Nation’s Restaurant News won the 2021 Jesse H. Neal Award for Best New Product last week in recognition of the success of the brand’s digital content series, Restaurants Rise.
The Jesse H. Neal Awards honor editorial excellence in business-to-business journalism and media and is often called the Pulitzers of the B2B journalism industry. This award was a new category focused on the successes and need for virtual connection during a time when no face-to-face conferences or connections were possible. The win of Restaurants Rise shows Nation’s Restaurant News’ ability to innovate and always meet the needs of its audience and community, trumping the competition with the program’s size, scope and engagement.
Restaurants Rise debuted in April 2020 as a digital community in support of restaurants and the foodservice industry during its most challenging times amid COVID-19 lockdowns, public health concerns, employee disruption and business closures. Restaurants Rise continued its efforts throughout all of 2020 with additional content engagements, solutions-focused seminars, virtual networking and sponsor activities. Blending the experience of live content and fully on-demand programing, Restaurants Rise was the first and largest digital community built around the common goals of restaurant leaders to connect and engage. Leaders from independent restaurants to the largest international chains, and brands across all segments, participated on topics covering menu, marketing, leadership, operations and workforce strategies.
“Restaurants Rise was the largest team effort we’ve undertaken, at a time of severe disruption for all,” said Sarah Lockyer, group director and publisher of the Informa Restaurant & Food Group and Nation’s Restaurant News. “We knew our audiences — both operators and suppliers — needed to connect, learn, lead and inspire together. Our teams across editorial, events, marketing, sales and operations jumped in, fully committed to the spirit of Restaurants Rise and what it could do to unite the industry. I’m so proud we’ve been recognized with this award.”
The content sessions and Q&As were fully open to the industry for free and were designed to help reconnect, reimagine and reset the restaurant industry during an unprecedented time. Restaurants Rise connected more than 10,000 restaurant professionals and booked more than 200 industry leaders to speak and share, including Digital Body Language expert and author Erica Dhawan, Women’s Foodservice Forum CEO Therese Gearhart, Inspire Brands CEO Paul Brown, Wingstop CEO Charlie Morrison, Union Square Hospitality Group president, Chip Wade, Fieldtrip chef and owner JJ Johnson, Carmi Soul Food chef and owner Carleen King, and diversity and inclusion expert Dr. James Pogue, among many others.
Restaurants Rise was committed to bringing diverse voices and faces to the forefront of programming and aided with restaurant relief in partnership with a charitable organization. The program offered fresh digital, video and social content through the end of the year.
“In a year when the restaurant industry was forced to pivot and innovate, Nation’s Restaurant News and sister brand Restaurant Hospitality also got creative to launch Restaurants Rise, bringing to life this digital platform to find support through the crisis,” said Lisa Jennings, Nation’s Restaurant News executive editor. “This Neal Award is a tribute to the entire team at Informa.”
“The success of this initiative was fueled not only by Nation’s Restaurant News, but also a testament to the power of the restaurant industry coming together in a time of crisis with the common goal of rebounding stronger than ever,” said Monique Monaco-Levy, director of events for the Informa Restaurant & Food Group. “An easy to access platform that was open to all to join and engage with no strings attached continues to be successful as we evolve our focus on bringing continued content and connection through our CREATE: The Future of Foodservice digital program in 2021.”
CREATE is an integrated digital and in-person experience uniting restaurant leaders across live, on-demand and in-person programming throughout the year. With a focus on the future of innovation, CREATE is open to all and is designed to help leaders forge new paths and build business, together. Learn more and join CREATE at create.nrn.com.
Nation’s Restaurant News was also nominated for a 2021 Neal award for Best Media Brand, Overall Editorial Excellence, garnering recognition for the brand’s strong COVID-19 coverage across print, digital and multimedia platforms.
Nation’s Restaurant News has previously received multiple Neal Awards, including Best Media Brand in 2019 and Best Single Issue of a magazine in both 2019 and 2020. The brand was also previously recognized for Best Use of Social Media and Best E-Newsletter.
Follow NRN on Twitter at: @NRNonline