The National Restaurant Association announced it has selected John C. Metz, CEO, executive chef, and co-founder of Marlow’s Tavern, Aqua Blue, and Sterling Spoon Culinary Management based in Atlanta, to serve as its convention chair.

He will be the convention chair for the 2015 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show and the 2015 Beverage Alcohol for Restaurants (BAR) at the NRA Show, previously known as the International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event. 

In this capacity, Metz will advise the Association to ensure that the trade show—the most comprehensive event for restaurants, foodservice, and hospitality in the U.S. and abroad—represents the current industry landscape in a robust and dynamic way.

Metz was on the cover of FSR's June 2014 issue; click here to read editor Connie Gentry's in-depth interview with him about his achievements and perspective on running a restaurant group.

The 2015 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show will take place May 16-19 at Chicago’s McCormick Place and the 2015 BAR at the NRA Show will take place May 17-18 in the adjacent Lakeside Ballroom at McCormick Place.

“Every year, we advance the products, services, and programming of the Show to ensure that attendees receive the key learnings and practical resources to continue to push our industry forward,” says  Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “John Metz’s 31 years of restaurant and hospitality experience will be an invaluable resource to our team through providing leadership and insights into what is most timely and critical to the operator community.”

The Atlanta-area chef and restaurateur offers a distinctive perspective, as he owns and operates independent restaurants as well as an on-site foodservice and catering company. His company, Sterling Hospitality, operates 15 locations of Marlow’s Tavern, as well as global restaurant Aqua Blue Restaurant & Bar. 

He also co-founded and operates Sterling Spoon Culinary Management, an upscale contract foodservice company that specializes in on-site restaurant management. Sterling operates 20 cafes and restaurants in office buildings in Atlanta. 

His companies have received local and industry awards such as the National Restaurant Association’s Good Neighbor Award in 2007/2008; Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for Aqua Blue from 2003 to current; and Jezebel magazine’s Top 100 Restaurants for all three concepts.

Metz has been a member of the National Restaurant Association’s Board of Directors since 2006. He also sits on the Georgia Restaurant Association’s Board of Directors and The Atlanta Visitors and Convention Bureau’s Board of Directors, as well as served as chairman for the Distinguished Restaurants of North America (DiRoNA) in 2007 and 2008. 

In 2013, Metz received an IFMA Silver Plate and ultimately won the 2013 IFMA Gold Plate Award. In addition, he is actively involved with the Special Olympics of Georgia and Share our Strength organizations. Sterling Hospitality has raised more than $600,000 for these and other local community organizations. 

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