I have tried to approach players in the industry with different results when trying to discuss our offering. A few months ago I realized some old face to face networking could give me different results and found the National Restaurant Association Innovation Summit, which happens every September in Austin, TX. The summit calls and brings innovators, which is exactly the type of decision makers I’d wish to engage.
But, trying to attend proved to be a very expensive and frustrating experience.
The NRA charges $10K minimum to be there and gives start-ups a booth. Another option they offer is the Start-up Alley during the NRA Show, happening every May in Chicago. That also costs thousands and requires one to set-up a booth. The alley exposes start-ups to the general public attending the show. As much as I enjoy explaining my ideas to curious people, we entrepreneurs need to engage directly with innovators. In short, neither event allows entrepreneurs to attend to network and engage with individuals face to face.
I wrote to the president of the NRA directly bringing this to her attention. In all her professionalism and charisma, I haven’t heard as of today, and I hope it changes in the future, a vision of a different future.
How have you tackled bringing new ideas to the restaurant industry? Are there conferences, groups, shows, publications that focuses on innovators and do not require thousands of dollars of investment just to pass the door?