BottomLine header

September 14, 2007
Dear Friend:

In 2006, 83.9 million people visited Florida. On average, visitors from within the United States stayed 5 nights. And they ate out. At Florida’s restaurants.

Florida’s restaurants are an essential part of Florida’s hospitality industry, and last week we traveled with the Florida Channel for a behind-the-scenes look at some of Florida’s chain restaurants: Outback, Sonny’s, Ruth’s Chris, and Beef O’Brady’s.

In the October edition of our quarterly news magazine, BusinessWorks, we’ll give you an in-depth look at the secrets of success for these restaurants, but there were several impressions I thought were worth sharing now.

First, leaders from each of these restaurant chains believe that quality begins with quality employees. They hire people who are warm and engaging and who genuinely care about people, and they take good care of their employees so that their employees take good care of their customers.

Second, they are passionate about the hospitality industry. For them, the joy of seeing people enjoy their meal and enjoy each other is an incomparable reward and justifies the often long hours and slim margins. They love the art of grilling a steak to perfection and serving it in the ideal setting.

Third, they hold themselves to incredibly high standards. Florida law requires our Hotel and Restaurant inspectors to conduct two inspections of each facility annually, but in order to ensure the safety of their customers, these restaurants conduct regular and rigorous training.

Finally, as we visited these restaurants and met with industry leaders at the annual Florida Restaurant and Lodging show, it became clear that they have an incredible network. Most of Florida’s restaurateurs have crossed paths in their professional lives, and they take seriously the responsibility of cultivating talent in the next generation. They have all had mentors who made the difference in their careers, and they are passionate about mentoring the next generation.

Last year alone the restaurant industry was responsible for $3.9 billion in sales tax revenue and employed 964,700 Floridians. We are fortunate to have them on the frontlines serving Florida’s visitors and growing our economy.

Secretary Benson Signature
Holly Benson

Department of Business and
Professional Regulation

1940 North Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
Customer Contact Center:

Board Schedule header

Here is a schedule of next week’s professional board meetings. For full meeting details, we’ve included a link
below to the department’s online calendar.

September 18-19, 2007
September 19, 2007

Telephone Conference Call

September 21, 2007
Conference Call Board Meeting

Secretary Benson on Outback Restaurant Tour

Secretary Benson on a tour of the Outback Research and Development Kitchen with Dave Del Rio, Director of Research and Development, Dave Ellis, VP Research and Development and Steve Erikson, Sr. VP of Operations, during a recent trip to Outback’s headquarters in Tampa.

60-second critic head

Got a minute? Learning what you think is vital to understanding ways we can best improve our services. Please take sixty seconds to answer our
question of the week.

What is your favorite restaurant in Florida? Why?

Email your answer to

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