Kobé Steakhouse Celebrates 40 Years as Florida’s Favorite Teppanyaki Restaurant



[Orlando, FL]: Orlando’s Kobé Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse is gearing up to celebrate forty years of delicious and fun-filled dining. With 13 locations spanning Central Florida and Tampa, the family-owned Teppanyaki restaurant has become a Florida restaurant staple that tourists and locals flock to each year. Kobé Steakhouse brings countless family and friends together through an interactive dining experience, where skilled chefs cook Japanese cuisine up close on an open stove with a theatrical flair, eliciting plenty of laughter and rumbling stomachs.

“So much has changed over the decades,” said Mr. Chau Nguyen, owner of Kobé Steakhouse. “But our desire to create a destination full of life and ignite happiness in all those who dine with us remains the ‘Kobe Way’ of how we do things at our company. These past forty years have exceeded our expectations.”

As for the future of Kobé Steakhouse, Mr. Nguyen and the Kobé team have no plans of slowing down. With their newest location off of West 192 in Kissimmee, their mission of providing a premium Japanese dining experience to communities across Florida remains the same. With menu updates, daily promotions and specials, and a top-tier reward program, Kobé has something for everyone.

No matter which location you choose to dine at this summer, Kobé Steakhouse promises a customized dining experience perfect for creating memories with family and friends.

“As I reflect on these years gone by, I’m reminded of every individual who has contributed to Kobé’s journey,” said Mr. Nguyen. “From our dedicated past and present employees who shape our strong company culture to our supportive community business partners, and our cherished customers whose unwavering support fuels our growth. They are all the backbone of our business. We are proud to serve them.”

Help the Kobé family celebrate 4 decades of business! Beginning July 8th, dine in and enjoy a teppanyaki dining experience at any location with their $40 Kobé Anniversary Menu. The limited-time menu also includes an option to add-on 6oz of Premium A5 Grade Japanese Wagyu Beef for only $60.

Follow Kobé on Instagram @Kobesteakhouse to find out more about their 40th Anniversary promotions, including an Instagram Giveaway!



FDA outlines new materials to help industry meet requirements in traceability rule

The FDA has published new resources to help industry comply with the Food Traceability Rule. These include:

In addition, the FDA has partnered with the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) to develop training for the food industry on the Food Traceability Rule. Curriculum development has been initiated by a team including subject matter experts from FDA, industry and academia. The team is working to create training exercises to help food industry personnel to understand FDA’s Food Traceability Rule requirements. Training is anticipated to be available by mid-2025.

The Food Traceability Final Rule is a key component of the FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint and implements Section 204(d) of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

The Food Traceability Rule requires persons who manufacture, process, pack, or hold foods on the Food Traceability List (FTL) to maintain and provide to their supply chain partners specific information – called Key Data Elements or KDEs – for certain Critical Tracking Events or CTEs in the food’s supply chain. This framework forms the foundation for effective and efficient tracing of food.

The following example will walk through the Critical Tracking Events in a supply chain where Key Data Elements are required.

Abbreviations used:

• Key Data Elements or KDEs

• Critical Tracking Events or CTEs

• Food Traceability List or FTL

• Traceability Lot Code or TLC

• Raw Agricultural Commodities or RACs

In this scenario, fresh sprouts are being packed by the sprout grower for sale at retail. Key Data Elements (KDEs) are required for the fresh sprouts at the points indicated in the graphic. Seeds are not on the Food Traceability List, so the seed grower, seed conditioner and seed supplier are not covered by the rule. As the initial packer of the sprouts, the sprouter must maintain certain KDEs related to the growing, conditioning, packing and supplying of the seeds. All entities in blue are covered by the rule and must maintain a Traceability Plan, in addition to the KDEs.


FRLA and Samuel’s Seafood Partner with Quest Kids Academy for Culinary Education Initiative

(Angie Berberich, culinary expert with Samuel’s Seafood, demonstrates proper chopping techniques with Quest students) 

The FRLA Central Florida Chapter has partnered with Quest Kids Academy and Samuel’s Seafood to provide a customized K-12 education for children and teens with autism and other developmental disabilities.

Since November of 2023, this collaboration aims to bring culinary education and hands-on experience directly to the students at Quest Kids Academy. Each month, industry professionals schedule visits to the Academy to demonstrate essential cooking skills.

The first meal focused on preparing a classic spaghetti and meatball dinner from scratch. Angie Berberich, with Samuel’s Seafood, showcased her mastery in the kitchen by teaching the art of knife skills. She skillfully demonstrated the proper techniques for cutting onions, carrots, peppers, and garlic – the essential ingredients for a delicious spaghetti sauce.

Erin Hennessy, the Work-Study Program Lead Teacher at Quest Kids Academy, shared her enthusiasm for the program: “Everyone had a great day, and all really learned a lot. After Angie left, we roasted all the chopped veggies in the oven, and everyone in the school kept talking about how good everything smelled!”

This monthly program aims to teach culinary skills and inspire the students to love cooking, eat healthy, and become more independent. The partnership between FRLA Central Florida Chapter, Samuel’s Seafood, and Quest Kids Academy is a testament to the power of community collaboration in enriching educational experiences.

“We are thrilled to see such a positive response from the students and staff at Quest Kids Academy,” said Brittany Pilcher, Director of Philanthropy at Quest, Inc. “This partnership is a perfect example of how industry and education can come together creating access for meaningful learning opportunities.”

To learn more about this partnership, please contact FRLA’s Central Florida Regional Director, Mel Coffey at mel@frla.org.


Chuck Prather, 2024-25 Restaurant Director, FRLA Board of Directors Executive Committee

President, Birchwood Development, St. Petersburg


Welcome to Executive Insights: The Interview Series where we will be sharing a bit more about FRLA’s 2024 Board of Directors Executive Committee. Enjoy this fun Q&A with Restaurant Director Chuck Prather!


How did you get started in the industry?

I started in the industry when my father had me pick up cigarette butts in the parking lot of his Burger King restaurant in 1968. I got my first taste of money when he would pay me 25 cents! Do you know how much candy a seven-year-old kid could buy for 25 cents in 1968?!

What is the most rewarding part of what you do?

Making smiles: The hospitality business is about service and exceeding expectations.

What is the most important piece of advice you have ever given/been given?

Speak less, listen more. With the advancement of social media platforms, society finds itself “speaking” of feelings, opinions, and positions. Too often, we don’t take the time to thoughtfully listen to each other.

Why is it important for professionals to get involved with FRLA?

Strength is in numbers. Whether it is the ability to share experiences and ideas with others in our industry or mentor students in our school culinary programs, FRLA has proven to be invaluable to me. FRLA also allows for a unified effort to confront those in government and present them with our challenges. Every year, new laws are written, or poor laws are modified to make for a better hospitality industry.

What emerging trends in hospitality do you find most intriguing?

The popularity of TV chefs and cooking shows have shown young people how much excitement can be had in hospitality.

What qualities make a successful hospitality team?

Communication and caring. With clearly written direction and stated goals, give the team members a clear vision of what is expected. We also must foster a “family” type culture allowing the employee to feel appreciated and respected.

What is the most interesting place you have ever traveled to?

Exploring the Amazon jungle on the border of Peru and Ecuador and spending time with the Achuar tribe. You have not lived until you have been served Chicha by the tribal chief.

Favorite Florida destination?

Anywhere is the Florida Keys!

If you could only eat one cuisine for the rest of your life, what would it be?


If you could dine with any historical figure, who would it be?

Mother Teresa of Calcutta

What is the most memorable Florida hotel or restaurant experience you have had as a guest?

The World Equestrian Center in Ocala.  The entire property is breathtaking.

Beach or mountains?

Mountains on the beach!

How do you believe the principles of hospitality can be applied to other industries?

The old adage of “The customer is always right” should be the mantra of all companies, no matter the industry, who interact with customers.

What is the most important piece of advice you have ever given/been given?

We all have different temperaments, talents, and convictions. Do your best to respect everyone you have contact with, no matter how much you may agree or disagree with them.

What would you say to those coming up in the hospitality industry?

Embrace the excitement and energy that is had in hospitality.


To read Chuck’s biography, visit our FRLA Leadership Page or click here.

Welcome New FRLA Members – November

FRLA is proud to welcome our new members from the month of November!

It’s our pleasure to be your voice as we work to protect, educate, and promote Florida’s greatest industry – hospitality!

Manager’s Tip #9: Simplify Language Barriers

Written By: Andrew Baughman

Does everyone on your team speak the same language?

It is not uncommon to have multiple languages spoken in hospitality workplaces. While this can be beneficial and create a diverse, unique environment, peer-to-peer communication may be difficult. Addressing communication barriers is an opportunity for leadership to:

  • improve team chemistry
  • reduce frustration
  • impart the importance of all team members
  • foster a more communicative work environment
  • increase workplace efficiency

            Solution: Provide resources and tools that simplify language barriers, and get your team involved:

  • ask employees what they would find useful; every team has different needs
  • translate menus and other commonly used items (instructions, lists, etc.)
  • use code words and abbreviations, such as:
    • “comp” for “complimentary/on the house”
    • “86” for “out of stock”
  • post common terms translated into the different languages

Encourage your team to utilize the resources provided, and be sure to participate in this process yourself. Leading by example will set the tone for inclusivity, communication, and workplace morale! For resources and more information, visit healthy-hospitality.org or contact us at hospitalityhealth@uhg.com.



Abbot, Elisa (2019) Barriers to Communication: How to Overcome Language Barriers in Your Restaurant? The Rail. https://www.therail.media/stories/2019/8/30/barriers-to-communication-how-to-overcome-language-barriers-in-your-restaurant

Meet Your Next Best Employee – Fintech!

Written By: Matthew Bruner

Staffing issues? Tell us about it!

If your business is dealing with labor shortages, increased wages, and unreliable employees, it can be daunting to try and maintain a positive customer experience because you are bogged down with time-consuming manual tasks.

A recent survey of on-premises retailers asked what they think will be the biggest driving factor behind revenue growth in 2023. The resounding answer was that customer experience, driven by unmatched service and ambiance, would be the best path toward increasing revenue.

When looking at what goes into running a successful business, where can managers turn to ease their burden so they can focus on the customer experience?



Reward Your Customers’ Trust with Exceptional Service

Customers have so many options available when going out to eat or for a drink. If they happen to choose your business, you need to create a memorable experience from the moment they walk in the front door.

People get into this business because they love the art of hospitality. Unfortunately, that passion can be stifled by the laborious manual processes associated with back office paperwork and management.

Fintech can help create efficiencies by automating your back office so that you can focus on the front-of-house. And at such an affordable rate, you will wonder why you didn’t bring us on full-time earlier!


How We Drive Immediate Efficiencies

We can automate payments for all your alcohol invoices. Whether cash-on-delivery or by terms, our solution pays all invoices on time, every time.

We also clean all invoice data and integrate it into your back office accounting system via electronic file. We can drill down further by GL coding your products, keeping copies of all invoices online for up to 15 months, and using competitive market analytics to monitor price fluctuations.


Your Best Employee to Date

Why hire Fintech? We never call in sick. We never miss a shift. We are never late. We cost less than one day of admin labor for a month of services. And we don’t ask for any benefits.

Over 200,000 businesses trust Fintech to automate their back office management to free up the time to address front-of-house concerns.

If you want your business to excel in 2023, give yourself the right tools to help you focus on what matters most – your customers.

Check our credentials here and see how Fintech can make your life easier.

Healthy Hospitality: Manager’s Tip-Professional Development Opportunites

By: Andrew Baughman

Statistic: 79% of hospitality workers say that opportunities for professional development would be most impactful in promoting a supportive workplace environment.

Problem: Evidence suggests that hospitality industry training, in general, is “poor,” which poses an array of problems. Inadequate professional instruction “jeopardizes service quality, and can demean and embarrass employees,” and often causes “employees [to be] disciplined for their inability to perform.”

Due to the industry’s high turnover rate, it is uncommon for hospitality management to:

  • be invested in thoroughly training employees
  • recognize the professional desires of many employees

However, “training and development affect job satisfaction and organizational [sic] commitment, which in turn affect staff retention.” A lack of professional investment in employees increases the likelihood that they will leave, often in search of jobs with more opportunity and consideration for their ambitions.

Solution: Gather ideas from your team about professional opportunities they would like and support them in pursuing their goals. Consider providing:

  • cross-training in the workplace
  • opportunities to be responsible for a project
  • de-escalation training for navigating tough conversations with peers and customers
  • food and alcohol safety training
  • ask-me-anything sessions with management

For resources and more information, visit healthy-hospitality.org or contact us at hospitalityhealth@uhg.com.

Active Minds, Optum. (2021). Creating a Culture of Support in the Workplace: A Best Practices Resource for Managers in the Hospitality Industry. Washington, DC; Active Minds.
Poulston, Jill. (2008). Hospitality workplace problems and poor training: A close relationship. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. 20. 412-427. 10.1108/09596110810873525.

Shawmut: Industry Trends, Success Stories & More

Can you introduce Shawmut to our readers?

Shawmut Design and Construction is a national construction management firm with 11 offices nationwide, including in South Florida’s Miami and West Palm Beach. Shawmut has been active in South Florida for the last 25 years and has thoughtfully executed countless signature projects for the region’s top hospitality groups.

Please explain to readers about the services/solutions that Shawmut provides to clients.

Shawmut is a construction management firm that is dedicated to providing clients a better building experience. Throughout the entire journey—from pre-construction to the grand opening—we act as a true partner, becoming an extension of our client’s team to ensure flawless execution. We help bring our clients’ visions to life, utilizing our deep expertise in the market coupled with best-in-class construction management practices, innovative technology, and a unique ability to facilitate upfront collaboration with all stakeholders that enables diversity of thought. (Pictured: Tim Barges, Director, South Florida, Shawmut)

Can you explain trends in “maximizing and monetizing every square foot of a business?”

In result of the pandemic, hospitality industry leaders have been evaluating their service models, figuring out ways to become more efficient, and finding new ways to drive revenue. That is why we are seeing new creative strategies emerge to maximize and monetize every square foot of a property. In particular, hotels are examining the effectiveness of their used—and unused—space. For example, extra lobby space is being used to accommodate food and beverage, and existing amenity space is being transformed to be flexible and multi-purpose so revenue can be generated 24 hours a day.

Shawmut is employee owned. Can you discuss how this business model improves quality?

Being 100% employee-owned means every employee has an invested interest in the success of the company and the success of their projects. Shawmut team members bring an owner’s mentality to everything they do to consistently exceed expectations. Because of this, we deliver an unmatched client experience and finished product.

Would you share some of the projects that you’ve worked on in Florida, and also some of the memorable hospitality projects that Shawmut has managed?  

I’ve been working in Florida since 2014 and some of my favorite projects have been for The Diplomat Beach Resort and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon Miami. Currently, our Miami team is working on the completion of Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina’s new event center.

Shawmut has been involved in South Florida’s hospitality industry for almost three decades, completing projects that span from fine dining restaurants to fast casual chains to upscale hotels. We played an instrumental role in developing the Miami Design District into a vibrant high-end retail and hospitality haven; built some of Miami’s most iconic, high end, and trendiest restaurants; and completed work for award-winning hotel groups. Notable clients and projects include Soho Beach House, Le Jardinier, The Surf Club Restaurant at the Four Seasons, Fontainebleau Miami Beach, Smith & Wollensky, and Pink Taco.

What are you seeing in industry trends for 2023 and beyond?

  • The guest experience will remain top priority, but business models will pivot to reduce operating costs without sacrificing experience.
  • Sustainability practices such as making buildings self-sufficient and energy independent will be implemented.
  • There is a renewed focus on wellness in hotels and resorts.
  • Hotels will capitalize on remote/hybrid work by generating revenue from rooms in new ways. For example, rooms that would normally be empty during business hours will be rented out as an alternative to working from home.

Learn more HERE.


By The Florida Natural Gas Association

A staple in the food service, hospitality, and lodging industries for decades, natural gas appliances have never been so easy to use while saving money. Have the ability to; prepare food, heat water, dry linens, and provide other services to keep your business going with limitless natural gas. Not to mention the rebate incentives available on top of the substantial energy savings.

Natural gas appliances are the smartest choice for your business. Why? Because you can enhance your equipment’s performance standards, reduce equipment failure, and save money on overall energy costs by replacing electric appliances or even old natural gas appliances with new natural gas equipment.

Consumers can identify appliances that are energy-efficient by looking for Energy Star certification. According to Energy Star, if all commercial water heaters sold in the United States were Energy Star certified, energy cost savings would be nearly $890 million. In addition, more than 17 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented from entering the atmosphere each year.

Wondering how to make the jump? Florida’s natural gas providers are committed to helping Floridians switch to cleaner, cost-effective, and reliable natural gas by offering appliance rebates, which help to accelerate the conversion and keep even more money in your pockets. These rebates include thousands of dollars in qualifying commercial equipment, such as natural gas commercial water heaters (tank and tankless), natural gas commercial ranges and ovens, natural gas commercial fryers, and natural gas commercial dryers.

Some utilities offer rebate programs tailored to specific industries like hospitality and lodging, food service, laundromat and cleaning services, and small businesses. Different rebate options are available for electric to gas replacement, gas to gas retention and new construction.

In addition to rebate programs, some utilities like Peoples Gas, have an energy conservation program, which provides cash-back allowances to eligible businesses, designed to help your business start saving right away.

To check if your utility has a rebate program or for details regarding rebates that your business may qualify for, visit your utility company’s website to learn more.

Lower your energy costs with high-performance, energy-efficient natural gas equipment, and save even more with natural gas rebates. Saving energy and reducing costs has never been easier.