Free WiFi: So Much More Than a Customer Service

When it comes right down to it, there are only three ways to increase same-store revenues: get more customers, get existing customers to return more often, or get them to spend more on each visit either by selling them more product or by charging more for what they are already buying. Anything else is just a variation on one of those basic themes.

Sales promotion has long been used to drive these sorts of customer behaviors. Until recently, however, a challenge has been that it is often hard to target promotions to specific customers in order to maximize response and minimize waste. Promoting blindly can be costly. A coupon in the newspaper or dropped to a mail route may reach new prospects, but also risks discounting existing customers who would have been happy to pay full fare. These aren’t the results that stores want or need.

But what if you had the ability to identify and segment customers based on traits such as how often they visit your location, how long they stay, or how much they spend while they’re there? And what if you could target specific customers and trigger promotions automatically based on such behaviors? Three recent advances have made this easy for single- and multi-location stores alike, and explain the current surge in location-based customer analytics and marketing.

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Request for Letters of Interest Osceola County

We’re proud to present opportunities for our members to grow their businesses throughout Florida. Below, is information on a Request for Letters of Interest from our friends in Osceola County.

  • This request includes a minimum of three hotel sites on properties owned by the County. Two of the hotels are planned for a major entertainment venue development and another hotel is included in a high-tech research mixed-use development.
  • Interested parties will need to register as a Vendor with Osceola County. Please see this FLYER for more information. Additionally, please note, this solicitation will be released in January 2016.
  • Interested parties please contact Rebecca Jones, Procurement Services Director directly. Her contact information is:
    • Rebecca Jones, CPPB, CPPO
      Procurement Services Director
      Osceola County BOCC
      1 Courthouse Square, Suite 2300
      Kissimmee, Florida 34741
      v. (407)742-0928
      f. (407)742-0901

Announcing Great Florida Events!

FRLA’s In-State Marketing Program, newly re-branded as Great Florida Events, is sponsoring several events in 2015 – 2016 designed to draw Florida residents to unique events happening across the state.

Bulls on the Beach kicked off our event series with a rodeo featuring professional cowboys for two nights on Perdido Key hosted by the Flora-Bama Lounge and Oyster Bar. Next up, was the Island Hopper Songwriter Fest in Southwest Florida. Captiva Island, Ft. Myers Beach and Downtown Ft. Myers showcased more than 70 songwriters in 138 performances throughout the area over ten days.

The Sixth Annual Endless Summer Music Festival was held in Sandestin at the Village of Baytowne Wharf. This songwriters’ festival boasted 14 songwriters at numerous venues throughout the village. Our latest event, Blast on the Bay was held on Florida’s Forgotten Coast during a glorious weekend of cool nights and warm days. More than 30 songwriters played in Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and Indian Pass.

Attendees at all of the songwriters’ festivals were treated to some of Country’s biggest hits, songwriters and the stories behind the songs. In addition, the Official FSU Seminole Tailgate is happening every Friday night before home football games and with live music, onsite vendors, and special appearances by celebrities and musicians, it has been a blast so far! Coming up, we have planned several more events that will be certain to thrill you.

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December 30, 2015: The Florida Citrus Parade in Orlando is one of the largest parades affiliated with a sporting event in the nation! High school marching bands, participating bowl game college marching bands, floats decorated with citrus, and other exciting happenings are all part of this awesome parade through downtown Orlando. Learn more here.


January 24, 2016 – The Crab Smash & Oyster Bash Seafood Jubilee will be held in Port Canaveral. The kids are the stars at this fundraiser for Brevard County’s High School Culinary Programs as they prepare a seafood feast for visitors at the historic shrimp dock at Port Canaveral, FL. Enjoy Live Cajun Zydeco music while dining on Florida seafood!

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February 6-7, 2016: Clearwater Beach Uncorked is “touted as the hippest beachfront gastronomic event on Florida’s west coast.” Microbrews are also featured during this fabulous weekend on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Get all the details.


February 27-28, 2016: The Downtown Food & Wine Fest is a two-day food and wine festival in the streets of Orlando, and trust us, this is where you want to be the last weekend of February! Signature dishes and bites from 30 of Orlando’s top restaurants will be featured along with domestic and international wines and live entertainment. If you need a break, stop by The Liquid Lounge to listen and dance to the music of Orlando’s hottest DJs. Find out more!

Stay tuned to FRLA for more information about our upcoming events!

Are You Living Active Managerial Control or “Oh No! the Inspector’s Here?”

As former head of Florida’s restaurant licensing and inspection system, I get frequent inquiries from food service operators that have either had a poor inspection, or are struggling to avoid one.

My response to these folks always starts with a question: “Can you tell me about your food safety system?” Too often that is met with awkward silence.  The reality is, it’s not that hard.  An effective food safety system starts with Active Managerial Control, which is just a fancy way to say “managers are managing.”

The formal definition of Active Managerial Control is “the purposeful incorporation of specific actions or procedures by industry management into the operation of their business to attain control over foodborne illness risk factors.”

Operationally, this means restaurant managers – and supervisors, key employees, shift leaders – anyone in charge of food receiving, storage, preparation or service, emphasize preventive rather than reactive thinking to drive food safety.

Active Managerial Control occurs when a methodical approach is in place to control food safety risk factors, all employees are trained on it, and persons-in-charge observe, coach, correct, and ensure the behavior needed to execute food safety.  Most importantly, this occurs every shift, every day – not just when the inspector is expected.

Many tools and resources are available to learn and implement Active Managerial Control.  Contact the FRLA Education & Training Department to start living it, protect your business and guests, and avoid your “Oh, %@#&!” moment.

geoff l headshot – Geoff Luebkemann, VP of Education and Training

FRLA’s Fresh Feeling

Here in Florida, we’re continuing to break tourism records. This past year, we welcomed 98.9 million people! They came here to experience our fantastic hospitality industry that offers unique amenities, exceptional meals and outstanding service. Plus, the scenery is not too shabby. Florida is home to picturesque beaches and sunny weather.

We want our website visitors to share that same Florida experience. So, we freshened up a bit. Welcome to the newly improved We redesigned it to better reflect our remarkable members who help make our great state a wonderful place to live, work and play.

In addition to the revitalized aesthetic, we truly believe this website will help you easily navigate through all of FRLA’s offerings. We worked to develop innovative features that are new to the user experience. The Government Relations tab offers legislative advocacy resources developed exclusively to safeguard Florida’s hospitality industry. The Newsroom provides the latest industry updates and showcases FRLA’s originally produced digital media. The Events section easily filters all FRLA occasions to give members a chance to attend all corporate, chapter and sponsored events. Our Education and Training tab continues to provide you with wonderful business resources. Plus, a revamped Educational Foundation site is now integrated with FRLA’s main page.

We want to make sure you have access to all of the tools you need to remain engaged with FRLA. After all, our association was created by and for restaurateurs, hoteliers and industry leaders. We hope you’ll enjoy your tour through our new site and get that same fresh feeling we have.

As always, we are here to protect, educate and promote the hospitality industry. Thank you being a part of the FRLA.

– Carol B. Dover, FRLA President and CEO