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Sunday, Jun 4, 2023

It’s Curtains for the Hollywood Show in Burbank

The Burbank Airport Marriott has been stage for the Hollywood Show, a memorabilia convention of the TV and movie industry, for eight years. But in 2013, the show must go on somewhere other than Burbank. David Elkouby, the show’s promoter, said the run has come to a close due to cost increases at the hotel. Unfair increases if you ask him. “They were just putting the screws to us,” Elkouby said. “We fill up the hotel for them. We can fill up to 500 rooms. That’s not chump change.” In addition to the room costs, which Elkouby said would rise from $105 per night to more than $165 per night for show guests, the convention also paid a vendor fee to the city of Burbank. That tax, according to Elkouby, could add up to more than $5,000 each year. The show hosted four events at the Burbank hotel each year, often drawing more than 4,000 people each time. Reginald McDowell, the manager of the Burbank Airport Marriott, disputed that the cost increases were unfair, and said he hopes the group will reconsider its departure. “We presented them with a fair offer and it just wasn’t what they wanted to pay,” McDowell said. “It was a great business for our hotel. For now, the convention has moved to the Westin Los Angeles Airport hotel. It was held there the weekend of Jan. 11 and featured actors and actresses from shows such as “Star Trek,” “Leave It to Beaver” and “Lassie.” Slimming Down Restaurant menus just keep getting slimmer and slimmer – as in calorie counts. The latest chain to downsize is Applebee’s, which has added three new items to its under 550 calorie menu: Zesty Roma Chicken & Shrimp, Lemon Parmesan Shrimp and the Napa Chicken and Portobello Mushrooms. Dan Smith, communications manager for Applebee’s, owned by DineEquity Inc. of Glendale, said the chain has had a low-calorie Weight Watchers brand menu since 2004. But in January, when people are still trying to keep to their New Year’s resolutions, sales of low-calorie items are higher. “It’s about big flavor, big portions, and oh, by the way, it’s under 550 calories,” Smith said. Angie Pappas, a spokeswoman for the California Restaurant Association, a trade group in Sacramento, said the top trend in the industry today is offering more healthy eating options. “Restaurants want to sell people what people want to buy,” she said. She believes sales are driven both by greater health awareness and a sustained high level of spending at restaurants. According to the National Restaurant Association, 47 percent of the food dollars spent in the United States is in restaurants. Another San Fernando Valley company better known for its big portions of fatty foods, Cheesecake Factory Inc., also has found success with a “SkinnyLicious Menu.” It features almost 50 items including appetizers, entrees and cocktails. Alethea Rowe, senior director of public relations and brand management for the company, said the menu has been a hit with customers. “It’s been very strong for our brand,” she said. Blogging by the Sea One of the largest cruise lines in the world, Princess Cruises, has launched a blog to help connect with its customers. The Santa Clarita company posted its first entry of its new “Linked by the Sea” blog earlier this month. The blog will relay first-hand stories from passengers and crew members at sea. In the first post, passenger Steve Deas wrote about how wearing a kilt on board became an icebreaker to connect with a maitre d’ for the cruise line. The friendship eventually led Deas to organize a surprise vow-renewal ceremony with his wife on board the Emerald Princess. The company, a subsidiary of Carnival Corp. & plc of Miami, wants blog readers to share their “Linked by the Sea” stories online. Princess operates 16 ships that carry 1.3 million passengers annually. Staff reporter Elliot Golan can be reached at (818) 316-3123 or golan@sfvbj.com.

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