Why Is NAA at a Restaurant Show?

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By: Mark Fitzgerald

When the huge National Restaurant Association Show came to Chicago in late May, it promised once again to be a bazaar of scrumptious delicacies and sturdy industrial kitchenware. But there were no cookies or sauces or mixers scheduled for Booth 9224. As E&P went to press, that space was reserved by the Newspaper Association of America (NAA). This was to be NAA’s first time at the restaurant show, but the association is increasingly a fixture at similar food and hospitality-industry conventions, such as the Food Marketing Institute and the National Association of Convenience Stores.

NAA’s outreach to restaurants and supermarkets is all part of a newspaper industry campaign to boost slumping single-copy sales. Robert Rubrecht, NAA’s director of circulation marketing, thinks dining spots will be especially open to selling papers. “I think newspapers would certainly help drive some folks into restaurants the way they do into convenience stores,” he says. Convenience stores like newspapers because they bring people into the store who end up spending far more than 50 cents. According to NAA research, a typical customer coming in to buy a paper purchases a total of $4.68 during each weekday stop, and $6.40 on Sundays.

Also on the floor of last month’s FMI supermarket show in Chicago: Auto Trader Regional Circulation Operations Manager Don Nitti, who was showing off a new line of racks that include display space for newspapers. “We’re selling this on the idea that the newspapers stay up front [in the store or supermarket], and we get a better location without taking up any more space,” Nitti explained.

Rubrecht’s reaction: “See, I think that’s just another example. They recognize that newspapers drive traffic.”

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