Governor Rick Scott Highlights $74 Million for VISIT FLORIDA to Continue Record Tourism in the Sunshine State

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott visited the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to highlight $74 million in the “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget to continue attracting record numbers of tourists to Florida. Last year, Florida welcomed a record 98.9 million visitors, who spent a total of $73 billion while in the Sunshine State.

 

Governor Scott said, “Florida is the best tourist destination for families. Every 85 visitors to our state support one job, and a growing tourism industry means more opportunities for our families and a stronger economy. With countless attractions like the Clearwater Marine Aquarium throughout our state, we are welcoming a record number of visitors to Florida each year. I look forward to our investments in VISIT FLORIDA continuing to grow jobs and promote Florida as the ultimate travel destination across the world.”

 

The number of travel-related jobs is up 4.8 percent over last year, employing 1.2 million Floridians. For every dollar that was invested in VISIT FLORIDA last year, the state saw a return of $3.20. This May, Governor Scott announced that according to VISIT FLORIDA, more than 28 million visitors came to Florida in the first quarter of 2015, an increase of 6.2 percent over last year and the largest first quarter for visitation in the state’s history.

 

Will Seccombe, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA, said “Our thriving tourism industry employs 1.2 million Floridians and is essential to maintaining the growing economy in our state. VISIT FLORIDA is grateful to Governor Scott for his support as we continue our work of promoting everything the Sunshine State has to offer and attracting another record number of visitors.”

 

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium rescues and rehabilitates injured animals in order to release them back into their natural habitat. They also provide long term care when animals cannot be released. In 2014, the Aquarium welcomed approximately 600,000 visitors, and are on track to welcome 800,000 visitors this year. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium also hosted the filming of both Dolphin Tale movies, which had an economic impact of $1.3 billion for the state from 2012-2014.

 

David Yates, President and CEO of Clearwater Marine Aquarium, said, “In the past four years, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium has welcomed an incredible number of visitors from across the country, and we appreciate Governor Scott’s focus on growing the economy and investing in tourism. The animals at our facility, including the beloved Winter and Hope from the Dolphin Tale movies, serve as symbols of courage, perseverance and hope, and we are proud to share their stories with the thousands of individuals who visit our Aquarium each year.”

 

Senate President Andy Gardiner said, “Florida is a world-class travel destination, and our state’s record number of tourists last year helps us continue to build on that reputation. More visitors mean more jobs for Florida’s families, which is why Governor Scott and the Legislature continue to invest in our thriving tourism industry.”

 

Senator Jeff Brandes said, “Governor Scott’s work to improve the economic climate and make investments in VISIT FLORIDA helps make Florida a top tourist destination. With this investment, our great attractions and beautiful climate, we look forward to welcoming another record number of visitors to our great state.”

 

House Speaker Steve Crisafulli said, “I am proud to join Governor Scott in recognizing our improved economic climate, our recent record tourism numbers, and the over 1 million Floridians that are employed by the tourism industry. By continuing to make strategic investments in tourism, we are working to build on this exciting success and create even more opportunities for families across the state.”

Majority Leader Dana Young said, “The $74 million for VISIT FLORIDA in the “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget is great news for our state. This money will help Florida recruit more tourists to enjoy our world renowned beaches, attractions, and climate. We have made impressive gains in tourism, and we are excited to welcome more people to Florida.”

 

Rep. Larry Ahern said, “As Florida’s tourism industry continues to boom, I want to thank Governor Scott on behalf of beach communities and tourist destinations around the state for being so supportive. The growth of our state and our state’s economy is tied to those who choose to visit us.  I applaud the Governor for keeping his focus on making Florida the best place to work, play, retire and visit.”

 

Representative Kathleen Peters said, “I thank Governor Scott for his investments in VISIT FLORIDA. Every 85 visitors that come to Florida support one Florida job, and we look forward to reaching our goal of 100 million visitors in Florida this year.”

 

Representative Chris Sprowls said, “Every year, more and more visitors come to visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and this year they are on track to welcome 800,000 visitors from across the country. Funding for VISIT FLORIDA will help highlight attractions that create jobs, like the aquarium, and show visitors that Florida is the best travel destination in the world.”

 

Representative James Grant said, “I am grateful to Governor Scott for his support as we work to continue welcoming record numbers of visitors to the Sunshine State. The tourism industry is directly tied to Florida’s economy and is essential to job growth. Last year, 99 million visitors came to Florida and spent $73 billion, and we know VISIT FLORIDA will continue to recruit even more visitors to the Sunshine State.”

 

Representative Chris Latvala said, “I am proud Florida is one of the top tourist destinations in the world and that we on our way to reaching our goal of 100 million visitors in Florida. I congratulate Governor Scott for making important investments in tourism, which will greatly pay off for Florida’s economy and families.”

FRLA Statement on FDA’s Menu-Labeling Mandate Delay

Elizabeth Ray
FRLA Communications Director
850.224.2250 x255
ERay@FRLA.org

(Tallahassee, FL) – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has pushed the effective date for the federal menu-labeling regulation for chain restaurants and similar foodservice establishments to December 1, 2016. The FDA had originally set December 1, 2015, as the compliance date but said today that it is extending the compliance date in response to requests and in order to further clarify the rule’s requirements. Today, the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) released the following statement in response to the FDA’s determination.

“We applaud today’s decision by the Food and Drug Administration to require a nationwide, uniform menu-labeling standard for chain restaurants. The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, along with the National Restaurant Association, have long supported this universal approach, rather than inconsistent state-by-state guidelines which place undue burdens and restrictions on our restaurateurs. We look forward to our continued work with the FDA and the NRA in identifying best practices within many national establishments currently incorporating menu-labeling,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

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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, October 6-8, 2015 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.

Hospitality Industry Leaders Headline FRLA’s Marketing + Operations Summit

Media Contact:

Elizabeth Ray
FRLA Communications Director
850.224.2250 x255
ERay@FRLA.org

(Tampa, FL) – The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) is proud to present its annual Marketing + Operations Summit, scheduled for Wednesday, July 29 and Thursday, July 30 at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina. The two-day event is designed to spotlight hospitality industry leaders who have instituted best-practices in their own companies and introduce new business trends to increase sales and customer satisfaction. Featured world-class presenters from Coca-Cola, Firehouse Subs, Bloomin’ Brands, and Tijuana Flats will share marketing and operation tips and trends on how to manage your restaurant or hotel more effectively.

“This event is an opportunity to gain invaluable knowledge from some of the best in the business and this year, our line-up of speakers is truly stellar. We believe our Marketing + Operations Summit helps our colleagues in the hospitality and tourism industry boost their bottom lines and enhance their businesses. Here in the Sunshine State, we are incredibly proud of the exceptional guest experiences created every day and are excited to continue to cultivate our world-class service,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

For a full schedule of events, including speaker bios, please click here. Media is invited to attend portions of the two day event and asked to contact FRLA Communications Director, Elizabeth Ray at ERay@FRLA.org or 850.224.2250 x255 for confirmation.

WHAT:
Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association’s Marketing + Operations Summit

WHEN:                
Wednesday, July 29, 2015

*Registration opens at 11:15 AM

12:15 – 1:15 PM                Keynote: Ty Bennett, Founder of Leadership Inc.

1:35 – 5:00 PM                 Breakout Sessions

Thursday, July 30, 2015
8:00 – 8:45 AM                 Keynote: Don Fox, CEO Firehouse of America

James McManemon, General  Manager, The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island

9:00 AM  – 12:45 PM       Breakout Sessions

1:00 – 2:30 PM                   Keynote: Jim Knight, Founder/Owner of Knight Speaker

WHERE:              
Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina
700 South Florida Avenue, Tampa, FL 33602

813-221-4900

COST:          
Pre-Registration: 
$149
At The Door: $169
Hotel and dinner accommodations not included. Seating is limited.

For registration and additional information, please visit: http://frla.org/event/2015-marketing-operations-summit/. To see photos from last year’s event please click here or to view a video, click here. Additionally, be sure to follow this event live on social media by searching for #FRLASummit.

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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, October 6-8, 2015 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 Announces Partnership with Florida Bed and Breakfast Inns Association

Media Contact:

Elizabeth Ray
FRLA Communications Director
850.224.2250 x255
ERay@FRLA.org

 

(Tallahassee, FL) – The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) and the Florida Bed and Breakfast Inns Association (FBBI)  are thrilled to announce their new partnership cultivated to boost hospitality industry advocacy, education and promotion in the Sunshine State. This collaboration will bring together two non-profit organizations aimed at developing unique guest experiences, safeguarding the needs of the industry, and attracting visitors to Florida.

“We are proud to partner with the Florida Bed and Breakfast Inns Association because its members provide intimate atmospheres that give a firsthand glimpse of all that Florida has to offer. They showcase exceptional hospitality and understand the unnecessary burdens faced by many businesses in our industry. Through this partnership, we can help engage more industry leaders all working toward the same objective to ensure the success of Florida hospitality,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

“With support from the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, we will collectively boost our efforts across the state. FRLA has a proven track record of legislative successes, membership growth, and exciting promotional opportunities. With our unique properties and FRLA’s expansive reach, we believe we can help our industry continue to thrive,” said Patricia Detwiler, Managing Director of Florida Bed and Breakfast Inns.

 

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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, October 6-8, 2015 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.

 

About Florida Bed and Breakfast Inns
The mission of the Florida Bed and Breakfast Inns Association is Marketing, Advocacy and Education for the Bed and Breakfast Industry in the State of Florida.  FBBI is committed to fostering a knowledgeable, caring and conscientious community of professional innkeepers, networking throughout Florida to help member inns achieve their marketing goals and deliver the highest level of professionalism and experience. The vision of FBBI is to increase membership and to promote member inns, improve innkeeping through education and advocacy and enhance the value of membership to innkeepers. FBBI strives to aid the bed and breakfast industry through marketing, by initiating advocacy, providing programs, resources and services that enhance the professional skills of both member innkeepers and aspiring innkeepers and provide education, networking, and business opportunities relating to the bed and breakfast industry.

 

Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Launches New Website

– FRLA Collaborates with Marketing Agency, Sparxoo, to Cultivate Updated Online Presence-

 

(Tallahassee, FL) – The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) is proud to reveal its new website, the renovated FRLA.org. Created by Sparxoo, a digital marketing agency in Tampa, the updated online presence is designed to reflect the exceptional experiences cultivated by FRLA members. Its purpose is to give users an opportunity to easily access invaluable FRLA resources including membership tools, legislative advocacy insights, and exclusive hospitality education and training.

“We are thrilled to share the new FRLA.org because we feel it showcases a fresh look at our organization. FRLA is vibrant, thriving and creative and we believe this revitalized online identity highlights those attributes. We are thankful Sparxoo accurately captured what the FRLA is about and were able to make our website function and feel effective and efficient. It gives us the opportunity to continue to bolster our mission to protect, educate and promote Florida’s hospitality industry,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

The refreshed website includes innovative features that are new to the user experience. The Member Directory is an interactive tool that allows users to search for FRLA restaurateurs and hoteliers across the state. 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. Plus, a revamped Educational Foundation site is now integrated with FRLA’s main page.

“We’re excited to reveal the new FRLA website,” said David Capece, CEO of Sparxoo. “Our goal was to breathe a breath of fresh air into the FRLA brand, while combining a branded storytelling experience with the utility necessary for FRLA members to use the website as a resource center. The challenge was to simplify the complex, while being bold in accentuating what makes FRLA different. Our hats are off to the FRLA team for being willing to make such a striking change.”

 

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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, October 6-8, 2015 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.

About Sparxoo

Sparxoo, with offices in Tampa and Miami, is an integrated digital agency that creates competitive advantage at the intersection of digital technology and brand storytelling. As an integrated digital marketing agency, we are wired to disrupt the status quo with award-winning brand strategy, web design and digital marketing. We are proud to champion our client brands. For more information, visit www.Sparxoo.com.

FRLA Applauds Governor Scott’s Efforts to Slash Cell Phone and TV Tax

Media Contact:
Elizabeth Ray
FRLA Communications Director
850.224.2250 x255
ERay@FRLA.org

(Tallahassee, FL) – The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) applauds Governor Rick Scott’s “Keep Florida Working” budget and his efforts to slash the cell phone and TV tax. Currently, the communications services tax (CST), is an unnecessary financial burden on businesses and Floridians who are paying a rate of 9.17 percent on commercial landlines, cell phone and cable services, and 13.17 percent on satellite services. FRLA is hopeful that the Florida Legislature will approve Governor Scott’s tax cut proposal that will save Floridians an estimated $470 million annually.

“By working to cut the cell phone and TV tax, Governor Scott is once again giving Florida families a greater opportunity to succeed and the chance for businesses to thrive. His efforts will continue to make our great state a wonderful place for restaurants, hotels and attractions to set up shop, in turn building on our record success as a tourism destination. Not to mention, this will put money back in Floridians’ pockets and give them the opportunity to enjoy world-class hospitality service in their own backyard,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

To find out how much you could save, click here to use the tax cut calculator. For more information about Governor Scott’s “Keep Florida Working” budget please click here.

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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, October 6-8, 2015 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.

It is National Burger Day Join the Mooovement; Tallahassee Burger Trail Starts Monday, June 1

Media Contacts:
Elizabeth Ray, 850.224.2250 x255, ERay@FRLA.org
Sara Sowerby, 850.391.5040, Sara@on3pr.com

(Tallahassee, Fla.) –Today is National Burger Day, and an ideal time to start salivating about the Capital City’s celebration of America’s quintessential summertime dish!  The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) is proud to partner with VISIT FLORIDA, Cheney Brothers and the Florida Beef Council to present the Tallahassee Burger Trail. Beginning June 1 through July 31, 2015, the “trail” is comprised of locally owned or operated restaurants throughout the city. During the two-month event, residents and visitors can win weekly prizes by stopping by a participating restaurant to try the “trail featured” burger and share photos of their experience on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with #TallyBurgerTrail. Prizes include grilling packages, restaurant gift cards, t-shirts and more.

What better way to start the summer than by celebrating restaurants’ unique twists on this all-American staple,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of FRLA. “The Burger Trail is a great way to introduce more people to Tallahassee’s culinary offerings and highlight some of the best burgers in town, all while supporting our local restaurant community.”

To date, the 18 participating restaurants include:

101 Restaurant
Andrew’s Capital Grill & Bar
Avenue Eat & Drink
Canopy Road Café
Five Guys Burgers and Fries
Gordo’s
Grub Burger
Hurricane Grill & Wings
Juicy Blue
Madison Social
Marie Livingston’s Steakhouse
Merv’s Melt Shop
Midtown Caboose
Shula’s 347 Grill
The Tin Cow
Up in Smoke Pit BBQ
Wells Brothers Bar and Grill
Vertigo Burgers and Fries

“Florida is an agriculture state, and our cattlemen produce some of the best beef in the country,” said Florida Beef Council CEO, Jim Handley. “The Florida Beef Council is thrilled to team up with FRLA and Tallahassee restaurants to promote dishes made with beef.”

For additional information, such as restaurant locations and featured burgers, visit http://TallahasseeBurgerTrail.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 $76.1 billion hospitality industry which represents 23% of Florida’s economy, $4.6 billion in sales tax revenue, and more than one 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, October 6-8, 2015 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.

About the Florida Beef Council
The Florida Beef Council’s (FBC) mission is to effectively maintain and build demand for beef products through integrated and focused market development programs, while increasing the opportunity for the beef industry to earn an adequate return on investment. Founded in 1956 and funded by the Beef Checkoff, the FBC collects $1 from every head of cattle sold within the state for the exclusive purposes of promotion, education and research of beef. FBC is a Qualified State Beef Council and a member of the Federation of State Beef Councils. For more information about FBC, visit www.FloridaBeefCouncil.org.

Hospitality Industry Leader to Share Insights on How Restaurants and Hotels Can Appeal to Millennials

Media Contact:

Elizabeth Ray
FRLA Communications Director
850.224.2250 x255
ERay@FRLA.org

(Tallahassee, Fla.) – The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) is proud to host hospitality industry consultant, Dave Reid, at its upcoming Pinellas and Hillsborough Chapter meeting. The event is scheduled to take place at the St. Petersburg Marriott Clearwater from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM on Wednesday, April 29, 2015. Reid, a 30-year restaurant and hotel industry veteran, is slated to share a presentation titled “How Restaurants and Hotels Can Maintain an Increasing Awareness of the Largest Generation in the Country… Millennials!”

“Dave Reid is an incredibly gifted speaker, with industry insights that are invaluable to our friends in the hospitality business,” said Carol Dover, FRLA President and CEO. “As millennials continue to change the marketplace, it is crucial that owners and operators in the local community understand how to reach them, and Dave knows from first-hand experience what works. This is an event you won’t want to miss.”

Dave Reid is the former Executive Vice President of Operations for Miller’s Ale House Restaurants. He was with the company for more than 21 years, growing four restaurants to 70 restaurants in 10 states, with 300 managers and more than 6,000 employees. Prior to that role, he worked with T.G.I Friday’s, Pier 66 Hotel and Limelight Atlanta. Reid also served as FRLA’s former Chairman of the Board in 2011, and has played a vital role on the association’s Board of Directors for more than 15 years.

WHAT:
FRLA Pinellas and Hillsborough Chapter Meeting

SPEAKER:
Dave Reid, Former Executive VP of Operations, Miller’s Ale House
“How Restaurants and Hotels Can Maintain an Increasing Awareness of the Largest Generation in the Country… Millennials!”

WHEN:     
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
11:30 AM – 12:00 PM: Registration and Networking
12:00 – 1:30 PM: Luncheon and Presentation
*Media is Invited to Attend

WHERE:    
St. Petersburg Marriott Clearwater
12600 Roosevelt Boulevard North
St. Petersburg, FL 33716

COST:     
$23 Per Person (members and non-members)

To register for the event, please email dannette@frla.org or click here to see the event flyer. Please RSVP by Monday, April 27th.

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 $76.1 billion hospitality industry which represents 23% of Florida’s economy, $4.6 billion in sales tax revenue, and more than one 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, October 6-8, 2015 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.