru capability. Another includes lauded Texan chefs and owners, including Tim Love, Fermín Núñez and Sam Hellman-Mass (Suerte), Tracy Vaught (H-Town Restaurant Group), and Anne Ng and Jeremy Mandrell (Bakery Lorraine). James Pogue will deliver a keynote on overcoming unconscious bias and racism, and the week will close with a conversation between Knight and Tom Bené, the new CEO of the National Restaurant Association. Yesterday's keynote was a frank conversation on women in the workplace and the kind of support needed for all people to stay healthy and succeed in the industry.
For the politicos, Texas Tribune executive editor Ross Ramsey will be giving a keynote presentation on the pandemic and politics, and the PAC Lounge lineup is full of law makers and trade insiders, including Senator Cornyn, Congressmen Roy, Crenshaw, and Castro. The PAC Lounge is exclusively available to individual supporters of the TRA PAC and is presented by the law firm of Monty & Ramirez, partners in the Texas Restaurant Association Law Center, a resource for members of the Association.
Other featured sessions include State of the Industry from Black Box Intelligence, a conversation on the future of the restaurant industry, Consumer Insights from Coca-Cola, and Live Music at a Restaurant During a Pandemic with BMI, Stubb's Co-Founder Eddy Patterson, Lava Cantina owner Ian Vaught, and musical artist Pat Green.
It's also a week to celebrate leaders, with the Hall of Honor awards and the Texas Restaurant Awards: COVID-19, where the industry will acknowledge those who have gone above and beyond for their people, business, and community during the pandemic.
TRA Marketplace is supported by sponsors Heartland, Coca-Cola, Sysco, Ben E. Keith, Dining Alliance, Catering Magazine, and Bar Business Magazine. Community supporters include the National Restaurant Association, the Council of State Restaurant Associations, and the state restaurant associations from Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Ohio.
Attendance is free for any restaurant owner, manager, or team member from anywhere in the world. Press are welcome, and non-exhibiting suppliers may still register for $145 on TRAMarketplace.com.
SOURCE Texas Restaurant Association