Erica P. Burns
Director of Communications
Louisiana Restaurant Association
2700 N. Arnoult Road
Metairie, LA 70002
(504) 636-6516 Direct Line
(504) 454-2277 Office
(504) 454-2299 Fax

METAIRIE, La. - The Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA)'s premier foodservice event, the Louisiana Foodservice & Hospitality EXPO takes place August 6-8, 2016 at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center, Halls I-J, with an estimated 10,000 attendees. The EXPO is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. On Monday, the EXPO is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

"The EXPO is a must for restaurant owners, managers, buyers, hotel food and beverage directors and many others. It's the only place in Louisiana to gain valuable industry knowledge and shop hundreds of companies under one roof," said Stan Harris, President & CEO of the LRA.

The EXPO, celebrating the 70th anniversary of the LRA, is the largest, most comprehensive industry event in the Gulf South region. Companies will be featuring a wide range of industry-focused products and services. The EXPO will deliver an environment where exhibitors can promote their businesses and attendees can network.

The EXPO welcomes more than 50 new exhibiting companies this year.

The Opening Ceremony, Saturday morning, August 6, at 10:45 a.m. in the Hall I foyer, will feature special guest, National Restaurant Association Chair Joe Kadow, and will kick off 63 years of bringing together restaurateurs and suppliers for the ultimate shopping and learning experience.

A well-received feature of the EXPO-the IDEA ZONE, where express presentations will be made all three days of the EXPO-will cover emerging trends, best business practices and professional development. Timely sessions of note include "Presidential Candidates' Tax Positions & Their Potential Impact on the Restaurant Industry," Saturday, August 6 at 4 p.m.; "Labor & Employment Boot Camp," Sunday, August 7 at 1:45 p.m. and presentations to help an operator stay profitable such as "7 Must Dos to Reduce Labor Costs," Sunday, August 7 at 12:30 p.m. and two chances to hear "Don't Let EMV Chargebacks Cut into Your Profits," Saturday, August 6 at 1:30 p.m. and Sunday, August 7 at 3:45 p.m.

The 2016 EXPO will once again be the venue for the Gulf Coast Seafood Pavilion and the Great American Seafood Cook-Off (GASCO), both celebrating its 13th year and produced by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board (LSPMB). On August 6, 11 chefs from across the nation will compete, using domestic seafood from their home states, vying for the title of King or

In May, Chef Blake Phillips of Restaurant Sage in Monroe was crowned King of Louisiana Seafood during the Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off. This year's judges include Steve Green of #Foodiechats, Jason DeRusha of Minnesota Monthly magazine, Chef Brian West of Smoke: The Restaurant in San Antonio, food writer and editor Jennifer Cole, Chef Jamie Adams of il Giallo in Atlanta and Chef John State of Disneyland Resort.

"Having GASCO as part of the LRA's EXPO demonstrates our industry's commitment to promoting not only Gulf seafood, but all domestic seafood, as a center of the plate staple in Louisiana and beyond," added Harris.

The GASCO is open to the public and tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $5 at the two New Orleans area Whole Foods locations-Veterans and Arabella Station-and Whole Foods Baton Rouge. They can also be purchased online at Opening ceremonies begin at 11:30 a.m. and closing ceremonies will be at 4:30 p.m.

PLEASE NOTE: While the GASCO is open to the public, the Louisiana Foodservice & Hospitality EXPO is for foodservice industry professionals, at least 18 years of age, only. Security personnel will be onsite to monitor event barriers. Registered EXPO attendees will be allowed access to both events.

During the weekend of festivities, the LRA will honor business leaders for their contributions to the association and the restaurant industry at the LRA Education Foundation Five Star Futures Awards Gala Saturday evening at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside. Chefs Paul Prudhomme and Jerry Amato will be posthumously inducted into the LRA Hall of Fame, Heartland's Tammy Smitherman-Breaux will receive the Associate Member of the Year, State Representative Kirk Talbot will be awarded the Advocate of the Year and Commander's Family of Restaurants' Ti Martin and Lally Brennan will be recognized as the Restaurateurs of the Year.

"We are thrilled to recognize the talent in our industry during EXPO weekend," said Harris. "They represent the best part of our industry-philanthropy and community service."

Platinum Sponsors of the EXPO are: Capital One, Heartland, LRA Education Foundation, LRA Self Insurer's Fund for Workers' Compensation, Pan American Life Insurance Group, Republic National Distributing Company, Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits and UnitedHealthcare. Gold Sponsors of the EXPO are: Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses and Midlands Management Corporation and the Silver Sponsors of the EXPO are: Bourgeois Bennett, LLC, Fisher & Phillips LLP, Hailey McNamara, Hall, Larmann & Papale, LLP and Johnson, Yacoubian & Paysse.


The Louisiana Restaurant Association is one of the largest business organizations in the state, representing restaurant operations and related businesses. The restaurant industry in Louisiana is one the state's largest private employers, providing jobs to more than 204,000 residents. Restaurants in Louisiana are expected to generate sales of $8.7 billion in 2016. Get up-to-date news about the LRA and the restaurant industry from