Scott Joseph, an Orlando restaurant critic, was part of the team that convinced SPI to move NPE to Florida. Joseph writes in his blog that plastics industry representatives were worried that Orlando didn't have appropriate restaurants to wine and dine business clients. One in particular asked,"What are we supposed to do, have all of our client meetings in Golden Corral?"
And there we were, back at the same stereotype that the rest of the world has about Orlando restaurants. Most people see us as a city of theme parks with little more than corn dogs and turkey legs to sustain us. All-you-can-eat buffet restaurants represent haute cuisine, if any of us even knew such fancy words.To battle the stereotype, Orlando's team took Joseph along on their trip to the SPI's national board meeting last month in Washington. His mission -- to convince the plastics industry exhibitors that Orlando's restaurants had a lot of offer. Joseph writes that "all of the people associated with the plastics board were very nice, and they all said they were pretty sure Orlando would get the show...."
Still, it took another four weeks -- and another visit to Orlando -- before today's announcement sealing the deal. (Another stumbling block was assurances that local roads could withstand the weight of the house-sized manufacturing equipment that will be transported from railroad to the convention center.) After no phone calls all those years from Chicago's Mayor Daley, the plastics board members were most appreciative that Mayor Crotty took the time to come along. And during the pre-dinner reception, Crotty called two of the organization's leaders into an unoccupied meeting room and handed his cell phone to them. On the other end of the line, Governor Charlie Crist extended a personal invitation to them to bring their convention to Florida. So that's some of the backstory about how Orlando landed the NPE. Congratulations to the efforts of Sain and his team -- they impressed me with their dedication and vigorous pursuit of the prize. And congratulations to Central Florida's restaurant scene for being tout worthy. And that's just today -- imagine how much more vibrant and exciting the restaurant community will be by 2012.Great insider stuff... thanks for sharing that. It's nice to have a fun NPE-related blog post. Meanwhile, there's more bad news for McCormick Place today. The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the National Restaurant Association is considering taking its 2012 trade show to Orlando or Las Vegas.