The fog of the future is finally starting to clear and some of us are seeing a way forward. We have spent the last few weeks of quarantine writing about what the retail and restaurant sectors could look like when stores reopen and that time has finally come. Businesses will begin to get back to work and supply chains will be ironed out in our new normal. There will be changes to generating new business & networking and perhaps none bigger than the loss of annual trade shows in 2020. The ICSC RECon and NRA are international industry trade shows that bring in a combined 100,000 attendees & 44,000 exhibitors and will make a major impact on the coming year. These two shows, among others, are so important for their respective industries, especially during the COVID-19 crisis and why hope is not lost even with their cancelation.

The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) is the definitive worldwide trade association for the shopping center industry and real estate. ICSC was founded in 1957 by six professionals in Chicago and they have swelled to over 70,000 members in the last 60 years. It is their self-stated mission to see that the retail real estate industry is appreciated for the work it does for economies and societies worldwide. That kind of impact is paramount as every nation across the globe faces difficulty from the pandemic. Their RECon show typically occurs in Las Vegas in May, but has been cancelled this year and the news was devastating as many use the show as a place for “deal making”. Booths at this show are typically extravagant affairs that pull out all the stops to impress and take months of work to prepare & fund. This situation has grown even more complex as reports of bankruptcy filings for companies who have struggled during the outbreak have rolled in. These financial hardships will force store closures and the liquidation of property which creates challenges as-well-as opportunities for CRE brokers. CSG’s Leading Chain Tenants database can help track down those missing leads and help find the chains that could fill the newly created vacancies.

Getting a good seat at the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show is an achievement, but keeping that seat during COIVID-19 can be a difficult affair. The Chicago based NRA is legendary for its impact on the restaurant industry for over 100 years. That longevity has caused many to look to them during this pandemic, but unfortunately due to social distancing guidelines, they have had to cancel their 2020 show. The leads generated and technologies showcased at this event go on to shape the restaurant industry for the coming year. In fact, some of the delivery and drive through technologies present at last year’s show have led restaurants through the current pandemic. Plant based meats were the rising star of 2019 and now they may have a new role. COVID-19 has disrupted the supply chain and caused meat shortages forcing restaurant chains like The Wendy’s Company to pull burgers off of menus. Plant based meats can fill the void left by shortages and keep customers from asking about the beef. There are trends emerging now that will be paramount to the survival of the restaurant industry and while the NRA is giving all 2020 participants the chance to roll over their attendance to 2021 there is still a way to stay connected. CSG maintains restaurant and foodservice databases that can get you the contact information you need to reach the chains and franchisees that would have attended this year.

Trades shows are on a temporary hiatus, but the restaurant and retail industry are continuing to move forward. Leads still need to be found and deals need to be closed. Things are starting to move now and no one can afford to fall behind. CSG’s Leading Chain Tenants and Chain Restaurant Premier databases offer the chance to pursue those leads without worrying about lost revenue due to trade show closures. Our unique platform allows leads to be pursued in a digital manner that may become the new norm in a post COVID-19 world.