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National Restaurant Association to Stay in Chicago

The National Restaurant Association signed a new five-year agreement for the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show and International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event to remain in Chicago's McCormick Place through 2016.

The agreement, signed with the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) and the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau (CCTB), wasn't without any initial review or critiques first, however. Part of the new extension will require McCormick Place to make some major improvements to the quality and execution of the show, things that came under fire in the last couple years amidst clashes between Chicago labor unions, the Pier Authority, city and exhibitors.

The Pier Authority will seek to allow exhibitors to undertake a number of tasks they were previously precluded from engaging in, although they did not reveal the specifics of those tasks. In addition, the Pier Authority will decrease foodservice and electrical costs for exhibitors, as well as continue in its trend of decreasing foodservice at the show in general. The Pier Authority will also take steps to improve wireless communication at the show.

"We are in a global marketplace with instant communications and intense competition," Association President Dawn Sweeney said in a release. "With that reality as a backdrop, the National Restaurant Association is pleased with the direction the recent legislation has taken, and we encourage labor leaders to continue working to provide an unsurpassed experience to attract an ever greater number of trade show exhibitors from across the United States and around the world to Chicago."

The show will bring in $600 million for Chicago through 2016, according to the Association.


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