I recently attended The NAFEM Show 2019 and saw the good, bad and ugly as far as booth design. It’s true that foodservice equipment can sometimes look like the proverbial “stainless steel graveyard,” but there are certainly strategies you can employ to make your equipment more visually appealing. Here’s some advice based on my recent experience at NAFEM.
1. Keep it open
Open booth spaces are far more inviting than those that are closed or cluttered. Remember that you want visitors to be able to come into your booth. Sometimes less truly is more. While it is helpful for potential customers to see your equipment in action, be intentional about what pieces you bring to the show and make sure you allow room for potential customers in your booth.
Good example: Frozen Beverage Dispensers was open, with plenty of room for interacting with visitors, and even looked like the beverage counter at a c-store.
2. Use motion to entice visitors
Some of the most compelling booths were those with running water or that had their equipment in motion. Some products were running with the tops off, doing two things: showing what the product does while also piquing visitors’ interests.
Good example: T&S had a pre-rinse unit operating sink that visitors could try out right at the booth.
3. Have a plan for color
Another marketing tactic is to incorporate some color into your booth, whether through signage, design or even equipment. This color technique can be extremely compelling, attracting visitors’ attention, but if done poorly can have the opposite effect. Some brands, for instance, used color but weren’t consistent or clashed with their branding colors. Make sure you have a design team that’s thinking through every color, how it’s interacting with other colors and that it’s on brand.
Good example: Ovention’s bold colors on their equipment really drew the eye.
4. Be true to your brand
Speaking of branding, with a limited booth space, you should make sure every single element, aspect, nook and cranny adheres to your brand guidelines. Don’t, for example, place a plant just to hide some cords if it doesn’t coordinate with the rest of your booth design. If you have chef-led demos, don’t make them loud and rambunctious if you don’t want to associate your brand with loud and rambunctious. Think about every single, tiny aspect of the booth and how that reflects on the brand you’ve painstakingly built.
Good example: MEIKO emphasized the “clean” brand attribute in every part of their booth design.
5. Invest in visually appealing food
Manufacturers invest a significant amount of money in their booths, in shipping equipment, in staffing and training, and in marketing design and materials. But spend just a little more and invest in decent fake food. Displaying food that looks like it belongs in a child’s play-kitchen will not give your brand the best impression (see no. 4) or entice visitors to purchase your equipment. Real food is, of course, the best option, but realistic-looking faux food is a good second choice. Especially with competing booths at tradeshows, remember that presentation is so important.
Good example: Even though it wasn’t available for sampling, LTI had real food on display to help visitors imagine their equipment in action.
Did you attend The NAFEM Show? What design takeaways do you have?