FMA Charlie Award Winner 2012, 2013


Sign Up for Digital Updates


Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Visit for the 2012
Food Manager Training
& Testing Schedule

National Restaurant News


Attract, Engage Visitors with VISIT FLORIDA Partnership 

By Kate Chunka

VISIT FLORIDA, the state's Official Tourism Marketing Corporation, exists to  romote travel to and within Florida and to establish Florida as the #1 travel destination in the world.

Much of this effort is accomplished through marketing and advertising efforts throughout the United States and the world, but VISIT FLORIDA also depends on the Florida tourism industry to amplify the message.

The partnership between VISIT FLORIDA and core tourism businesses throughout the state—hotels, restaurants, attractions, and visitor services—is critical to reaching our mutual goal of attracting 100 million visitors and more.

To effectively equip businesses with the tools needed to market their brands, attract more visitors, and boost revenue, VISIT FLORIDA offers a unique Partnership Program.

The mission of the Partnership Program is simple:

First, VISIT FLORIDA maintains and grows a membership base and network of core Florida tourism businesses, and provides to these Partners the tools and programs to bring visitors to their businesses and destinations.

Click to read more ...


Urban Expositions Acquires Florida Show 

FRLA Maintains Sponsorship of Trade Show

The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) announced it will partner with Urban Expositions, the new owner of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show. Urban Expositions has acquired the trade show from Reed Exhibitions. As part of the acquisition, the company also purchased the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo, Expo Comida Latina and the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show.

Urban Expositions will assume ownership immediately, although Reed Exhibitions is managing the 2013 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show at the Orange County Convention Center.

“We are thrilled to partner with Urban Expositions and build on the success of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of FRLA. “We will work closely, as we did with Reed Exhibitions, to strengthen professional growth opportunities and enrich the trade show experience for exhibitors and attendees.”

Doug Miller, President of Urban Exhibitions, said, “We look forward to building upon the tradition of success the FRLA and Reed Exhibitions have firmly established for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show.” In addition, Miller noted, “To that point, we will be working closely with the Association’s executive leadership, veteran show team members, and actively seeking feedback from exhibitors and attendees alike, as we move forward in our efforts to continue strengthening the show’s business and professional growth potential for all participants.”

The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show is the only comprehensive industry event devoted to the Southeast U.S. restaurant, foodservice and hospitality market. The Show provides exhibitors a strategic forum to demonstrate food products, technology and equipment, as well as discuss service solutions with current customers and new prospects.

Urban Expositions is the largest gift, airport and souvenir trade show organizer in the U.S., hosting a total of 28 shows each year. In January of 1996, Urban Expositions launched the semi-annual Philadelphia Gift Show, which has become one of the largest and most successful regional gift events in the Nation.

Since then, the company has continued to grow through acquisitions and new show development. Based in Kennesaw, GA, Urban Expositions offers a complete roster of trade show management services, including exhibit sales and marketing, operations, exhibitor/attendee promotions and services, media relations, seminar and event coordination, database development and management.

For more information please visit


Time to Get Ready for Health Care Law

During the 2013 Winter Board meeting, FRLA took part in a Health Care Panel Discussion to review the upcoming requirements of the new Affordable Care Act.

Get Organized, Do Your Homework

Big health care changes are headed your way soon – which means employers need to get familiar with the fine print of the 2010 health care law now.The biggest changes hit businesses in 2014, when the law’s employer mandate requires employers of 50 or more full-time-equivalent employees to either offer qualifying health plans to full-time employees and their dependents or face penalties for failing to offer a plan or failing to offer a plan that meets certain affordability and value standards.

Some changes are already underway. A mandate due to take effect in March requiring employers to give employees notice about new government “Health Insurance Marketplaces” that are supposed to begin signing people up for 2014 health coverage starting this October has just been postponed until later in 2013.

The law is complex. Each regulatory proposal to implement the law adds complexity – and, in some cases, greater flexibility for employers. Although some regulations are missing and most are not finalized, employers can use the proposed regulations in place now to plan for 2014.

Some large employers may find that the law is more workable than they anticipated. Others may find the law imposes costs and administrative burdens that could make it easier for a business to opt for paying penalties instead of offering health coverage.

Either way, getting ready takes a lot of advance planning – including time with tax advisors, insurance brokers, payroll providers and key staff -- to understand the impact of the law and think through your options for implementing it in your business.

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) has been working since the law was enacted to highlight the restaurant industry’s compliance challenges, and will keep pressing regulatory agencies for answers and maximum flexibility as the rules are written. The NRA will also continue to urge Congress and the White House to address the provisions that have the greatest impact on employers’ ability to create jobs.
New regulations released

The Internal Revenue Service issued a massive proposed regulation in late 2012 to explain what employers need to do to comply with the employer mandate starting in 2014. The proposal covers critical parts of the law for employers:

  • Calculating whether you meet the 50-full-time-equivalent threshold: Employers will be required to look at employment levels for the previous calendar year to evaluate whether they’re covered by the employer mandate in the following calendar year. The calculation involves counting full-time employees per month; coming up with a full-time-equivalent number for the hours worked by part-time employees; and getting a 12-month average. The IRS regulation explains the calculation in detail. To determine who’s covered by the employer mandate in 2014, the agency will let employers look at six consecutive months of employment in 2013, rather than a full year.
  • Definition of full-time: To avoid penalties, starting in 2014 large employers will be required to offer affordable health plans to full-time employees and their dependents. The IRS defines “full time” as a person who averages 30 “hours of service” per week in a given month, or at least 130 hours of service in a calendar month. That includes both hours worked and hours for which payment is due, such as vacation, sick leave, jury duty and other time. The IRS will let employers use lookback periods of three to 12 months to measure whether existing employees whose hours vary or are seasonal employees worked full-time hours; if they are, employers are then obligated to treat them as full-time for purposes of offering health benefits for a subsequent corresponding “stability” period of not less than six months. The IRS offers similar measurement periods to help employers gauge the full-time status of new variable-hour or seasonal employees.
  • Penalties: Large employers covered by the law’s employer mandate face two possible types of penalties starting in 2014. If an employer fails to offer coverage and any full-time employee uses a tax credit to buy coverage on an exchange, the employer will be liable for a “4980H(a)” penalty of $2,000 for each full-time employee, minus the first 30 full-time employees. If an employer offers coverage but it’s not affordable, the employer owes a “4980H(b)” penalty of $3,000 for each full-time employee certified by an exchange as eligible for a premium tax credit to help them purchase insurance through the exchange.
  • Affordability of premiums:  Large employers can face penalties if full-time employees use a tax credit to buy health insurance on an exchange because workplace coverage is not affordable. The employer’s plan is considered unaffordable if the employee is required to pay more than 9.5 percent of his or her household income for individual coverage – or, alternatively, 9.5 percent of W-2 wages (Box 1 of the W-2, including tip income), or several other options.  The IRS regulations explain the affordability test in detail and provide three “safe harbor” methods to test affordability.

Visit for ongoing information as federal agencies, Congress and states take further steps on health care.


Business as Usual. (No Matter What)

Ten Steps Every Business Should Take To Prepare For A Business Interruption

By Agility Recovery

When people think of disasters, they generally envision hurricanes, tornados or floods - catastrophic events that devastate communities. But for a business, a disaster can be something as small as a failed server or power outage. These seemingly minor events can have a shocking impact on a business, often bringing operations to a standstill.

“The impacts of an interruption can be stunning,” says Bob Boyd, President and CEO of Agility Recovery, an industry leader in business continuity and disaster recovery solutions for small to midsized businesses. “Statistics indicate that about 40 percent of small businesses do not reopen following a major disaster because they do not have a recovery plan in place.” Agility Recovery ensures continuity of operations in the event of a disaster by providing businesses in need with any or all of the four key elements of disaster recovery:

  1. Office Space complete with desks and chairs
  2. Power for your office (generators)
  3. Communication: telephone and internet access
  4. Computer systems: computers, servers, printers, fax.

Creating a basic, executable business continuity plan is one of the most important steps you can take to protect your organization and assure business as usual – no matter what the scenario. Below are ten key steps to help you get started.

  1. Assess your risk – both internally and externally.
    Which disasters will most likely impact your business? Though major disasters dominate the headlines, most business interruptions are caused by every day events, such as power outages, human error and technology failure. It is important to assess your risk for catastrophic weather occurrences, but equally if not more important to assess exposure to more commonplace risks.
  2. Assess your critical business functions.
    Evaluate and document how your company functions and determine which processes, employees, equipment and materials are critical for your daily operations. Critical business functions include such things as billing, payroll and service fulfillment. List these functions and determine a process for restoring them in the event of an interruption.

Click to read more ...


Modern Line Furniture Expands to the Sunshine State

New Florida Showroom located in Dania Beach Design District

Modern Line Furniture announced its expansion to Florida with a 4,000 square foot showroom officially opened on June 13, 2012 in Dania Beach, Florida.

With the growing demand of modular, contemporary furniture, this showroom displays a variety of furniture offerings for commercial establishments such as restaurants, bars, nightclubs, hotels, etc.  Products on display include outdoor furniture collections, modular bars, modular seating collections, various functional coffee tables and so much more!

“Florida is the ideal location for our newest showroom,” said Vlad Spivak, CEO of Modern Line Furniture.  “Our unique, contemporary designs will cater perfectly to this region. We have several hotel, nightclub and bar clients already in the area.  We are now able to work even closer with our current customers while presenting our contemporary, functional product offerings to new customers.”

For more information about Modern Line Furniture, visit, email, or call 800-637-5596.