Committed to the foodservice industry
for 70+ years and counting.

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Foodservice E&S manufacturing makes its mark.

The middle of the century sees the founding of some major players in the foodservice world, including the NAFEM organization. Not only that, but the nation’s demand for variety and convenience grows, with the advent of newer, faster technology.

  • 1948

    On June 4, NAFEM is founded and holds its first annual meeting. The organization settles on a name – the Commercial Food Equipment Manufacturers Committee, but in November it is changed to the National Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers.


Foodservice E&S manufacturing and innovation grows.

With the Great Depression and WWII in the past, the 1950s becomes a golden age for American restaurants. Fast food takes off. Technology like infrared ovens and slicing machines enters the scene. And NAFEM comes into its own as an organization—soaring to new heights with both membership and finances.

  • 1951

    Kurt Seelback, NAFEM president, appears before the Ways and Means Committee to explain why retaining an excise tax, created during World War II, on commercial foodservice equipment installations should be abolished. Success! The tax was removed.

  • 1953

    NAFEM begins flexing its newfound muscles, funding a series of sales training, product education and sales management courses at Michigan State University. It sets its sights on developing a program with the prestigious Cornell University.

  • 1955

    NAFEM breaks the “barrier of 100” as seven new members join the organization and attendance begins to grow.

  • 1958

    NAFEM celebrates 10 years and employs its first paid part-time employee—an executive secretary.


Americans develop a taste for something new.

The 1960s usher in an era of new culinary curiosity among Americans. While ethnic and French foods go mainstream thanks to wildly popular chef Juila Child, NAFEM savors new opportunities for growth and success.

  • 1962

    NAFEM begins its partnership with management company SmithBucklin, and a decades-long relationship between the organizations is born.

  • 1963

    NAFEM presents the first President’s Award (then called the Award of Merit) to John Bourke, J. Harrison Holman and Gale Blakeslee in recognition of their tireless volunteer efforts for the organization.

  • 1964

    NAFEM holds its first Marketing Management Workshop. Exercises are built around a fictitious NAFEM member organization and after a rousing and successful session, members adamantly request more time with the project.

  • 1969

    Improved relations between NAFEM and UL are established at the Management Workshop held in Miami Beach.


As fresh and fusion foods get popular, NAFEM holds its first tradeshow.

Acclaimed chef Alice Waters opens the famed Chez Panisse in Berkeley—a hallmark event for cuisine that focuses on freshly prepared, local ingredients. In the midst of these emerging trends, NAFEM holds its first-ever tradeshow, focused solely on foodservice E&S.

  • 1973

    The FIRST NAFEM Show is held in Dallas, Texas and attended by over 8,000 visitors.

  • 1974

    NAFEM starts a government relations program to monitor regulatory and legislative issues, and the International Committee is formed as a result of a workshop and trade mission to Europe.

  • 1975

    NAFEM’s marketing research committee initiates its Sales Volume Reporting program and publishes the first quarterly Overall Industry Report.

  • 1978

    Richard Maslow becomes the first father/son president following his father's presidency from 1964 to 1965.


Americans “get physical” and NAFEM introduces CFSP.

From New York to Seattle, the fitness craze is in full swing, and consumers are focused on healthy foods and lighter preparation. Meanwhile, NAFEM introduces its new CFSP program—giving foodservice professionals a new way to set themselves apart in the industry.

  • 1982

    After interviewing over 500 foodservice operators, NAFEM launches its first major study: The NAFEM Equipment and Supplies Study.

  • 1983

    NAFEM establishes its scholarship program administered by the National Institute for the Foodservice Industry.

  • 1986

    NAFEM membership grows to represent 550+ companies.

  • 1987

    NAFEM’s CFSP program is established, raising the bar for foodservice professionals throughout the industry and adding a nationally recognized foodservice E&S certificate.


NAFEM changes its name and technology gets more efficient.

Energy-saving technology grows, streamlining foodservice processes and saving millions for foodservice operations around the country. NAFEM goes official with its new name and elects its first female president.

  • 1991

    NAFEM introduces its first female president, Louise ‘O Sullivan, CFSP, at the Annual Meeting and Management workshop. The NAFEM Show is held in Atlanta where the inaugral NAFEM Culinary Contest and Career Opportunity Day for foodservice students begin. Louise Mandrell performs at the All-Industry Banquet.

  • 1993

    NAFEM surprises retiring Executive VP Bill Carpenter with the presentation of the first William W. Carpenter Award in recognition of his contributions. The NAFEM Show is held in New Orleans and Dany Gans performs at the All-Industry Banquet.

  • 1994

    The association officially becomes the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers.

  • 1995

    The NAFEM Show is held in Las Vegas and Clint Holmes performs at the All-Industry Banquet.

  • 1997

    The NAFEM Show is held in New Orleans; Miami Heat Coach Pat Riley is the keynote speaker; Ray Charles performs at the All Industry Awards Banquet; and NAFEM offers it's first online product showcase on its website.

  • 1998

    The NAFEM logo is changed to what it is today.

  • 1999

    Keith Jaffee, CFSP, becomes NAFEM president, following in the footseps of his father Robert D. Jaffee, CFSP, as NAFEM president in 1976; and The NAFEM Show is held in Dallas, Texas.


Restaurateurs are held to higher standards as The NAFEM Show showcases E&S innovations.

Consumers can now share the good, the bad and the ugly about their dining experiences—thanks to Yelp and other review sites. NAFEM features innovative new foodservice E&S in its first-ever WHAT’S HOT! WHAT’S COOL!® showcase at The NAFEM Show.

  • 2000

    NAFEM introduces Data Protocol, an industry-wide set of rules to govern the exchange of data between independent pieces of equipment and a computer.

  • 2001

    NAFEM becomes a self-operated association naming Deirdre Flynn, CFSP, as its executive vice president.

  • 2002

    NAFEM in print and NAFEM for operators publications become NAFEM's key communication vehicles to its members and the operator community.

  • 2003

    The NAFEM Show is held in New Orleans and Earth Wind and Fire are the entertainment.

  • 2005

    The NAFEM Show is held in Anaheim, Calif. and Steve Winwood performs.

  • 2006

    Carol Wallace, CFSP, becomes the second woman to serve as a NAFEM president.

  • 2007

    The CFSP program is now 20 years old, widely expanding its reach, and Former President Bill Clinton speaks at the Annual Meeting & Management Conference. The NAFEM Show is held in Atlanta.

  • 2009

    The NAFEM Show shifts from fall to February, and NAFEM features its first WHAT’S HOT! WHAT’S COOL! Showcase, highlighting 78 products.


Technology careens forward and NAFEM continues to grow.

Customers now have around-the-clock access to everything from convenient store foods to meals from popular local restaurants—thanks to a multitude of apps.

  • 2010

    NAFEM partners with the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) to strengthen and advance the culinary arts community. Brad Barnes is the first recipient of the NAFEM Professorship in Culinary Arts.

  • 2011

    The NAFEM Show is held in Orlando, Fla. and Huey Lewis & the News are the entertainment.

  • 2013

    The NAFEM Show is held in Orlando, Fla. Danny Meyer and Union Square Hospitality Group is the keynote speaker; Jimmy Buffet performs at the All Industry Celebration.

  • 2015

    The NAFEM Show is held in Anaheim, Calif.; exhibit space sells out; and Zac Brown Band performs at the All Industry Celebration.

  • 2017

    NAFEM and the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) announce Adam Busby, CMC, CHE, general manager of the CIA at Greystone, as current NAFEM Professor. The NAFEM Show is held in Orlando, Fla. and The Killers perform at the All Industry Celebration.

  • 2018

    The first Industry Summit is held in partnership with allied partners CFESA and FEDA in Palm Desert, Calif.; TV personality and host of Dirty Jobs and Somebody's Gotta Do It, Mike Rowe is a keynote speaker.

  • 2019

    Held in Orlando, Fla, The NAFEM Show is the largest show to date with over 22,000 registered. Sheryl Crow performs at The NAFEM Party.

Here’s to 70+ years and counting.

From all of us at NAFEM, thanks for 70 great years and counting. Learn more about NAFEM
—including our programs, partners and advocacy efforts—by visiting our About Us page.

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