By Derrek J. Hull, Blogger-in-Chief
The National Restaurant Association was joined today by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and industry leaders in announcing that the annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show and International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event will remain in Chicago through 2021. After thorough review of options, the Association signed a new five-year agreement with the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) and Choose Chicago to keep the restaurant and hospitality industry’s largest trade show at McCormick Place.
Dawn Sweeney, National Restaurant Association President and CEO, announced the future plans of the Association’s annual NRA Show at a news conference earlier today at McCormick Place.
“The restaurant industry is a large, dynamic, creative and generous collection of businesses that serve every community in this nation. Therefore, it’s important to us that we hold our industry’s premier trade show in a location that embodies so many of our industry’s unique qualities and values,” said Sweeney.
Sweeney added, “Chicago is a world-class travel destination that provides outstanding business facilities, coupled with world-renowned restaurants, vibrant culture and dynamic entertainment.
“Our Show’s 60,000+ attendees and exhibitors from all 50 states and more than 100 countries deserve and expect great taste – and Chicago delivers.
“Along with everything Chicago offers, the labor reforms enacted provide greater opportunities to take advantage of what McCormick Place has to offer our customers than ever before.
“Thank you all for your pragmatism, foresight and diligence. Your efforts will make our NRA Show-related experiences much more attractive for all our customers.
“We also know our continued growth directly translates into clear and measurable benefits for Chicago. Continued cooperation from Chicago’s labor unions has made this agreement possible and has also fueled significant growth in our use of exhibit space — a 12.4 percent increase over 2010.
“We are assured that our Show will provide exhibitors with a first-rate experience, and with the new exhibitor rights, our customers will realize sustained savings; enhancing our ability to attract an even greater number of trade show exhibitors from across the United States and around the world to Chicago.
“We’re in a global marketplace with instant communications and intense competition. Given that reality, the National Restaurant Association is pleased with the direction the labor leaders have taken. Chicago is now a more exhibitor-friendly, hassle-free and cost-effective convention and trade show destination.
“As a result of the hard work of the Mayor and his team, and other leaders in Chicago and across the state, the National Restaurant Association is pleased to know that we’ll continue to call Chicago home -- adding to the 63 consecutive years that our trade show has already been held here.
“The continuation of this amazing history will bring more than $600 million – well in excess of one half of a billion dollars - to Chicago between 2017 and 2021."