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How to get the Most out of the NRA Supply Chain Executive Study Group

written by:Eric Graves

We couldn't be more excited to be the exclusive diamond sponsor of the National Restaurant Association Supply Chain Executive Study Group. As restaurant supply chain experts ourselves, it’s right up there with our favorite holidays. (Thanksgiving and Christmas, in case you wondered. It’s all about the food!) Since we've been to a few of these, we thought we'd offer some advice on how to get the absolute most out of your time in Orlando.

Copy the Agenda

Bookmarking the agenda is a good idea. Copying the agenda and pasting it in your phone, tablet, or laptop is a better idea. That way you're not reliant on web access to stay up to date on what’s next. We recommend EverNote as our favorite catch-all for note taking and scheduling, but any basic note taking or list building app will do. If you're new to EverNote, here’s a fantastic resource on how to get the most out of it.

Let’s do lunch!

Don’t miss lunch the first day of the study group. Take the opportunity to sit down with some new faces and start making connections. Pay attention during the sponsor introductions, and use this information to help you plan out the rest of your time during the event.

Change your routine

Mix it up a little. Try to not sit at the same table every day.  Take time during the coffee breaks to introduce yourself to others. Look for opportunities to meet up after the sessions. Remember to do more than exchange business cards. Take this chance to meet new people in your industry and ask questions. You never know who may have the answer to some of your biggest supply chain pain points.

Talk to the sponsors

Ask them if they have any resources that could be useful for you during the event. Ask if they have any special activities planned during or after the show. Who knows? You might get a free dinner at a great restaurant out of it.

Stay charged

One of the worst things that can happen in this technological world is to run out of power on your mobile device. Make sure to pack a spare charger before the show and/or bring a mobile power pack.

Grab some exercise

Find some time before or after the sessions to get that heart rate up! Taking a little time each day to get some exercise in will improve blood flow to your brain, increase your energy and stamina, and help you stay alert during the sessions. If you’re not a fan of running or lengthy workouts, we’re also big fans of Japanese “Radio Taiso” exercises which are less than 4 minutes long and can be done right in your hotel room. Try them out before you start your day!

There’s an app for that

There’s a lot to keep track of during any trade event, and we’ve been to a few. Along the way, we’ve found a few apps for our mobile devices that help us get the most out of different events in new cities.

EverNote: We mentioned this one earlier, but it’s worth revisiting. We love the ease that these little app provides in keeping us and our thoughts organized. If you like to take notes digitally, EverNote is a great way to store them.

UrbanSpoon: This is our favorite way to find new and interesting restaurants not normally on the radar. (Not that we don’t totally love your restaurants, of course!)

OpenTable: Get reservations for your dinner the easy way!

UrbanDaddy: Up for something interesting? UrbanDaddy will build your evening in a big city for you. Pick what you’re interested in and when you want to head out and see what it comes up with!

Uber: Cabs are handy, but we love Uber in a pinch. Pick your driver and see their reviews before they even arrive. It’s a great way to feel safe about who’s chauffeuring you around.

Expensify: “I love expense reports!” said no one, ever. Expensify is a nifty app that makes documenting and itemizing your expense reports a breeze.

Stay hydrated

And we don't just mean at the bar. At conferences it’s always good to have a supply of cool refreshing water nearby to keep your brain alert and keep your body performing at its peak during the event.  And if you do find yourself at the bar later, be sure to have a glass of water or two with each drink to make sure you don’t wake up with a pounding hangover the next day. Speaking of which…

Get some sleep!

A combination of lack of sleep weakening your immune system and the germs picked up through travel can make for a very unpleasant trip without even getting into the obvious problems associated with missing a few valuable Zs.

Do you have a favorite NRA Supply Chain ESG or business travel tip? Let us know in the comments. Can’t wait to see you at the session!


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