Skip to main content

Founders of La Quinta, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises to Be Inducted Into Hospitality Hall of Honor 8/30/2013

Team of student managers to plan, execute reception, dinner and ceremony honoring inductees

HOUSTON—Pioneering hotelier Sam Barshop and successful restaurateur Richard Melman will be inducted into the Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor this year at the University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management.

The Hall of Honor, which is housed at Hilton College, was created in 1995 to recognize industry leaders who have made extraordinary contributions to American and international business and society.

Barshop, founder of La Quinta Inns & Suites and creator of the limited-service hotel concept, is a Texas native whose lodging career began in San Antonio in 1963. In 1968, he opened the first two La Quinta hotels, just in time for the HemisFair. La Quinta’s limited-service model and economical prices appealed to frequent business travelers, and the company took off. Today, La Quinta operates and provides franchise services to more than 800 hotel properties in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Melman, founder and chairman of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises—which owns more than 95 restaurants nationwide—grew up working in the restaurant industry. In 1971, he and business partner Jerry Orzoff opened their first restaurant, R.J. Grunts, a hip burger joint that quickly became one of the most popular spots in Chicago. From there, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises continued to conceptualize and open new restaurants, today operating almost 50 different concepts in seven states and employing roughly 7,000 people.

Barshop and Melman’s contributions to the industry will be recognized at the 18th Annual Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor reception, dinner and induction ceremony—planned and executed by a team of Hilton College student managers—on October 23, 2013, at the Hilton University of Houston.

The student team will also plan and host a series of industry-related “Think Tanks” in the days leading up to the induction ceremony, featuring special guest panelists from a wide variety of hospitality fields, to give the entire student body a chance to network and learn from the experts.

Tickets are still available for the reception, dinner and ceremony. To purchase tickets or for more information on this important industry event, contact Alexis Hoey at or 713.743.2432.

Taylor Wiley