Business building ideas through food & culinary
7:45am – 4:00pm

Registration and Information Desk

7:45am – 8:45am

Networking Breakfast

8:45am – 9:30am

Culinary Workshops (Choose 1 of 3)

From the latest flavors to trending preparation methods, tune up your menu with ideas, insights and inspiration from these targeted educational workshops.

Option 1: Prioritizing the Plant-Forward Menu
Option 2: Catering 101: From Marketing to Menus
Option 3: Menuing Breakfast Effectively
9:30am – 10:00am

Networking Break

10:00am – 12:00pm

General Session

Sustainability: Meeting the Needs of Today's Diners and Protecting the Diners of the Future

Sustainability is the responsibility of all members of the food community, from farmers and laborers to foodservice operators and consumers. How does noncommercial foodservice fit in? What is its unique responsibility and contribution to the growth of the sustainable agriculture community?


Senior Strategic Advisor | Speaker
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

Sustainability in Action

Best-in-class noncommercial operators discuss how they further a sustainable mission in their operations, including strategies, return-on-investment, and innovative, outside-the-box practices. 


Senior Editor
Restaurant Business Magazine and FoodService Director Magazine

12:00pm – 1:30pm

Vendor Fair Lunch

1:30pm – 3:00pm

Culinary Competition

It’s not as cutthroat as Iron Chef but not quite as genteel as The Great British Bake Off. It’s MenuDirections’ 7th annual Culinary Competition, where noncommercial chefs prepare delicious dishes from a mystery basket of ingredients, all to the tune of a ticking countdown clock. Don’t miss the excitement as your peers compete for great prizes and, most importantly, bragging rights!

Presented By:
Kikkoman Sales USA, Inc.
3:15pm – 4:00pm

Culinary Workshops (Choose 1 of 3)

Option 1: Bringing the Street (Food) into the Kitchen
Presented By:
Nestlé Professional
Option 2: The Technological Future of Noncommercial Foodservice
Presented By:
Smithfield Foods
Option 3: Putting the Mock in Cocktail: A Lesson in Culinary Beverages
6:00pm – 7:00pm

Awards Reception

7:00pm – 8:30pm

Awards Dinner


MenuDirections News

The ingredients and flavors trending at independent restaurants often inspire menu ideas at more mainstream operations. To track what’s happening now in food and beverage, Technomic examined more than 50 menus from indies across the U.S., ranging from food trucks to fine-dining destinations.

Despite a historic drop in unemployment, foodservice operators enjoyed a slight slowdown in employee turnover midsummer, with the data signaling the dawn of a trend rather than a pause from years of acceleration, according to new research.

In a departure from its fast-casual roots, Toronto-based Freshii introduced its own school lunch program for the 2018 school year.