Charles Bernstein, editor in chief of Nation’s Restaurant News in the 1980s and author of several restaurant leadership books, died Wednesday at an assisted living center in Moorestown, N.J. He was 81.
Bernstein had been dealing with Alzheimer’s disease over the past few years, according to his daughter, Georgia Bernstein.
Bernstein was born in New York on Nov. 19, 1934. He was a graduate of Cornell University and earned a Master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Bernstein joined former NRN parent company Lebhar-Friedman Inc. in 1972 as an editor with Discount Store News. In 1973, he moved to sister publication NRN.
Bernstein left his post as NRN editor in chief in 1991, and went on to write for a number industry publications. He also wrote and co-authored several books, including “Winning the Chain Restaurant Game: Eight Key Strategies” in 1994, as well as “Great Restaurant Innovators: Profiles in Success” and “Sambo's: The Inside Story of a Restaurant Empire's Rise and Fall.”
Bernstein was “a hard-core journalist,” recalled Paul Frumkin, a former NRN managing editor who worked with Bernstein in the 1980s.
“He loved to chase stories,” Frumkin said. “When we went over to computers, he still wrote on a manual typewriter, I think it was a Smith-Corona.
“He was a two-fingered typist, so wherever you were in the newsroom you’d hear that rat-a-tat-tat,” he recalled. “You knew Charlie was bearing down on a story.”
Bernstein was also known for his kindness. Thomas J. Haas, president of Amelia Island, Fla.-based Thomas J. Haas & Associates Inc., and a former Lebhar-Friedman executive who worked with Bernstein until 1985, said the journalist was an avid tennis player.
“I played tennis with Charlie many times,” Haas wrote in an email, “and every time (which was often) he put the ball past me, Charlie would apologize — which tells you truly what Charlie was all about.”
Family members said services were held Friday. Bernstein was preceded in death by his wife, Norma. He is survived by three children and seven grandchildren.