Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Scrambled competition--and I don't mean at breakfast

Enough with the pssts about the industry’s trade magazines. I like dishing as much as the next yenta, but I really don’t know what the purchase of Nation’s Restaurant News by the parent of Restaurant Hospitality is going to mean for the titles.

Yes, I worked at the former—twice, in fact—for a total of 11 years, and I’ve competed with the buyer since 1981. But the executives at Penton Media haven’t called to spell out their strategy.

Suffice it to say you only buy something in hopes of generating additional profit. Having two staffs produce separate magazines on two frequencies for overlapping audiences and advertisers doesn’t sound like a surefire means to that end.

Less puzzling is what’s happening at the other title in the field, since I’m personally involved now. As of Monday, I’ve rejoined Restaurant Business, where I served as Editor in Chief for 10 years, as Editor At Large. I’ll also be deeply involved with the publication’s popular event, the Restaurant Leadership Conference, and its website,

I’ll be working again with Susan Vincer, my friend and former colleague from Restaurant News (she managed the business aspects of the title’s website, and I was responsible for the editorial content).

Best of all, our new employer is going against the tide. Instead of cutting positions, it’s adding us. We’ll be joining a team of veterans that includes Scott Allmendinger, Sam Smith and Bill Anderson. Our rookie is Sam, RB’s editor, with a mere five years in the foodservice media. Most of us can measure our tenure in decades.

So how’re all these developments going to change the competition in the field?

Stay tuned.


Leslie said...

Very interesting info, Peter - I look forward to the developments to come. Congrats on your new role.

Dem Politico said...

Peter: thanks for the note...and we did wonder!

Congrats on additional new role.

John A. Gordon
Chain Restaurant Earnings and Economics Experts

Keatang said...

As always I wish you luck, but maybe not as much as before since we're now competing. (I'd put one of those smiley-face emoticons here, but we both know how cheesy those are.)

I do have to take issue with one statement in your blog post. You seem to suggest that NRN is cutting staff. But we're hiring six new people in the next few months, which we'll add to a team that is already easily the largest in foodservice. Couple that with a hiring spree at Penton the past few months to bolster their digital business.

As for tenure, you well know how long Al, Paul, Bret, Robin, Chris and others have been here. Not to mention relative newcomers like Sarah (7 years) and myself (a newbie at 3 years).

Game on.


P.S. But seriously, let's do that lunch! :-)

Restaurant I said...

Good question-I wonder if they will change the name of Restaurant News. Whatever the case, good luck in your new role!