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Agenda
Two and a half days of industry trends, data and solutions.
7:30am – 4:00pm

Registration and Information Desk

Location: Georgia Prefunction
7:30am – 8:45am

Networking Breakfast

Location: Capitol Ballroom
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: Killer Sandwiches: Thinking Beyond Sliced Bread
Location: Athens

Many of us are chefs because we don’t like following rules. Flaunting the rules can help make sandwiches killer. Killer sandwiches aren’t necessarily huge; they’re just delicious. Killer means creating combinations of flavors, textures and aromas that a person who does follow rules wouldn’t imagine. It means going beyond two slices of bread into unexplored carriers. In this session, we’ll explore the basic components of a sandwich including carriers, sauces, proteins and veggies and then reimagine what they can look like and how they interact with each other. We’ll create so virtual combinations by selecting components from long lists of choices to bring back to our own kitchens to recreate; and we’ll taste a couple of sandwiches that we think push the boundaries of convention, and will appeal to your clientele.

Speakers:

Manager, Marketing and Product Management – Foodservice,
Kikkoman Sales USA, Inc.

Foodservice and Industrial Chef
Kikkoman Sales, USA, Inc.

Presented By:
Kikkoman Sales USA, Inc.
Option 2: Building a Plant-Forward Menu with Lentils 
Location: Augusta

Consumers are continuing to move toward plant-forward eating. This session explores the latest trends driving the plant-forward movement impacting your operation. From shifting consumer eating patterns, next-gen health and wellness notions, and emerging flavors and inspirations from around the world - we’ll review the important role lentils play in satisfying your customer’s interest in plant-forward menu items. Join this exciting session to identify how to offer and execute your plant-forward strategy harnessing the craveability and plant-power of lentils. Through the eyes of consumer data and a culinary demonstration, we will explore flavor-building strategies and on-trend applications of lentils in plant-animal blends and power bowls.

Speakers:

Manager of Market Promotion
Lentils.org

Account Manager, Registered Dietitian
Datassential

Corporate Chef
Lentils.org

Presented By:
Lentils.org
Option 3: Portable Global Flavor with Smithfield Foodservice
Location: Macon

These days, hungry people on-the-go want quick and easy, but also demand food that is on trend, nourishing and flavorful. As lifestyles become more hectic and an increasing number of people eat away from home, operators are expanding their menu offerings to provide options that can be enjoyed how, when and where people want to enjoy them; that's where Smithfield can help. With our vast portfolio of Smithfield cooked products, you can create a quality dining experience in minutes. We will demonstrate how to incorporate unique trend insights, assisting you in creating global dishes that invoke an unforgettable experience for your customers “on the go”.     

Speakers:

Corporate Chef
Smithfield Foods

Presented By:
Smithfield Foodservice
9:30am – 10:00am

Networking Break

Location: Georgia Prefunction
10:00am – 12:00pm

General Session

Location: Capitol Ballroom
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?

Speakers:

Senior Strategic Advisor | Speaker
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

Presented By:
Danone North America
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. 

Speakers:

Senior Editor | Moderator
Restaurant Business Magazine and FoodService Director Magazine

Director of Sustainability
University of Michigan

Foodservice Channel Director
Mushroom Council

Senior Health Promotion Student
University of Georgia College of Public Health

Presented By:
Mushroom Council
12:00pm – 1:30pm

Vendor Fair Lunch

Location: Georgia Hall 2, 3, 4, 5
1:45pm – 3:15pm

Culinary Competition

Location: Georgia Hall 6

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.
Land O'Lakes Foodservice
Mushroom Council
3:30pm – 4:15pm

Culinary Workshops (Choose 1 of 3)

Option 1: Plants on the Plate: Ingredients for Success
Location: Augusta

What was once a trend toward more plant-based menus is now the new normal. Millennials and the emerging Gen Z’s are now the dominant influencers on menu strategy. They are demanding more plant-based options at home, where they attend school and where they work. Join the Rich’s Foodservice team, along with the culinary educators from the Humane Society of the United States Forward Food program, as they show you some deliciously innovative new ingredients that can help you re-invent your menu with delicious plant-based options. 

Speakers:

Sustainable Food Systems Strategist

Associate Product Manager, Rich Products Corporation

Customer Marketing Manager, Rich Products Corporation

Culinary Manager, Rich Products Corporation

Executive Chef
Forward Food

Presented By:
Rich's
Option 2: Lessons from Emerging Food and Beverage Channels
Location: Athens

New channels have emerged in foodservice to meet rapidly evolving consumer demands for convenient, delicious food.  This session will explore those emerging channels, from micromarkets to meal kits, fresh vending to food trucks, and more.  It will uncover how consumers are using these emerging segments, why the segments are appealing, what we can learn from them, and how it can be applied across other foodservice segments.

Speakers:

Principal, Technomic

Presented By:
Nestlé Professional
Option 3: Ethnic Food Trends Made Easy
Location: Macon

Consumers are getting more adventurous about experimenting with global flavors and ingredients—a cue for operators to dig deeper into ethnic cuisines on the menu. The Technomic 2018 Ethnic Food and Beverage Consumer Trend Report reveals that 24% of consumers are trying more unique types of ethnic foods and beverages now than two years ago. That number rises to 35% for 18-34 year-olds. Bob Sewall, EVP of Sales & Marketing from Blount Fine Foods will talk ethnic trends and how the foodservice industry needs to take note to accommodate the ever changing pallets of their consumers. Bob will walk through some new flavors that the Culinary team of Blount Fine Foods have been working on, from Mexican Street Corn to Indian Inspired Tandori Cauliflower side, this workshop is one for the senses!

Speakers:

EVP Sales & Marketing
Blount Fine Foods

Presented By:
Blount Fine Foods
6:15pm – 7:00pm

Awards Reception

Location: Capitol Prefunction
7:00pm – 8:30pm

Foodservice Operation of the Year Awards Dinner

Location: Capitol Ballroom

Recognizing the 12 winners of the Foodservice Operation of the Month as well as the winners of the Annual MenuDirections Culinary Competition. We cap off the night by announcing the Foodservice Operator of the Year for 2018.

Presented By:
Hormel Foods Corporation
40+Speakers
400+Attendees

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.