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Exceed culinary expectations and master new trends at the FRLA Show PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Lorenzo   
Monday, 26 September 2016 00:00

FRLAOrlando, FL - From Tuesday, September 27 through Thursday, September 29, over 8,000 restaurant and foodservice industry professionals will gather at the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show being held at the Orange County Convention Center located at 9990 International Drive in Orlando. During this extraordinary three-day event, attendees will find new ideas, new products, and new solutions. The trade show and conference, produced by Urban Expositions and sponsored by the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association will offer educational programs, special events, new food products, and equipment and services from over 400+ leading industry suppliers.

“We are thrilled to be offering several new and exciting special features at the upcoming event including, the Rapid Fire Competition, the new APP store, Sabor Latino Pavilion, and the Independent Operators Workshop as well as returning crowd favorites including the Ferdinand Metz Foodservice Forum, the Food Trends Experience, the prestigious ACF Culinary Competitions, and much more,” said Ron Mathews, Vice President, Restaurant and Foodservice Events Portfolio. “We know that a restaurant cannot survive on food alone which is why we have created an education program to provide practical and relevant information as well as feature areas on the show floor to find fresh and new ideas.”

Special events at the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show include:

  • Independent Operators Workshop – There will be several business-building opportunities for independent operators at this year’s event including a new half-day workshop focused on growth opportunities and best practices featuring speakers Kathleen Wood and Jim Knight followed by an Independent Operators Party at Lafayette’s. This event is co- organized by the FRLA and is sponsored by Zenith, Heartland, Sysco and UnitedHealthcare, and is open at no charge to all independent operators.
  • Sabor Latino Pavilion will provide restaurant and foodservice operators’ access to products to help them stay on top of the growing demand and interest in Latino restaurants and menu offerings.  The Pavilion will focus on Hispanic and Latin American products for the restaurant, foodservice and retail markets — specifically new and traditional, authentic ingredients, flavors, products, prepared foods and private label.
  • The Torch Award will be presented to Melissa Kelly for her outstanding achievements and contributions to the restaurant and foodservice community. Kelly’s restaurant, Primo, introduced many diners across the East Coast to the idea of farm-to-table, with up to 80% of ingredients coming from the restaurant’s own four-acre farm. When Melissa opened the satellite Primo location in Orlando she brought the farm-to-table concept to the Florida market. She will join Ferdinand Metz, Certified Master Chef, for a one-on-one discussion on the Culinary Demonstration Theater stage, this is open to all attendees. The presentation will take place on Tuesday, September 27 at 1:00pm.
  • Rapid Fire Competition - After many submissions and attendee votes, three chefs will take the stage to battle for the title Rapid Fire Competition: Appetizer Edition Champion. The three chefs will demonstrate their dish and provide samples for the judges and the audience. Each dish will also feature a local ingredient – cheese, bread, protein or sauce – whatever their secret ingredient is. Help the judges choose the winner through the Audience Choice portion of the voting. Only one will be named the Champ on Wednesday, September 28 at 2:00pm.
  • The all-new APPstore (for Appetizers of course) has been created at the request of, and to meet the needs of, operators and foodservice professionals.  This new area will provide inspiration, ingredients and finished products to provide new tastes and flavor combinations for the hottest appetizers and small plates that will set the tone for visitor experiences. 
  • Beacon Award Presentation – In honor of the 5th anniversary of the Foodservice Council for Women, Kathleen Wood and Ferdinand Metz will present the Beacon Award to Edna Morris, Managing Director at Axum and Industry Expert for Axum’s Limited Service Restaurant investments (LSR).  Ms. Morris brings over 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry, with a diverse background that includes public companies, turnarounds, start-ups, not-for-profit organizations, and positions on various boards.  Ms. Morris served as President of several restaurant companies including Blue Coral Seafood & Spirits (a high-end seafood startup venture jointly owned by OSI and Paul Fleming), Red Lobster (Darden Restaurants) and Quincy’s Family Steakhouse (Advantica).
  • FRLA Events includes the FRLA/NRA Bob Leonard Golf Classic, Fall Board Meeting, and Installation Gala and After Party, the Florida hospitality gathering of the year, which will be held on Tuesday, September 27 at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. During the celebration, FRLA will install the Chairman of the Board and Executive Committee. In addition, FRLA's Hall of Fame winners, prestigious Hotelier, Restaurateur and Supplier of the Year, will be recognized and outstanding hospitality industry employees will be recognized for their accomplishments and service in the industry.  This year, there are several open categories, to name a few: Restaurant General Manager of the Year, Hotel General Manager of the Year, Restaurant Employee of the Year and Hotel Employee of the Year. The reception will begin at 6:00pm, followed by the dinner and awards at 7:00pm. An After Party Celebration will follow the installation dinner, join industry leaders for a fabulous evening of networking and entertainment! 

In addition to the new special events, there will be several returning crowd favorites including the Ferdinand Metz Foodservice Forum, the Food Trends Experience, the prestigious ACF Culinary Competitions, the Beer, Wine & Spirits Pavilion, The Japan Pavilion, Key Buyer Alliance, Education Station, and the Foodservice Council for Women event. The trade show’s floor will feature 400+ leading restaurant and foodservice vendors and purveyors.

The 2016 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show is sponsored by the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association ( For more information on exhibiting or attending, visit the official Show website at The tradeshow and conference is managed and produced by Kennesaw, GA based Urban Expositions, Contact Urban Expositions at