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Thousands of Visitors and Millions of Dollars Headed to Dallas for the Texas Restaurant Show

AUSTIN, TX (June 20, 2022) –
The Texas Restaurant Show (formerly TRA Marketplace), presented by the Texas Restaurant Association (TRA), is set for July 9-11, 2022, in Dallas, Texas. A full schedule awaits the more than 5,000 restaurateurs and industry experts expected to attend, including a compelling slate of education seminars. Twin emphases on timeliness and relevance define the education offerings, covering topics ranging from workforce solutions to ghost kitchens, growing through capital investment, diversity, inclusion, and bias (DIBs), and so much more. 

Underscoring the industry’s critical role in Texas’ economy, the conference will also feature a bipartisan slate of leaders from our local, state, and federal government, including a conference keynote from Texas Governor Greg Abbott. The largest restaurant industry trade show in the Southwest, the Texas Restaurant Show is estimated to bring more than $2 million in revenue to Dallas-area businesses.

Festivities kick off Saturday, July 9 with pre-conference education, including the Capital Investment Bootcamp presented by the TRA and VRA Partners offering exclusive insights from industry experts to guide attendees through the process of franchising, becoming a franchisor, or growing a brand through capital investment, and a Diversity, Inclusion, and Bias (DIBs) Workshop led by renowned speaker and consultant James Pogue.

On Sunday, July 10, the Show floor officially opens with 500+ industry exhibit booths and back-to-back education offerings highlighted by an employment workshop from the Texas Workforce Commission; Protecting Your Business From the Unexpected; a Keynote Fireside Chat featuring Norman Abdallah of Gordon Ramsay North America, moderated by TRA President & CEO Emily Williams Knight, Ed.D.; the popular You're Going to Need a Drink for This, Part II, in which three hospitality attorneys discuss hot-button issues over cocktails the audience enjoys along with them; and Ghost and Virtual Kitchens: What's Next?

The education panels keep coming on Monday, July 11, and will include The Workforce Crunch, Part I: Immigration Reform for the Restaurant Industry; Can You Beat the Chef Who Beat Bobby Flay?, a lively conversation with McAllen Chef Larry Delgado, the only chef to triumph over Bobby Flay in Season 29 of Beat Bobby Flay; the Show Keynote: Texas Governor Greg Abbott; Dishing on Delivery, analyzing an increasingly important off-site revenue source for restaurants; and the ProStart Champion Management and Culinary Team Exposition, featuring the national champs from Ben Barber Innovation Academy, which is located in the Dallas area.

The full schedule featuring complete panel descriptions follows below.

Registration is now open.


Diversity, Inclusion, and Bias (DIBs) Workshop
July 9, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
James Pogue (JP Enterprises), renowned speaker and consultant on diversity and inclusion, believes that sustained change takes root through deep, engaging, challenging, and yes sometimes uncomfortable conversations. A regular speaker at TRA events, James has “scratched the surface” with our members over the years. Now, attendees can take a dive into the 1/2 day No-Nonsense Experience (NNE).

In this 3-hour workshop, participants will be introduced to the Diversity, Inclusion, and Bias (DIBs) Model, which undergirds much of JP Enterprises’ work. Additionally, James will review the DIBs Assessment and why it is so critical to organizational and individual growth, exploring a few of the top biases in the workplace.

Attendees will be challenged to make meaning out of the session, see how you may apply concepts to your business, and commit to taking action.

The TRA is pleased to offer this pre-conference session at no charge, and space is limited. Register today to secure your seat.

Capital Investment Bootcamp
July 9, 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Are you looking to expand your brand? Perhaps grow it for a future acquisition transaction? Or maybe with the fast-casual sector growing at such a rapid rate, you're interested in becoming a franchisee operator or expanding your franchise portfolio? Then you do not want to miss this Capital Investment Bootcamp pre-conference session.

This day-long workshop presented by VRA Partners and the TRA features key operators and capital investment firms providing insights into each area of franchising your brand, becoming a franchisee/expanding your franchise portfolio, and using capital investment to grow and expand your brand. Included in the lineup are Scott Diviney (Chicken Salad Chick), Chris Aslam (Rock Strategic), Tom Kutcher (Capital Spring), David Cary (Morgan Stanley), Sanjeev Khanna (GS Dallas Group), and Chris Reilly, Tyler McCrary, & Mark Loeffler (all of VRA Partners).

Starting at 10:30 a.m. with an introductory session, lunch will be provided, during which Scott Diviney will discuss his experience growing the Chicken Salad Chick brand. Then the group will break out into specialized sessions focused on franchising, being a franchisee, and using capital investment to grow your brand. Next, the group will come back together to wrap things up and discuss what next steps you should pursue based on your area of interest. The day will close with an exclusive cocktail reception at 4 p.m. courtesy of 99 Proof Partners, during which you can connect with potential investment partners to fuel your dreams and endeavors.

Space is limited for this incredible pre-conference event, so register today to secure your seat.

Sourcing, Hiring, and Managing Employee Chargebacks: TWC Employment Workshop
July 10, 10:45 a.m.-11:45 a.m.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and their 28 Workforce Solutions offices are a critical partner in the process of sourcing, hiring, and managing the unemployment insurance processes. Free resources like and connect those seeking employment and employers. The TRA has also worked closely with TWC to ensure that training resources and childcare support were made available at critical points in the pandemic. Most recently, the TRA and TWC collaborated to streamline the COVID-related chargeback appeals process.

This session, presented by representatives of TWC and Workforce Solutions, will address these resources and walk you through the new COVID-related chargeback process, ensuring you are aware of and access all the tools available to you as an employer.

Protecting Your Business From the Unexpected
July 10, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Insurance is one of those expenses you aren’t excited to pay, until you actually need it. TRA’s Restaurant Insurance Solutions works to not only provide members with access to the best available insurance at the best price, but also to provide resources and information to help you plan for the unexpected, often avoiding the need to file an insurance claim.

Alec Knight, TRA’s Director of Insurance, will discuss with our partners Higginbotham Insurance (Preferred Insurance Broker Partner), Texas Mutual Insurance (Preferred Worker’s Compensation Partner), and United Healthcare (Preferred Health Insurance Partner) the best strategies to ensure you are adequately protected, even for the unforeseeable.

Keynote Fireside Chat: Norman Abdallah of Gordon Ramsay North America
July 10, 12 p.m.-1 p.m.
As one of the original celebrity chefs, Gordon Ramsay is a global brand, from the chef himself to his cookbooks, culinary competition shows, and more. With the arrival of Gordon Ramsay North America (GRNA) to Dallas in 2021, the brand made its home in Texas. At the helm of this new venture is CEO Norman Abdallah, previously CEO of Del Frisco's Restaurant Group and Chairman of Triple Tap Ventures LLC (Alamo Drafthouse Cinema).

Join TRA President & CEO Emily Williams Knight, Ed.D. as she sits down with Norman for a fireside chat to discuss this new venture, the experience of introducing GRNA to the U.S. during a pandemic, and what's next for this household name.

Customer Feedback and Data: the Fuel to Drive Your Business
July 10, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
We so often use our gut in this industry — how much salt or spice to add to a recipe, when to introduce new items or raise prices — but when it comes to the big decisions, and even the small ones, having data to guide and support our decision-making process is critical in the post-pandemic world. Data doesn't guarantee success, but our chances are much better when we take into account the feedback from our customers and industry trend data to support our gut instincts.

Join TRA Chief Operating Officer Joe Monastero, OSI as he moderates a panel of the industry's leading customer feedback and trend data collection and analysis companies to discuss the new paradigm for our industry, and pick up a few tips on how data truly is the fuel to drive your business.

Maximizing Your Money: Making Today's Tech Work for You
July 10, 1:45 p.m.-2:45 p.m.
The last two years have produced a plethora of technology solutions, everything from flow-through code order and pay-to employee management and retention, to inventory management. What's the “perfect set-up”? Just as restaurant concepts are unique, so are the suite of solutions an operator needs to manage their business as efficiently as possible, ensuring strong operations and maximizing savings to improve their bottom line.

Join TRA's tech experts for a panel discussion on what today's restaurant technology solutions map looks like, how to choose the right solutions for your business, and how each software solution should integrate with others to create a strong operational environment. Bryan Solar (Square for Restaurants) will moderate the discussion featuring Ellis Winstanley (Axial Shift), Stevan Premutico (me&u), and Bobby Higdon (Heartland).

You're Going to Need a Drink for This, Part II
July 10, 2:45 p.m.-3:45 p.m.
They're back! Three hospitality lawyers and three cocktails will highlight what's trending in our industry. Continuing from last year's inaugural and highly enjoyed education session, John Gessner (Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal, LLP), Alicia Voltmer (Greenberg Traurig LLP), and Angelo Amador (National Restaurant Association) will address the key issues facing our industry, what you as an operator need to know, and how to prepare for it.

As each speaker discusses their topic, a cocktail will be served that highlights a trend in the craft cocktail world and makes each topic a bit easier to engage with and discuss. Bottoms up!

Ghost and Virtual Kitchens: What's Next?
July 10, 3 p.m.-4 p.m.
Expanding your brand through virtual kitchens, or taking on a new revenue stream as a ghost kitchen, has been an ever-expanding trend in our industry. In the almost 7 years since the first ghost kitchen opened, various models of operation have emerged, and one thing is certain: Ghost and virtual kitchens are not a fad, and in fact have supported an explosion of new concepts.

Carl Orsbourn, co-author of "Delivering the Digital Restaurant," leads a panel discussion of experts from the ghost and virtual kitchen world to discuss what's next.

The Workforce Crunch, Part I: Immigration Reform for the Restaurant Industry
July 11, 10:45 a.m.-11:45 a.m.
More than one-quarter of restaurant and foodservice employees are immigrants. Immigration reform is an especially important topic as we address the unprecedented workforce shortage challenging our industry. Hear TRA partners FWD.US and Monty & Ramirez LLP discuss today's immigration environment and the options and opportunities we may champion for the future.

Melissa Stewart, TRA Senior Executive Director, State Regions, will moderate this panel discussion on where we are, where we are headed, and what we can expect in the near future.

Can You Beat the Chef Who Beat Bobby Flay?
July 11, 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
McAllen Chef and TRA State Board Member Larry Delgado (Delgado Collective) was the only contestant in Season 29 of Beat Bobby Flay to take on the renowned chef and beat him in “Last Man Grilling.” Chef Robert Hale (Texas Beef Council) discusses this experience with Larry while he demonstrates the carne asada recipe with which he beat Bobby Flay.

After tasting Chef Delgado’s delicious, winning dish, ask yourself, "Could you beat the chef who beat Bobby Flay?"

Show Keynote: Governor Greg Abbott

July 11, 12:15 p.m.-1 p.m.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott was a critical partner to the foodservice industry during the COVID-19 pandemic and the 87th Texas Legislative Sessions. His support on alcohol to-go, grocery and bulk food waivers, pandemic liability protections, and $180 million in hospitality and tourism recovery grants empowered our industry’s survival and helped us to begin rebuilding much sooner than most states. Join us to hear a keynote from Governor Abbott about what’s next for our economy and how we can continue to work together to ensure Texas remains the best state to start and grow a restaurant.
After the keynote, TRA PAC members may visit with Governor Abbott during a meet n' greet in the TRA PAC Lounge. The TRA PAC Lounge is a booth reserved for TRA PAC contributors to unwind, learn, and network with our state’s top officials.

Dishing on Delivery
July 11, 12:45 p.m.-1:45 p.m.
While once an ancillary revenue source, post-pandemic pick-up and delivery are core to a restaurant's income strategy. Delivery in particular continues to evolve, especially with the third-party delivery bill TRA passed during the 87th Texas Legislative Session. What's the best way to manage delivery for your business today—go it alone, work with one or more third-party providers, or both?

Ben Knorr, TRA Partner and Sponsor Development Manager, will moderate a panel discussion with TRA partners Favor and UberEats, plus Delgado Collective owner and TRA State Board member Jessica Delgado on today's delivery best practices and what each operator should be thinking about when evolving their off-premise revenue strategy.

The Future of Fast Casual
July 11, 1:15 p.m.-2:15 p.m.
With fast-casual dining continuing to grow market share each quarter at a pace five-times greater than full-service and fine-dining establishments, it is clear that limited service fast-casual is currently dominating the foodservice space. The shift is not surprising, especially with off-premise growing at 20%+ year over year. Will this trend hold, and just how many new brands can the space accommodate, given the use of ghost and virtual kitchens to rapidly expand a brand geographically?

Joe Monastero, TRA Chief Operating Officer, will moderate a panel of fast-casual giants, including Geoff Alexander (Wow Bao), Clay Dover (Velvet Taco), and Carin Stutz (Native Foods) to discuss the current climate in fast-casual and what the future of this market segment may look like and how it will impact the rest of the industry.

ProStart Champion Management and Culinary Team Exposition
July 11, 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
The Texas Restaurant Foundation's Texas ProStart program is one of the largest high school culinary and hospitality management initiatives in the U.S. Each year, more than 40 teams compete for the title of State Champions and the opportunity to compete at the annual National ProStart Invitational in Washington, DC. The 2022 State Champions for culinary and management came from Ben Barber Innovation Academy in the Dallas area. They went on to place 1st in management and 4th in culinary at nationals this past May.

Come watch the students of Ben Barber's culinary and management teams exhibit their management project and demonstrate recipes from the management team's concept, which you’ll be among the first to taste.

The Workforce Crunch, Part II: Leveraging Tech to Hire, Train, and Retain Employees
July 11, 2 p.m.-3 p.m.
Our industry is facing a once-in-a-lifetime labor crisis rife with challenges, from sourcing and hiring employees to retaining them amidst a rash of job-ghosting. With predictions that 1 in 5 Americans will change jobs in the coming year, it is more critical than ever to have an effective employee recruitment, onboarding, and retention strategy.

Ben Knorr, TRA Partner and Sponsor Development Manager, will lead a panel discussion with Brian Medina (Self Opportunity), Tanner Rasmussen (Workstream), and Ellis Winstanley (Axial Shift) to discuss best practices and strategies to address the workforce crunch.

Photos Courtesy of Texas Restaurant Association: