Some of the Innovations We Found at The NAFEM Show 2019


The NAFEM Show is one of the biggest events in foodservice. Every other year, manufacturers from across the globe get together to showcase all the latest innovations in foodservice equipment and supplies, and our team at Alto-Hartley was on hand in the Orange Country Convention Center in Orlando to check out what’s new.

This year, The NAFEM Show was the biggest on record, with more than 20,000 attendees exhibiting and viewing. Many of the items we discovered were directly related to the trends and challenges we’re all seeing here in Virginia, Maryland, and the greater Washington, D.C. area, as you can draw a direct line between the challenges and the innovations.

Here’s a quick sampling of what we discovered:

carter hoffmann gardenchefLOCAL SOURCING

Yes, the hyper local sourcing trend is here to stay. As operators and ingredient sourcing look closer and closer to home, the equipment we saw in Orlando makes that even more possible. In fact, with units like the GardenChef from Carter-Hoffmann, chefs can bring the garden into the kitchen. Literally. This innovative growing cabinet allows operators to grow herbs, lettuces, and more just feet from where they are being processed for service.


Perhaps the most important thing we saw at The NAFEM Show was an even bigger effort to design food and beverage equipment with the actual chefs and bartenders in mind. There’s a holistic approach we’re seeing in F&B, with every unit designed for efficiency, while at the same time working together with other units and stations to create maximum throughput for the overall space. Imagine if a bartender or a line cook didn’t have to move around to find ingredients or retrieve needed items? That’s becoming more and more prominent, as equipment makes “zero step” bartending and self-contained mis en place stations possible.

Another solution we loved because of its design were the mobile ventilation hoods from Halton. The Halton MobiChef is a totally independent mobile cooking station complete with electric appliances. The unit is highly efficient and incorporates Halton’s experience and knowledge in the field of ventilation and emission control for professional kitchens.


Automation is coming. With labor shortages across foodservice, operators need new ways to get food to the customers as quickly and efficiently as possible. From one-touch operation to automatic cleaning, the equipment of the future will help alleviate labor issues, while at the same time making training as easy as possible. This is obviously great for operations that experience high turnover rates.

And speaking of automation, did anyone else happen to see Sally the Robot? The imagineers over at Chowbotics have put together a robot, Sally, who will make the perfect salad made-to-order. The future is now!

Stats on Sally Chowbotics

These are just a few of the trends we noticed on The NAFEM Show floor in Orlando. There were many more, of course, and we’d love to discuss them with you in our local showroom. If you’re interested in a particular trend or have a certain challenge, we may be able to help you find a solution that will allow your operation to work faster, safer, or more profitable. We can also offer you a 10 percent discount on your next visit if you find something you feel may help. We hope to see you soon!

Alto-Hartley has a full range of baking equipment and supplies. From automation to local sourcing, we can help you stay on top of the trends. Stop by with the coupon below, and receive 10 percent off your next purchase. Alto Hartley Showroom Discount for Foodservice CTA