You know...the fun NRA!

One of the main reasons we moved FE&S' Dealer of the Year and Industry Awards Gala back to the Saturday night of the National Restaurant Association's annual tradeshow was to take advantage of the natural synergies between the two events. Since much of the E&S industry regularly comes to Chicago for the NRA's annual tradeshow, scheduling FE&S' Dealer of the Year and Industry Awards Gala to coincide with it eliminates one travel weekend for many folks who already find themselves on the road quite a bit.

I'm pleased to report that despite having a slightly larger space at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago, this year's Dealer of the Year and Industry Awards Gala sold out almost instantly thanks to the ongoing support of our platinum-level sponsors — Manitowoc, True Foodservice and Unified Brands — and the many gold-level table sponsors who stepped forward this year. More people means more fun! It promises to be a great evening and for those of you unable to attend, we hope that you will enjoy our coverage of the event in FE&S and online at

As kind of a special thank you to the foodservice equipment and supplies dealers and consultants who make the trek to Chicago, NRA has scheduled a special reception from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 6, in the show's Kitchen Innovations Pavilion. For those of you who are able to attend, this represents a relaxed networking opportunity and a chance to view all the innovative equipment that manufacturers have on display in the KI Pavilion.

For some subscribers, accompanying this month's edition of FE&S you will find a copy of our newest publication, Restaurant Development + Design. RD+D focuses with laser-like precision on the design and renovation projects of large multi-unit commercial operations. If you did not receive a copy with this issue, but kind of wish you had, go to to subscribe.

We at FE&S recognize that our Best in Class research is important to the entire E&S channel. For manufacturers, it provides feedback on what they are doing well and where they need to devote attention. For our readers — dealers, consultants and operators — the Best in Class study represents an opportunity to make your voices heard and measure your take on the industry against those of your peers and competitors. That's why we take it so seriously and ask so earnestly for your input each year.

You will be happy to learn that we have simplified the process this year in an attempt to make the survey easier and faster to fill out than ever. Some of the questions that represented "nice to know" information but were not essential to the main purpose of the study have been dropped. Plus, the tool we will use to implement this year's study runs faster than last year's version, which will save you time. This year's study consists of three easily completed portions that you will receive on three pre-determined dates.

We know that your time is valuable and we appreciate your industry involvement!