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9 restaurant industry events to attend in 2024

The new year is around the corner, which means it’s time to start planning for another round of the restaurant industry’s conference and convention cycle. It’s still possible to attend a few events this year, too, such as the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference next month. 

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There will be no shortage of topics to explore in 2024. Several events, which will take place across the country and attract thousands of industry attendees, have already shared agendas focusing on expansion strategies, annual economic forecasts, emerging technologies like generative artificial intelligence, and more. 

To help you prepare, Restaurant Dive has rounded up nine of the most high-profile events on the calendar for 2024.

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Restaurant Finance & Development Conference

2023 date and location: Nov. 13-15 in Las Vegas, Nevada

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Details for 2024’s event have not been announced

Focus: RFDC is a financial conference for restaurant owners, operators and financial executives. Attendees can learn about key trends in restaurant business and capital markets during educational sessions covering topics including segment economics, accounting, technology, strategy and restaurant operations. 

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Stats: This year’s event includes nearly 50 educational panels and breakout sessions featuring financial experts, analysts and restaurant executives. 

2023 agenda: Topics include a 2024 restaurant industry forecast; how extreme weather could impact operators; an outlook for capital markets in 2024; coffee industry market shifts; restaurant automation; navigating franchising partnerships; and how to use generative artificial intelligence. Speakers include Patrick Doyle, Chairman of Restaurant Brands International; Brett Schulman, CEO of Cava; John Butcher, CEO of Caribou Coffee; James McGehee, CFO of Dave’s Hot Chicken; and Leigh Burnside, CFO of Little Caesars. 

ICR Conference

Jan. 8-10

Orlando, Florida

Focus: At this invite-only event, major public and private companies share updates on their business models and hot industry topics with the financial sector. Attendees include investors, private equity professionals, analysts and members of the media. 

Stats: This year, the conference featured a 2023 Retail & Restaurant Outlook. Over 27,000 people attended the show, which featured panels by over 150 public CEOs and CFOs, and over 100 private firms. 

Agenda: A list of presenting companies will be posted in November, and the conference schedule will be posted in December, on

IFA Annual Convention 

Feb. 17-20

Phoenix, Arizona

Focus: This event is designed to help franchisees hone their long-term growth strategies. 

Stats: IFA’s conference attracts around 4,000 attendees, and includes educational panels on topics spanning technology, marketing and finances. The event also includes a vendor exhibit hall. 

Agenda: Details about session topics and speakers have yet to be posted. 


March 11-13

Las Vegas, Nevada

Focus: The Multi-unit Restaurant Technology Conference includes education sessions that explore how restaurant technology can foster improvements in operations, marketing, consumer experience and other aspects of the business. 

Stats: 2023’s event featured about 25 sessions (including educational panels and breakout conversations), a startup technology competition and an exhibit hall. Speakers included representatives from CKE Restaurants, Taco Bell, Mendocino Farms, Brinker International, Papa Johns, Dave’s Hot Chicken, Mod Pizza, Five Guys and Blaze Pizza.

Agenda: The conference speakers and schedule have yet to be posted.  

Restaurant Franchising & Innovation Summit

March 24-26

Kansas City, Missouri

Focus: This event is designed for franchisor executives focusing on business objectives ranging from franchise development and operations to e-commerce and payments. Franchisees who are piloting new technology or operations are also encouraged to attend.

Stats: Last year’s event included around 20 general and breakout sessions featuring restaurant executives and industry experts. 

Agenda: Session topics include drive-thru innovation; robotics and artificial intelligence implementation; market expansion; Gen Z trends; dynamic pricing; and delivery. Speakers include executives from Blaze Pizza, Slim Chickens, Rush Bowls, Long John Silver’s, SPB Hospitality and Modern Restaurant Concepts.


March 28-29

Los Angeles, California

Focus: This event explores crossover between industry (including restaurants, retail and delivery firms) and city planning around streets, sidewalks and curbside spaces. Key panel topics include last-mile delivery and outdoor dining, and attendees can interact with technology and equipment exhibits.

Stats: Curbivore hosted about 50 expert speakers, 25 sessions (including keynotes, panels, workshops and exhibits) and 1,000 attendees in 2023. 

Agenda: The conference speakers and schedule have yet to be posted. 

Restaurant Leadership Conference 

April 14-17

Phoenix, Arizona

Focus: This event gathers restaurant executives to discuss market challenges, network with their peers and grow their leadership skills. 

Stats: Around 1,350 people are expected to attend the event.

Agenda: The event includes general sessions and innovation forums, but specific topics and speakers have yet to be announced. 

National Restaurant Association Show

May 18-21

Chicago, Illinois

Focus: The NRA Show features expert-led education sessions on key industry topics; culinary and beverage demonstrations; and exhibition halls where attendees can interact with restaurant technology, food and equipment suppliers and innovative startups.

Stats: The NRA expects 1,800-plus exhibitors at the show this year spanning over 900 product categories — including food, beverage, equipment, technology, tableware and sanitation.

Agenda: Chef José Andrés is the event’s keynote speaker. 2024 education topics include culinary insights; operations solutions; marketing; technology strategies; adult beverage trends; and workforce management. 


Sept. 15-18

Grapevine, Texas

Focus: This foodservice technology event centers on industry learnings, data and new solutions to improve both back-of-house operations and customer-facing service.

Stats: 2023’s event drew over 1,600 attendees and featured 70-plus speakers. Panelists included executives from Hooters, CKE Restaurants, Brinker International, Dine Brands, Jersey Mike’s, Dog Haus and Smoothie King.

Agenda: Details have yet to be announced.