Senate Appropriations Committee Passes Broad-Based Tax Relief Package

Tallahassee–The Florida Senate Committee on Appropriations, chaired by Senator Tom Lee (R-Brandon) today passed House Bill 7099, as amended with the content of the Senate tax relief package. This legislation, combined with provisions of the 2016-17 General Appropriations Act, will deliver $400 million in broad-based tax relief for Florida families and business.

Senate President Andy Gardiner (R-Orlando) released the following statement:

“As Florida’s economy improves, property values across our state are rising, bringing increased equity to residential and commercial property owners across our state. Unfortunately, the practical impact of rising property values is higher property taxes. This year, the Legislature is taking important steps to mitigate that impact, by reducing local millage rates and using only state tax dollars to pay for a $478 million increase in education funding. This is a win-win scenario for our state. K-12 per student funding is at an all-time high, but state taxes dollars, rather than the property taxes of local homeowners and businesses, will cover the cost of that increase.

“This tax relief legislation also promotes private sector job creation and business expansion by permanently eliminating the sales tax on machinery and manufacturing equipment. This important savings can be a big difference for businesses looking to locate and expand in our state. Making this existing exemption permanent is a priority for Governor Scott, and we are pleased to support in his efforts to make Florida first in the nation in job creation.

“Another highlight of this important legislation is a Back-To-School Sales Tax Holiday that will provide savings for Florida families this summer as they prepare for the new school year.”

For more  information on the Senate amendment to House Bill 7099, please visit www.FLSenate.gov.

Florida Welcomed a Record 105 Million Tourists in 2015

ORLANDO, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida set another record in tourism by welcoming 105 million visitors in 2015, according to VISIT FLORIDA. This is the fifth consecutive record year for visitation to Florida, exceeding the previous high of 98.5 million in 2014 by 6.6 percent. The average number of direct travel-related jobs in 2015 was also a record high, with 1,199,200 Floridians employed in the tourism industry – up 53,400 or 4.7 percent over the same period last year. Governor Scott made the announcement at Walt Disney World in Orlando.

Governor Scott said, “I am proud to announce that Florida has surpassed our tourism goal and welcomed an historic 105 million visitors to our state in 2015. The number of travel-related jobs also reached a record high, with 1.2 million Floridians employed in the tourism industry. Tourism plays an important role in supporting our economy, and we will continue to make strategic investments in the tourism industry to keep Florida on track to becoming first for jobs. With five consecutive record years for tourism, it is time to set our goal even higher, and I look forward to welcoming 115 million visitors to the Sunshine State this year.”

VISIT FLORIDA estimates that a record 89.8 million domestic visitors traveled to Florida in 2015, reflecting an 8.0 percent increase over 2014.  Estimates also show that 11.2 million overseas visitors and 4.0 million Canadians came to the Sunshine State last year.  Total enplanements at 18 Florida airports during 2015 increased 8.2 percent over the previous year, representing a record 6.1 million more enplaned passengers than in 2014.

Will Seccombe, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA, said, “Five years of record-setting visitation does not happen by accident. It’s the direct result of a global marketing strategy focused on maximizing the economic impact of Florida tourism. Today’s announcement shows tourism marketing works and we have Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature to thank for their unparalleled leadership and support that has the Sunshine State on track to become the No. 1 travel destination in the world.”

Bob Chapek, chairman, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, said, “As home of the most popular theme park in the world, we’re thrilled to contribute to the record number of visitors to Florida — and the jobs and economic opportunities that tourism helps to create.”

Tourism and recreation taxable sales for Florida increased every month year-over-year from January through November 2015 (last reported month), representing an 8.6 percent increase over the same period in 2014. For 2015, the average daily room rate (ADR) rose 5.9 percent and the number of rooms sold grew by 4.5 percent compared to 2014. Florida’s average occupancy rate for 2015 was 72.0 percent, an increase of 3.2 percent over 2014. This represents a record year for the statewide calendar year occupancy rate, exceeding the previous high of 69.8 percent in 2014.

John Tomlin, Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors, said, “Achieving record visitation for five consecutive years, including reaching 105 million visitors in 2015, is a testament to the strong industry alignment between VISIT FLORIDA and our tourism Partners. Thanks to the visionary support of Governor Scott and the Florida legislature, together we have built a solid foundation that will enable us to reach our goal of generating $100 billion in visitor spending by 2020.”

For fourth quarter 2015, preliminary estimates show a record 25.2 million people visited the Sunshine State. This represents the largest fourth quarter visitation number Florida has ever seen and reflects an increase of 6.7 percent over the same period in 2014. VISIT FLORIDA also reports that an estimated 2.9 million overseas visitors and 671,000 Canadians traveled to Florida in the fourth quarter of 2015.

To view additional Florida visitor data, go the Research page on VISIT FLORIDA’s media website.

 

Bob Chapek, chairman, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, said, “As home of the most popular theme park in the world, we’re thrilled to contribute to the record number of visitors to Florida — and the jobs and economic opportunities that tourism helps to create.”
George Aguel, President and CEO of Visit Orlando, said, “Visit Orlando is delighted that Governor Scott and VISIT FLORIDA have chosen Orlando to share this milestone tourism accomplishment for our state.  This news aligns nicely with Orlando’s record visitation last year of over 62 million visitors and a prediction of another record year for 2015, ensuring our unique position as the most visited destination in the nation.

 

DT Minich, President and CEO of Experience Kissimmee, said, “These record numbers are a direct result of the dedicated efforts of VISIT FLORIDA and fellow tourism leaders throughout the state. We’re proud to be a part of the engine attracting visitors to Florida and applaud Governor Scott’s unwavering support of the industry.”

 

Bill Talbert, Vice Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors and President & CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, said, “Florida’s tourism continues to achieve records upon records thanks to the extraordinary efforts of VISIT FLORIDA and our tourism industry partners who work tirelessly to attract visitors to our beautiful diverse state. New and established tourism-related businesses are fueling growth, generating new jobs and paving the way for new milestones. We are fortunate to have a Governor and Legislature that support our industry and VISIT FLORIDA in reaching and surpassing goals for Florida’s tourism today and into the future.”

 

Andrew Hertz, Immediate Past Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors and President & General Manager of Miami Seaquarium, said, “We know that Florida is the best vacation destination in the world, but it takes an incredible team effort to let the world know all we have to offer. VISIT FLORIDA has been the perfect model of how a public-private partnership works on behalf of the tourism industry and the people of the State of Florida.  Five years of record year-over-year growth shows that the Governor and the Legislature are wise to continue to invest in Florida’s future by their funding of VISIT FLORIDA.”

 

Carol Dover, Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Public Affairs Committee and President & CEO of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, said, “The success seen here in the Sunshine State is off the charts! We are very proud that 105 million visitors took the opportunity to experience our incredible restaurants, hotels and attractions that offer world-class service, provided by 1.2 million dedicated Floridians. We are grateful to Governor Scott and Florida lawmakers for recognizing the industry’s achievements and ensuring that our state’s economy will continue to thrive.  With their support, VISIT FLORIDA’s marketing strategies are continuing to work wonders and we look forward to a sixth consecutive year of record-breaking numbers.”

 

Bill Lupfer, Member of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors and President & CEO of the Florida Attractions Association, said, “As a vital part of Florida’s tourism industry, Florida attractions celebrate five consecutive years of record breaking visitation. Florida’s world-renowned attractions and diverse destinations continue to set the industry standard, and we applaud our partners and the support of Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature.”

 

Mark Wilson, President & CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, said, “Congratulations to VISIT FLORIDA and Florida’s tourism industry for achieving a historic 105 million visitors to Florida in 2015.  When visitors travel to Florida, they learn about our top ten school rankings, low crime rate, zero personal income tax, business-friendly climate and family-friendly brand, and often return to open a business and create jobs for Floridians. The Florida Chamber is proud to celebrate this milestone, and looks forward to making Florida even more competitive in the future.”

 

Malinda Horton, Member of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors and Executive Director of the Florida Association of Museums, said, “The Florida tourism industry continues to drive the positive statewide economic outlook with the leadership of Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature’s support of VISIT FLORIDA, the public-private partnership for tourism marketing.  This fifth consecutive year of record breaking tourism growth could only have been achieved with high-quality visitor valued offerings statewide. The diverse range of world-class activities from sporting events to museums, a happening culinary scene, and great Florida weather have been harmoniously combined into a win-win vacation for travelers and Florida residents who benefit from robust job growth, a booming tourism expansion construction effort, and increased sales tax revenues that fuel our economy.”

 

Samantha Padgett, Member of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors and Vice President & General Counsel for the Florida Retail Federation, said, “We want to applaud the tremendous coordinated efforts of Governor Scott, our legislative leaders and VISIT FLORIDA in attracting more than 105 million tourists to our state. Record tourism means great news for Florida’s 270,000 retailers who depend on Sunshine State travelers to purchase gifts and memories from their visit.”

 

Dan Rowe, Member of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors and President & CEO of Visit Panama City Beach, said, “We have had a run of record-breaking years in terms of visitation, and 2015 was no exception.  VISIT FLORIDA has been a great partner as Panama City Beach continues to grow, becoming a year-round destination and more than just a beautiful beach.  As we strive to offer guests additional reasons to spend their vacation days with us, Panama City Beach has seen our fall visitation nearly double in just 5 years, and in 2015 tourism brought more than $1.4 billion in direct spending.  For Panama City Beach, and for the entire state of Florida, tourism is a key economic driver that Governor Scott and leaders in the Florida Legislature have done a terrific job supporting.”

 

Virginia Haley, Member of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors and President of Visit Sarasota County, said, “VISIT FLORIDA’s leadership has given our industry the marketing platforms that have driven this success.  Here at Visit Sarasota County, we can see the results of our partnership with VISIT FLORIDA in our tourism records.”

 

Joe Lopano, CEO of the Tampa International Airport, said “This is great news! Governor Scott set a goal of serving 100 million visitors in 2015 and thanks to VISIT FLORIDA’s outstanding marketing programs, we surpassed that goal.  Every part of the state benefits from that commitment to growing our tourism economy.  At Tampa International Airport, we’re on pace to serve a record number of passengers in 2016, which means more people enjoying our beaches, great restaurants, museums and attractions. That wouldn’t be possible without the support of all of our partners in Tallahassee.”

 

*Preliminary estimates are issued 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter. Final estimates are released when final data are received for all estimates in the report.

$1.4 Million in Scholarships Awarded to Florida High School Students Participating in ProStart Culinary Team Competition

(Orlando, Fla.) The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Educational Foundation (FRLAEF) announced the winners of the 16th Annual ProStart Culinary Team Competition which was held Friday, February 5 and Saturday, February 6, 2016 at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando.

A total of 49 schools participated in the competition with 13 schools winning top awards throughout the day’s events. More than $1.4 million in scholarships was distributed to the winning schools. All winners and participants are a part of Florida’s ProStart program which is a career technical education program where high school students learn from an industry-derived curriculum that teaches culinary techniques and restaurant management skills.  More than 20,000 students from across the state are enrolled in the program. The four main event competitions included: the Cracker Barrel Management Competition, the Johnson & Wales University Culinary Competition, the Keiser University Edible Centerpiece Competition, and the Coca-Cola Company Waiters Relay Competition.

Gainesville’s Eastside High School won first place in the overall competition. East Ridge High School in Clermont took home second place in the overall competition, with J.P. Taravella High School in Coral Springs placing third.  For photos of the event, please click here.

“These students absolutely represent the future of Florida’s hospitality industry and we are proud to help support their education by awarding more than $1 million in scholarships. We are passionate about investing in the lives of these student all-stars and are thrilled we get to watch them craft their incredible talents and build successful careers,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

Overall Competition Winners

First Place Eastside High School Instructor: Billie DeNunzio
Second Place East Ridge High School Instructors: Lucressie McGriff and Ken Pitts
Third Place J.P. Taravella High School Instructor: Scott Goodman
Fourth Place Leto High School Instructor: Debra Hladky
Fifth Place Seabreeze High School Instructor: Samantha Crouch

 

Johnson & Wales University Culinary Competition Winners
Participating teams demonstrated their creative abilities during the competition through the preparation of a meal consisting of: starter (such as soup, salad or appetizer), protein (such as meat, fish or fowl), starch, vegetable, and dessert.

First Place Leto High School Instructor: Debra Hladky
Second Place Eastside High School Instructor: Billie DeNunzio and Pam Bedford
Third Place East Ridge High School Instructors: Lucressie McGriff and Ken Pitts
Fourth Place J.P. Taravella High School Instructor: Scott Goodman
Fifth Place Steinbrenner High School Instructors: Philip Meola and David Walesheck

 

Cracker Barrel Management Competition Winners
Participating teams demonstrated their knowledge of the restaurant and foodservice industry by developing a business proposal for a new restaurant concept. The business proposal consisted of a defined restaurant concept, supporting menu, and supporting marketing plan. Teams prepared a comprehensive written proposal, verbal presentation and visual display.

First Place Eastside High School Instructor: Billie DeNunzio and Pam Bedford
Second Place Deland High School Instructor: Renee Scarborough
Third Place East Ridge High School Instructors: Lucressie McGriff and Ken Pitts
Fourth Place Mainland High School Instructors: Jason Kester and Troy Logan
Fifth Place Northeast High School Instructors: John Beck and Curtis Serata

 

Keiser University Edible Centerpiece Competition Winners
Participating teams demonstrated their creative ability during the competition through the preparation of an edible centerpiece consisting of fruits and vegetables. Contestants explained nutritional information, product availability, and preparation techniques.

First Place Tarpon Springs High School Instructor: Cathleen Ryan, Vincenzo Pesce and Tony DeVincenzo
Second Place Eastside High School Instructor: Billie DeNunzio and Pam Bedford
Third Place Mainland High School Instructors: Jason Kester and Troy Logan
Fourth Place Seabreeze High School Instructor: Samantha Crouch
Fifth Place Northeast High School Instructor: John Beck and Curtis Serata

 

Coca-Cola Company Waiters Relay Competition Winners
Participating teams demonstrated their ability to duplicate a table setting while racing against the clock.

First Place J.P. Taravella High School Instructor: Scott Goodman
Second Place Seabreeze High School Instructor: Samantha Crouch
Third Place East Ridge High School Instructors: Lucressie McGriff and Ken Pitts
Fourth Place Bartow High School Instructor: Rosalind Chan
Fifth Place Stoneman Douglas High School Instructor: Ashley Kurth

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About FRLA Educational Foundation (FRLAEF)
The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association created the Educational Foundation in 1994. FRLAEF administers and executes two high school curriculums ‐ the National Restaurants Association’s (NRA) ProStart and the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s (AH&LA) Lodging Management Program – in more than 240 Florida high schools and provides resources to nearly 25,000 students in these culinary arts and hospitality management programs. Scholarships, Teacher Training Institutes, Industry Certifications, Equipment Mini‐Grants and Industry Internships are just a few of the products and services the FRLAEF provides to these classrooms. For more information, please go to http://frla.org/educational-foundation/.

 

About the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association
FRLA is Florida’s premier non-profit hospitality industry trade association. Our mission is to ‘Protect, Educate and Promote’ Florida’s $82 billion hospitality industry which represents 23% of Florida’s economy and more than 1.1 million employees – making it the state’s number one industry. We offer regulatory compliance and food safety training needs (RCS and SafeStaff®); industry developed career-building high school programs (FRLAEF); sponsor the only event in Florida exclusively serving the restaurant and foodservice industry (FR&L Show, September 27-29, 2016 in Orlando); and we safeguard the needs of the hospitality industry by providing legislative advocacy. We represent and serve more than 10,000 independent and household name members, suppliers, and theme parks. For more information, go to www.FRLA.org and find us on Twitter @FRLAnews, Facebook and YouTube.

To Prepare for Spring Break, Panama City Beach Businesses and Employees Receive FREE Responsible Vendor Training

(Panama City Beach, FL) – Regulatory Compliance Services (RCS), a subsidiary of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) is proud to present its 2016 Spring Break Hospitality Workshop to promote a safe and successful spring break season. This free responsible vendor training session will bring together businesses, their employees and Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco agents to promote alcohol sales/service best practices, raise staff awareness and provide valuable resources to assist businesses during the busy season. The event will be held Monday, February 15, 2016 from 3:00-4:30 PM at the Boardwalk Beach Resort in Panama City Beach.

“In preparation for Spring Break, we want to give local businesses the necessary tools and tips that cultivate a safe and enjoyable environment. We are proud to present this opportunity, free of charge, to help businesses be responsible vendors. As Florida’s premier provider of responsible alcohol vendor training, we are passionate about risk management and are excited to help serve the Panama City Beach community,” said FRLA Vice President of Education and Training, Geoff Luebkemann.  

Responsible vendor training is a program offered to any entity with an alcoholic beverage license. Instructors present state-mandated content that encourages best management practices and patron safety. Participants learn about alcohol laws, avoiding serving underage patrons, and preventing over-serving patrons. The training contributes to fewer underage alcohol sales, reduced DUIs, and increased professionalism and knowledge among those selling and serving alcohol to patrons. Alcohol beverage licensees who successfully qualify and remain responsible vendors enjoy certain protections under the law for their license, and may reduce their risk liability exposure and costs.

During this event, the training will be presented by RCS in coordination with Florida’s Division of Alcohol Beverages and Tobacco.

The media is invited to attend and if planning to be present will need to contact FRLA Communications Director Elizabeth Ray at 850.224.2250 x255 or via email at ERay@frla.org.

WHAT:
2016 Spring Break Hospitality Workshop
Includes FRLA’s RCS FREE Responsible Vendor Training

WHEN:
Monday, February 15, 2016
3:00-4:30 PM

WHERE:
Boardwalk Beach Resort
9450 South Thomas Drive
Panama City Beach, FL 32408

Businesses looking to participate in the event should contact RCS Northwest Regional Manager, Caitie Mook at 850-933-3762 or cmook@frla.org. For more information about RCS please visit http://www.regcomplianceusa.com/.

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About the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association
FRLA is Florida’s premier non-profit hospitality industry trade association. Our mission is to ‘Protect, Educate and Promote’ Florida’s $82 billion hospitality industry which represents 23% of Florida’s economy and more than 1.1 million employees – making it the state’s number one industry. We offer regulatory compliance and food safety training needs (RCS and SafeStaff®); industry developed career-building high school programs (FRLAEF); sponsor the only event in Florida exclusively serving the restaurant and foodservice industry (FR&L Show, September 27-29, 2016 in Orlando); and we safeguard the needs of the hospitality industry by providing legislative advocacy. We represent and serve more than 10,000 independent and household name members, suppliers, and theme parks. For more information, go to www.FRLA.org and find us on Twitter @FRLAnews, Facebook and YouTube.

Lt. Governor to Keynote South Florida Regional Powerhouse Luncheon Alongside All-Star Panel of Accomplished Female Hospitality CEOs

(Miami, Fla.) The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) is thrilled to host the South Florida Regional Powerhouse Luncheon on Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at Jungle Island in Miami. The event, designed to provide exclusive industry insights and share tips to build a sustaining career, will feature Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera, National Restaurant Association President/CEO Dawn Sweeney, American Hotel and Lodging Association President/CEO Katherine Lugar and FRLA President/CEO Carol Dover.

“I am thrilled to be on a panel with so many incredibly talented leaders who are filled with invaluable knowledge about success and specifically, our hospitality industry,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. “I feel humbled to share the stage with them and look forward to experiencing it with all of our colleagues in South Florida who are eager to learn and build on the momentum of our state’s record-breaking achievements.”

Carlos Lopez-Cantera is the 19th Lieutenant Governor of Florida. He is the first Hispanic elected to hold this position in Florida. He has been part of the team that has brought over 850,000 jobs to the state, lowered taxes for Florida families, reduced government regulation and increased education spending and achievement for Florida’s students, including making higher education more affordable for Florida’s students and veterans.

As President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association, Dawn Sweeney has been instrumental in focusing the mission of the association through a unique, multi-year strategic plan, highlighting key areas of opportunity within the restaurant industry. Before joining the National Restaurant Association, Sweeney was president and CEO of AARP Services. Her 25+ years of marketing, advocacy and policy experience also include leadership positions at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and the International Dairy Foods Association.

As the head executive of AH&LA, Katherine Lugar implements and directs AH&LA’s services and works directly with the volunteer officers and board of directors in determining the industry’s major strategic initiatives. In addition, Lugar also oversees AH&LA’s two affiliate organizations, the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AH&LEF) and the Educational Institute (EI). Lugar has more than 20 years of experience in private sector public affairs, working on Capitol Hill and previously served as executive vice president, public affairs, with the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA).

Carol Dover has served as President and CEO of FRLA since July of 1995. Dover is a professional association manager, a lobbyist and a former government insider. After graduating from Florida State University, Dover accepted the position of Assistant Director of the Beer Industry of Florida. In 1989, she was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff in the Executive Office of the Governor, serving under the Martinez administration. Dover’s other professional accomplishments include positions at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation Director of the Division of Hotels and Restaurants, she was the first woman to serve as Chief of the Bureau of Fire Prevention, State Fire Marshall’s Office, and President/CEO of the Florida Outdoor Advertising Association.

Media is invited to attend this event, the schedule is as follows:

WHAT:
FRLA’s South Florida Regional Powerhouse Luncheon

KEYNOTE SPEAKER:
Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera

INDUSTRY PANELISTS:
Carol Dover, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association President and CEO
Dawn Sweeney, National Restaurant Association President and CEO
Katherine Lugar, American Hotel & Lodging Association President and CEO

WHEN:
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
11:30 AM-1:00 PM

WHERE:
Jungle Island
1111 Parrot Jungle Trail
Miami, FL 33132
*MEDIA INVITED TO ATTEND*

COST:
$35 per person
$300 for VIP Reserved Table of Eight

To register for FRLA’s South Florida Regional Powerhouse Luncheon, click here. For additional information, please contact Lynne Hernandez, FRLA Regional Director, at 305-710-3962 or by email at lhernandez@frla.org. For media RSVP, please contact Elizabeth Ray, FRLA Communications Director at 850.224.2250 x255 or email at ERay@FRLA.org

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About the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association
FRLA is Florida’s premier non-profit hospitality industry trade association. Our mission is to ‘Protect, Educate and Promote’ Florida’s $82 billion hospitality industry which represents 23% of Florida’s economy and more than 1.1 million employees – making it the state’s number one industry. We offer regulatory compliance and food safety training needs (RCS and SafeStaff®); industry developed career-building high school programs (FRLAEF); sponsor the only event in Florida exclusively serving the restaurant and foodservice industry (FR&L Show, September 27-29, 2016 in Orlando); and we safeguard the needs of the hospitality industry by providing legislative advocacy. We represent and serve more than 10,000 independent and household name members, suppliers, and theme parks. For more information, go to www.FRLA.org and find us on Twitter @FRLAnews, Facebook and YouTube.

FRLA to Help Boost Local Tourism & Raise Funds for Brevard County Hospitality Students

(Cape Canaveral, Fla.)  The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) is proud to sponsor the Space Coast Crab Smash & Oyster Bash Seafood Jubilee, scheduled for Saturday, January 30, 2016 at Wild Ocean Market. In addition to boosting local tourism, the 4th annual event will raise funds for Brevard County’s High School Culinary Programs.

“This event is near and dear to my heart, because it helps provide necessary funds to support the future leaders of Florida’s hospitality and tourism industry,” said Carol Dover, FRLA President and CEO. “It’s for a good cause and it’s truly great fun, as our Space Coast members always deliver savory seafood that the community is sure to enjoy.”

Media is invited to attend this event, details are as follows:

WHAT:
Space Coast Crab Smash & Oyster Bash Seafood Jubilee

WHEN:
January 30, 2016
11:30 AM – 2:30 PM

WHERE:
Wild Ocean Market
710 Blue Water Drive
Cape Canaveral, FL 32920

COST:
$42 per person
*Click here for ticket purchase information

This event is part of FRLA’s Great Florida Events program, co-sponsored by VISIT FLORIDA, which is designed to promote the local tourism and hospitality industry throughout the year. The public is invited and encouraged to attend these can’t miss events.

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About the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association
FRLA is Florida’s premier non-profit hospitality industry trade association. Our mission is to ‘Protect, Educate and Promote’ Florida’s $82 billion hospitality industry which represents 23% of Florida’s economy and more than 1.1 million employees – making it the state’s number one industry. We offer regulatory compliance and food safety training needs (RCS and SafeStaff®); industry developed career-building high school programs (FRLAEF); sponsor the only event in Florida exclusively serving the restaurant and foodservice industry (FR&L Show, September 27-29, 2016 in Orlando); and we safeguard the needs of the hospitality industry by providing legislative advocacy. We represent and serve more than 10,000 independent and household name members, suppliers, and theme parks. For more information, go to www.FRLA.org and find us on Twitter @FRLAnews, Facebook and YouTube.

Chef Emeril Lagasse Tours Restaurants in St. Petersburg & Clearwater on National Television

(St. Petersburg, Fla.) The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) is proud to present this week’s episode of Emeril’s Florida airing Sunday, January 31, 2016, at 2:30 p.m. EST on the Cooking Channel. In Sunday’s episode, “Sugar Sand Paradise,” celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse visits three fantastic properties in the St. Petersburg and Clearwater area, including: Locale Market, Guy Harvey’s RumFish Grill and Palm Pavilion. Emeril rounds out the episode preparing Cedar Key Baked Oysters with Portuguese Chorizo Butter.

“Florida’s West Coast is packed with wonderful restaurants featuring picturesque backdrops and unique dining experiences,” said Carol Dover, FRLA President and CEO. “Emeril’s Florida certainly selected some of our favorite spots this year and we are proud to help give visitors the opportunity to sample them.”

On this episode of Emeril’s Florida, the first stop is Locale Market, a gourmet market located in downtown St. Petersburg that’s owned by nationally renowned chefs Michael Mina and Don Pintabona. It’s chef driven and offers locally sourced meats, seafood, and produce along with house made pastas and artisanal products. Emeril tours the market with Chef Don Pintabona and then sits down with Chef Michael Mina to sample some of Locale’s signature dishes including Steamed Two Docks Clams; Faithful Farms Tuscan Kale Salad; The “St. Petersburger” (a dry aged beef monster hamburger); a 32 oz. Bone In Dry Aged Tomahawk Ribeye; and a Liquid Nitrogen Bon Bon Sundae.

Next, Emeril visits Guy Harvey’s RumFish Grill on St. Pete Beach. The centerpiece of the restaurant is the 33,500 gallon aquarium in the dining room that was built by Wayde King and Brett Raymer of Animal Planet’s hit series Tanked. Emeril sits down with Executive Chef Justin Harry to sample some of the seafood dishes on the chef’s menu including Caribbean Ceviche; Cedar Key Oysters; Jerk Lion Fish; and Seafood Brochette with shrimp sea scallop and fish.

Then, Emeril visits Palm Pavilion, a restaurant that was built on Clearwater Beach in 1926 and sold in 1964 to the family that continues to own and operate it today. Emeril gets the backstory from owner Ken Hamilton on this family run, gulf front icon. Emeril then sits down with Executive Chef Marlin Kaplan to sample some of Palm Pavilion’s signature dishes including St. Louis BBQ Ribs; The Palm Burger; The Palm Grouper Sandwich; and The Palm Nachos.

The show reruns on Monday, February 1 at 9:30 a.m. EST and Thursday, February 4 at 10:30 a.m. EST. Please check local listings.

Emeril’s Florida Season Four is a 13-episode series highlighting the Sunshine State through the eyes of Emeril on-location with a focus on food, cooking, events and activities around the state. Throughout the fourth season, Emeril will be visiting Florida’s top restaurants and resorts. He will also prepare some of his favorite recipes which often will feature some of the best seafood Florida has to offer. The FRLA and VISIT FLORIDA sponsor the series. For additional information on the series, including links to previous episodes, please go to the Cooking Channel website here. For a preview of Sunday’s episode, click here.

Editor’s Note:
For photo and video requests of Emeril Lagasse with personnel from Star Fish Company, Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen and Crazy Fish Bar & Grill, photos of signature menu items and recipes of featured dishes, please contact Elizabeth Ray at ERay@FRLA.org or 850.224.2250 x255.

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About the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association
FRLA is Florida’s premier non-profit hospitality industry trade association. Our mission is to ‘Protect, Educate and Promote’ Florida’s $82 billion hospitality industry which represents 23% of Florida’s economy and more than 1.1 million employees – making it the state’s number one industry. We offer regulatory compliance and food safety training needs (RCS and SafeStaff®); industry developed career-building high school programs (FRLAEF); sponsor the only event in Florida exclusively serving the restaurant and foodservice industry (FR&L Show, September 27-29, 2016 in Orlando); and we safeguard the needs of the hospitality industry by providing legislative advocacy. We represent and serve more than 10,000 independent and household name members, suppliers, and theme parks. For more information, go to www.FRLA.org and find us on Twitter @FRLAnews, Facebook and YouTube.

FRLA Partners With Snagajob to Bolster Opportunities for Hourly Job Seekers and Employers

(Tallahassee, Fla.) The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) is proud to partner with Snagajob to provide industry leading hiring and talent management solutions to FRLA members.

“Our industry is always on the search for new talent. In fact, by 2019, Florida is projected to have 1.5 million people directly employed in travel and tourism. That’s one of the many reasons we decided to partner with Snagajob and we are thrilled about the opportunities we will create together,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

“Snagajob couldn’t be more excited to launch our partnership with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association,” said Joe Gabriel, Business Development Manager at Snagajob. “FRLA has been providing top of class benefits for members for years and we are so excited to be a part of the FRLA family. With thousands of Florida employers struggling to find quality hourly employees, there is a tremendous need to connect hourly workers with FRLA members. Our innovative products and mobile app provide a great opportunity for FRLA members to attract hourly workers as well as benefit from our paperless tracking and onboarding solutions.”

Snagajob, America’s #1 spot for hourly work, is the only company solely committed to providing recruitment and hiring solutions to the hourly industry. With more than 65 million registered job seekers and a leading hourly-focused talent management system, Snagajob has been serving hourly workers and those who employ them since 2000. With offices in Richmond, VA, and the Washington, D.C., metro, Snagajob has been named to Fortune Magazine’s Great Place to Work® list for each of the past eight years.

Members of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association can take advantage of exclusive member pricing, including 10% off Snagajob’s full suite of solutions, which includes talent sourcing, hiring manager, and paperless onboarding. To schedule a demo or for more information on special benefits for FRLA members, please visit www.snagajob.com/FRLA.

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About the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association
FRLA is Florida’s premier non-profit hospitality industry trade association. Our mission is to ‘Protect, Educate and Promote’ Florida’s $82 billion hospitality industry which represents 23% of Florida’s economy and more than 1.1 million employees – making it the state’s number one industry. We offer regulatory compliance and food safety training needs (RCS and SafeStaff®); industry developed career-building high school programs (FRLAEF); sponsor the only event in Florida exclusively serving the restaurant and foodservice industry (FR&L Show, September 27-29, 2016 in Orlando); and we safeguard the needs of the hospitality industry by providing legislative advocacy. We represent and serve more than 10,000 independent and household name members, suppliers, and theme parks. For more information, go to www.FRLA.org and find us on Twitter @FRLAnews, Facebook and YouTube.

Seafood Shacks Featured on Emeril’s Florida

(Key Largo, Fla.) The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) is proud to present this week’s episode of Emeril’s Florida airing Sunday, January 24, 2016, at 2:30 p.m. EST on the Cooking Channel. In Sunday’s episode, “Seafood Shacks” celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse visits three of the great seafood shacks around the state, including: Star Fish Company, Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen and Crazy Fish Bar & Grill. Emeril rounds out the episode preparing Crab Jalapeno “Hot Pot,” Garlic and Lemon Toasts.

“Seafood is synonymous with Florida and is absolutely a Sunshine State staple,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. “We are thrilled Emeril is highlighting some of our favorite seafood shacks that viewers are sure to savor as they book their next trip to our great state.”

On this episode, Emeril’s first stop is the Star Fish Company, a waterfront shack in the fishing village of Cortez on the West Gulf Coast that sells fresh fish and serves up some of the best seafood in the area. They also operate a long standing fish house next door that sells seafood around the world. Located on a dock along the Sarasota Bay, Star Fish Company thrives on its laid-back atmosphere. It is cash only and has outdoor picnic table seating where the food is served in white cardboard boxes. Emeril sits down with owner Karen Bell to try some of the catch of the day including Blackened Grouper; Shrimp/Oyster Po’ boy; Soft Shell Crab; Fried Gulf Shrimp; and Mullet Two Ways.

Next Emeril heads to the Florida Keys to Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen. It’s a quirky seafood shack founded in 1976 and located along the famous Overseas Highway in Key Largo. It is a local and visitors favorite and Emeril sits down with owner Angie Wittke and samples some of her signature dishes including Caribbean Lobster; Bahamian Conch Salad; Kickin’ Local Blue Crab Cake BLT; Lionfish Français with Seasonal Vegetables; and Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen “World Famous” Key Lime Pie.

Then Emeril visits Crazy Fish Bar & Grill, a seafood shack located in the middle of the state that’s far from either coast, but still serving up some of the freshest seafood around. It was a dive bar before owners Jim and Jean Christensen took it over and renovated both the building and the menu. They sat down with Emeril to share some of their signature dishes including Florida Gulf Shrimp Basket; Captain Crunch Grouper Sandwich served with Sweet Fries and Key Lime Dipping Sauce; Whole Yellowtail Snapper; Barracuda with Cranberry Chipotle Sauce & Florida Fried Green Tomatoes.

The show reruns on Monday, January 25 at 9:30 a.m. EST and Thursday, January 28 at 10:30 a.m. EST. Please check local listings.

Emeril’s Florida Season Four is a 13-episode series highlighting the Sunshine State through the eyes of Emeril on-location with a focus on food, cooking, events and activities around the state. Throughout the fourth season, Emeril will be visiting Florida’s top restaurants and resorts. He will also prepare some of his favorite recipes which often will feature some of the best seafood Florida has to offer. The FRLA and VISIT FLORIDA sponsor the series. For additional information on the series, including links to previous episodes, please go to the Cooking Channel website here. For a preview of Sunday’s episode, click here.

Editor’s Note: For photo and video requests of Emeril Lagasse with personnel from Star Fish Company, Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen and Crazy Fish Bar & Grill, photos of signature menu items and recipes of featured dishes, please contact Elizabeth Ray at ERay@FRLA.org or 850.224.2250 x255.

About the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association FRLA is Florida’s premier non-profit hospitality industry trade association. Our mission is to ‘Protect, Educate and Promote’ Florida’s $82 billion hospitality industry which represents 23% of Florida’s economy and more than 1.1 million employees – making it the state’s number one industry. We offer regulatory compliance and food safety training needs (RCS and SafeStaff®); industry developed career-building high school programs (FRLAEF); sponsor the only event in Florida exclusively serving the restaurant and foodservice industry (FR&L Show, September 27-29, 2016 in Orlando); and we safeguard the needs of the hospitality industry by providing legislative advocacy. We represent and serve more than 10,000 independent and household name members, suppliers, and theme parks. For more information, go to www.FRLA.org and find us on Twitter @FRLAnews, Facebook and YouTube.

FL Students Showcase Culinary Arts & Restaurant Management Skills at ProStart Competition

(Orlando, FL) – The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Educational Foundation (FRLAEF) is proud to present the 2016 ProStart Culinary Team Competition. In its 16th year, the high-stakes competition features students from Florida’s ProStart program, a career technical education program where high school students learn from an industry-derived curriculum that teaches culinary techniques and restaurant management skills.  More than 20,000 students from across Florida are enrolled in the program. The event is scheduled to take place Friday, February 5 and Saturday, February 6, 2016 at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando.

“This event is an all-star line up of incredibly talented students, who certainly represent the bright future of Florida’s hospitality industry,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. “It’s wonderful to watch these students showcase the culinary skills they’ve worked so tirelessly to attain, and we are proud to help enhance their craft by awarding opportunities that will help take them to the next level of their education and ultimately, careers.”

During the event, 49 Florida ProStart teams will gather to compete in either the culinary arts or restaurant management divisions. Culinary teams will prepare a three-course meal in 60 minutes, without access to running water or electricity using only two butane burners, and management teams present a business proposal for an original restaurant concept to a panel of industry judges.

Students will compete for more than $800,000 in scholarships. First-place teams from the management and culinary competitions will advance to the prestigious National ProStart Invitational, April 29-May 1, 2016, in Grapevine, Texas.

WHAT:
The FRLA Educational Foundation’s ProStart Culinary Team Competition
400 Florida High School Students from 49 Schools Scheduled to Compete

WHEN:
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2016
9:00 AM – 6:00 PM     Johnson & Wales University Culinary Competition
9:00 AM – 5:10 PM     Cracker Barrel Management Competition
9:00 AM – 3:00 PM     Keiser University Edible Centerpiece Competition
9:00 AM – 6:00 PM     Education & Business Expo

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2016
7:00 AM – 3:07 PM     Johnson & Wales University Culinary Competition
8:00 AM – 1:50 PM     Cracker Barrel Management Competition
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM     Education & Business Expo
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM   The Coca-Cola Company Waiters Relay Competition
1:00 PM                       Chef’s Warehouse Raffle
6:30 PM – 9:00 PM     Salute to Excellence Awards at Rosen Plaza Hotel, Grand Ballroom

WHERE:
Rosen Plaza Hotel
9700 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819

The media is invited to attend both days of competition and the awards ceremony. There will be an opportunity to film the events and interview the participants and judges. Please contact FRLA Communications Director Elizabeth Ray at 850.224.2250 x255 or via email at ERay@frla.org to arrange. The complete list of winners will be posted on the FRLA website and distributed to media outlets following the awards ceremony.

Please visit FRLA.org for more information about the FRLAEF program, a list of participating high schools and the 2-day event program. Additionally, be sure to follow this event live on social media by searching for #FLProStart.

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About the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association
FRLA is Florida’s premier non-profit hospitality industry trade association. Our mission is to ‘Protect, Educate and Promote’ Florida’s $82 billion hospitality industry which represents 23% of Florida’s economy and more than 1.1 million employees – making it the state’s number one industry. We offer regulatory compliance and food safety training needs (RCS and SafeStaff®); industry developed career-building high school programs (FRLAEF); sponsor the only event in Florida exclusively serving the restaurant and foodservice industry (FR&L Show, September 27-29, 2016 in Orlando); and we safeguard the needs of the hospitality industry by providing legislative advocacy. We represent and serve more than 10,000 independent and household name members, suppliers, and theme parks. For more information, go to www.FRLA.org and find us on Twitter @FRLAnews, Facebook and YouTube.