Restaurant Assn. Show Remains at McCormick Place

Chicago -- The National Restaurant Association's (NRA) annual trade show, a major event that this year drew 74,000 people and 2,080 exhibiting companies, will remain at McCormick Place at least through 2011.

The new, five-year contract, announced today, stanches a loss of group business that has reduced Chicago from the number-one convention and trade show destination in the country to number three, behind Las Vegas and Orlando, numbers one and two, respectively.

"NRA's commitment to Chicago is welcome news for the 130,000 Chicagoans who work for hotels, restaurants, attractions, and other businesses that serve our visitors," said Mayor Richard M. Daley, who appeared at a press conference here with NRA chief executive Steven Anderson to announce the deal.

Said Anderson, "Chicago is a world-class destination which provides outstanding business facilities and services coupled with the great culinary, cultural and entertainment attractions that our exhibitors and attendees expect."

He added, "No other city trade show venue can, at this time, better satisfy the needs of the growing restaurant industry like McCormick Place."

The NRA's Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show is the largest food service and hospitality event in the country. It has been a mainstay of Chicago for 56 consecutive years. This year's show, a four-day event held in May, generated $106 million in direct revenue for Chicago.

Key provisions of the agreement between the NRA and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which operates McCormick Place, and the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, are the following: McCormick Place will improve service based on market research; the bureau will provide continued marketing support; and local hotels will increase the number of available rooms and room blocks for the show.

"We are committed to providing the NRA exhibitor and attendee with a first-rate experience," said Metropolitan Pier chief executive Leticia Peralta Davis.