FoodService Director sister magazine Restaurant Business will become the official publication of the National Restaurant Association under a partnership announced on Monday between FoodService Director’s parent company, Winsight LLC, and the trade group.
Through the partnership, Winsight will assume operational ownership and execution of the National Restaurant Association’s annual Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show.
The National Restaurant Association, meanwhile, will become an equity partner in Winsight, and the association will have an advisory seat on Winsight’s board of directors.
The National Restaurant Association Show, the largest gathering of foodservice professionals in the world, will continue to be branded under the association’s name as part of a 45-year sponsorship for the exclusive branding, content and promotion of the show.
The association said this partnership will serve the emerging and changing needs of the foodservice industry. Working with Winsight, the National Restaurant Association gains new opportunities to deliver best-in-class content, drive member value, broadcast advocacy messages, advance the industry’s stories, and provide data-driven insights to fuel the restaurant and foodservice industry’s growth and profitability.
“This collaboration will allow us to grow the impact and reach of our show, while also elevating the level of service we provide to our members, including enhanced member benefits, advocacy, training and certification and content,” National Restaurant Association President and CEO Dawn Sweeney said in a statement. “The new relationship with Restaurant Business gives us an additional avenue to expand and amplify the stories important to the industry and our members.”
For Winsight, the deal gives it control over the National Restaurant Association Show, which last year drew 65,000 attendees and covered more than 700,000 square feet of exhibit space. Next year’s event will be its 100th anniversary and will be held May 18-21 at Chicago’s McCormick Place.
The association’s board of directors and related meetings will continue to be held during the show, which will continue to be held at McCormick.
The agreement is designed to improve the show experience and provide more opportunities for members, sponsors, partners, exhibitors and attendees.
The partnership will accelerate programming and content to improve attendance and help the show target senior-level operators and executives.
Mary Pat Heftman will become president of the Restaurant Show Group at Winsight, and the current convention team will move to Winsight. “The strategic partnership accelerates our efforts to bring show attendees and exhibitors better and deeper programing and expedites the digital transformation taking place throughout the industry,” Heftman said in a statement.
The agreement with the association is the latest move by Winsight to expand its reach in the foodservice sector. The Chicago-based company in 2017 received an investment from private-equity firm Pamlico Capital, less than two years after Winsight acquired the data-services firm Technomic.
Winsight is a business-to-business information, event and market intelligence company serving the restaurant and noncommercial foodservice, convenience and grocery industries.
Financial terms of the partnership with the National Restaurant Association were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close some time in the last three months of 2018.
“Collaborating with the National Restaurant Association provides a tremendous opportunity for Winsight and its team,” Winsight CEO Mike Wood said in a statement. “Through products such as Technomic’s company profiles, menu insights and consumer trends, combined with our media business’s vast marketing knowledge and audience intelligence platform, we look forward to serving the ever-increasing needs of the show and the industry.
“We welcome Mary Pat and her team to Winsight, and we are confident our resources, combined with those of the National Restaurant Association, have created a partnership dedicated to the success of the restaurant and foodservice industries of today and tomorrow.”