You might expect this note to cover this issue’s biggest stories — from what’s ahead for food safety to R&D’s further evolution — but I’d like to take a different tack and discuss where Nation’s Restaurant News is today and where we plan to go in the future.
Like nearly all restaurants challenged by the tough economy, Nation’s Restaurant News has spent the last few years tweaking its brand deliverables. We streamlined our live events into one MUFSO Supershow, relaunched NRN.com — twice, actually — and expanded the use of exclusive data like Consumer Picks and the International Top 25. And we just debuted an iPad app, combining the best content from the magazine and the digital-friendly content from NRN.com into a unique offering for our tablet readers.
In short, just like the restaurants we cover, we tweaked what needed tweaking and invested in our core brand offerings. Our goal was to improve the value our readers get from their time spent with us and from the subscriptions they hold with us. Value — it’s not just a word ascribed to restaurants.
One major element we did not touch is our unwavering dedication to quality in our news gathering and reporting, trend analysis, and expert commentary. It is our differentiating brand attribute, as we’re able to cover restaurants around the country and abroad using the largest editorial staff and crew of contributing editors among foodservice B2B publications.
When Ron Ruggless tweets, he knows what he’s talking about; when Lisa Jennings breaks news online, she’s covered the bases; when Bret Thorn discusses food trends, he’s spoken to experts far and wide; and when Mark Brandau breaks down marketing campaigns, he’s spoken directly to the chief marketing officers. The same can be said for Paul Frumkin’s coverage of health care reform, Alan Liddle’s Top 200 leadership and Robin Lee Allen’s execution of Consumer Picks. It doesn’t stop there, as we have a dedicated digital team led by Olivia LaBarre and Sonya Moore, who coordinate and create our Web content and the e-newsletters we count on each day. Our masthead includes even more talented individuals, with too many names to list here.
This dedication to quality is where old-world media meets new-world media.
I have a favorite restaurant near Lake Michigan, where my family vacations. It’s a family-friendly, no-frills burger joint. Over the years we have watched it improve. First, it added a screened-in patio. Then came air conditioning, a kids’ game room, an expanded menu and, now, call-ahead seating. But they never touched the hamburgers, never touched the mozzarella sticks — a family favorite.
Nation’s Restaurant News is like that restaurant — a successful marriage of brand elements from the past and the future. The pages of the magazine will continue to bring news and insights, but subscribers will also find this content online. By the same token, you’ll see some of our proprietary digital data, like the NRN Social 200 or the Sales & Sentiment Tracker, make its way into this magazine.
As we expand Top 200, the reports will be accessible to our subscribers in print and in sortable data tables online. We’ll collect brand information at NRN.com for the first time and expand the Top 200 brand to highlight the “Next 20” — emerging restaurant chains on a growth track.
Our Community section will soon morph into “One in 13 Million” — a look at the new faces and voices of the industry, all of whom will be drawn from today’s 13.1-million-member restaurant industry workforce. We’ll find those new go-getters through social media campaigns and crowd sourcing.
We are no longer Nation’s Restaurant News the magazine and NRN.com, but, simply, Nation’s Restaurant News, the biggest media brand in B2B foodservice, accessible online, in print, at events, on your iPad and on your mobile phone.