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Starting the Year on a Technology Note

The National Retail Federation's annual expo will once again showcase foodservice technology.
someone using a smart phone on an expo floor

The holidays are over and everyone is looking forward to starting a new year. In the technology space, the new year begins with one of the retail industry's biggest events, NRF 2023: Retail's Big Show.

Each January, retailers and technology leaders from all channels gather at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York to explore the latest and greatest innovations. Some may be looking to kick the tires on self-checkout options, while others may be looking for better answers to workforce management issues.

One area I think convenience store operators will find particularly interesting is the show's Food Tech Pavilion. Introduced at last year's event, NRF explains that this area of the expo floor "is specifically curated for those who operate within the retail foodservice sector. It's a specialized area of the expo where professionals from IT, finance, marketing and digital technology explore new solutions to help accelerate their business."

As the lines between c-store operators and restaurants continue to blur — and more chains in the convenience channel redefine themselves as convenience foodservice retailers — innovation in foodservice technology is extremely important. Sessions in the Food Tech Pavilion this year span topics from the overall state of foodservice technology to integrating AI into your foodservice program to streamlining staff operations.

Understandably, not everyone will be able to travel to this weekend's show but, as a New Yorker, the expo is a quick ride up the West Side Highway for me, and I aim to be your eyes and ears. Stay tuned.

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