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By Carol Erickson


** Hires more than 1.1 Million Employees
** Currently an 82 Billion Dollar Industry
** Creates 23% of Florida’s Economy

Florida is blessed with the finest beaches, culture and beautiful weather, but what brings tourists and families in record numbers are the many award -winning restaurants and resorts that are abundant in our state.  On April 20th, the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association shared their industry insights with small business owners in the first-ever Independent Operators Workshop. With the direct correlation to the explosive growth in the food industry, these energy-packed seminars were designed to educate and share valuable information from the top industry’s experts in the field.

Kathleen Wood and Jim Knight were the two keynote speakers.  Kathleen is a nationally known growth strategist and motivational speaker from Chicago.  Jim Knight closed the event with his refreshing style that brought high energy with his interactive and entertaining approach. His ability to personally reach out to everyone in the room was so evident that weather you were a novice or veteran in the industry, you walked away with your creative juices flowing.

We are grateful to the Florida Restaurant Association for the enormous contribution to our economy and continuing educating and supporting our vibrant and growing food industry.




Hospitality Leaders Share Industry Insights With Southwest Florida’s Independent Restaurateurs and Hoteliers
– FRLA to Host Independent Operators Workshop in Sarasota, April 20 –
(Sarasota, Fla.) The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) is thrilled to share industry insights with small business owners at its first-ever Independent Operators Workshop. The event, which is designed as an educational and entertaining session about best-practices, is scheduled for Wednesday, April 20, 2016 at the Polo Grill and Bar in Lakewood Ranch.The FREE half-day workshop features keynote speakers, Jim Knight and Kathleen Wood, who will provide solutions for business growth, tricks of the trade and new management skills. Hospitality industry leaders from the Ford’s Garage USA, Ocean’s 234, Gecko’s Hospitality, and Madison Social will also offer practical, real-life techniques to accelerate business.

“At the heart of our hospitality industry, are our independent owners and operators. They work hard to craft unique Florida experiences and ensure that guests are treated as part of the family. This event is our opportunity to share information and provide them with industry insights from experts in the field. It’s truly a must-attend event for any small business that is strategically planning their future,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

Jim Knight and Kathleen Wood are well-respected and nationally-renowned leaders in hospitality. Knight cut his teeth in the training field, starting out as a restaurant staff-level employee for Olive Garden and Hard Rock Cafe. He is the author of “Culture that Rocks: How to Revolutionize Your Company’s Culture” and is a Managing Partner/Owner in PeopleForward, an internal business solutions consortium providing organizational expertise to the restaurant and hotel industry. Wood is the founder of Kathleen Wood Partners, LLC, an innovative growth strategy firm specializing in shifting leaders and businesses to new levels of success. Her “Bold Leadership that Matters” platform has been adopted by CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, entrepreneurs, non-profits, start-ups and turn-arounds.

FRLA’s Independent Operators Workshop

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Polo Grill & Bar
10670 Boardwalk Loop
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202

8:45 – 9:45 AM               Keynote: Kathleen Wood, “How to Compete & Win in Today’s Market”
10:00 – 10:45 AM           Breakout Session #1: Tips for Effective Purchasing Panel
10:00 – 10:45 AM           Breakout Session #2: The Social Engagement Sales Approach
11:00 – 11:45 AM           Breakout Session #1: Power Panel: Successful Independents Sharing Best Practices
11:00 – 11:45 AM           Breakout Session #2: “Obtaining Capital for Growing my Restaurant Chain: Where do I get the Capital?”
12:00 – 1:30 PM             Keynote: Jim Knight, “Hiring & Retaining Great Employees”

Pre-Registration: Free
At The Door: $50
*Pre-Registration Open Until April 15


This event is sponsored by: The Zenith, Heartland, United Healthcare, Sysco, Coca-Cola, Florida Power & Light, First Watch, PeopleForward, VISIT FLORIDA, Gratuity Solutions, Sarasota Originals, Seabreeze Coffee & Tea, LoSalt, Atlas Insurance and Franchise Edge.

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.
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