As 2015 comes to a close, it’s time to take a look back at what was a stellar year for the National Association of Concessionaires (NAC). With an active and growing membership, the Association is as vital and relevant as ever. It is all part of a concerted effort to honor our past, while continuing to make strides to serve the dynamic and evolving members of the recreation, leisure-time food and beverage concessions and hospitality industry. None of this would be possible without the support of our members, sponsors and a very active Board of Directors. We simply can’t thank them enough. Details on each of the following items can be found on Naconline.org.
The NAC Concession & Hospitality Expo – The 33rd Concession & Hospitality Expo took place on July 21-24, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency Cincinnati and the adjacent Duke Energy Convention Center. Our cornerstone event annually attracts hundreds of the top food and beverage concession leaders in the recreation and leisure-time industry. The interaction between vendors and operators has resulted in a vast majority returning year after year to continue building long-lasting business relationships. The event is an educational conference and trade show covering a wide range of concessions and foodservice topics. The 2016 Concession & Hospitality Expo will take place on July 19-22, 2016 at the Depot Renaissance in Minneapolis. Trade show booths and sponsorships are available now.
CinemaCon – As an Official Sponsor, NAC has a full agenda built around this expanding exhibition industry event including discounted trade show opportunities, The Bert Nathan Award Ceremony, meeting room space for our members, educational programming exclusively for concessionaires and a variety of networking events.
The Al Lapidus/Variety Boys & Girls Club Scholarship Golf Classic – The 2015 Classic moved to a new location at Bali Hai Golf Club right off the strip in Las Vegas. The event enjoyed the strongest participation in years from both a golfer and sponsorship perspective and raised funds for college scholarships for the Variety Boys & Girls Club of East Los Angeles, the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation, and the educational programs of the National Association of Concessionaires. The 2016 event will take place on April 11th and registration is now open.
Regional Seminar Series – The NAC Regional Seminar Series “Building the Experience” enjoyed a tremendous run over the last two-year cycle. NAC Director of Education Larry Etter, CCM, has traveled the country and the world conducting a four-hour educational experience for entry level managers, supervisors and those interested in concessions management. The Seminar made stops in the Caribbean, South America, the Middle East and Asia. The new 2016-2017 Regional Seminar Series promises to be one of the best ever! “Leadership Counts” will fit into every level of management and every segment of business as it will study the characteristics of a true LEADER. Several locations and dates are already set for early 2016.
Honors and Awards- The Association once again honored the best and the brightest in the industry.
Adam Gottlieb, ACS, EVP Sales and Procurement for Continental Concession Supplies, Inc. accepted the 2015 Bert Nathan Memorial Award during the CinemaCon All-Industry Award Breakfast on April 21 in Las Vegas.
Dan Kroeger, President, CEO and Chairman of Gold Medal Products Company accepted the 2015 Mickey Warner Award during the Concessions & Hospitality Expo on Thursday, July 23 at the Hyatt Regency Cincinnati.
Nominations for 2016 recipients of these honors will be accepted shorty so stay tuned.
Tish Hardric, National Sales Manager-Theatre Division, at Great Western Products, accepted the annual Krystal La Reese-Gaule Membership Award. The presentation took place during the NAC Concession & Hospitality Expo at the Hyatt Regency Cincinnati on July 23.
Membership Increases to over 650 – 2015 brought an influx of almost 100 new members to NAC and membership in the Association now stands at its highest mark in many years. This increase was stimulated by a new dues structure that was instituted to flatten and simplify the pricing for Concession Operators so as not to differentiate by venue size. This, along with an attractive first year rate, strong recruiting from our existing members and the many great deals and benefits that only NAC members can receive, have resonated with prospective members and taken us to new heights.
Certified Concession Manager (CCM) Classes – Education is at the core of NAC’s mission, and no program more effectively meets that mission than the Concession Manager Certification Program. The session held in Cincinnati during the 2015 Expo was the largest class in nearly two decades as we continue to raise standards by offering targeted, concessions-specific training that provides the tools and skills needed to manage a concessions program efficiently and profitably. We also established a new LinkedIn group for those who carry the CCM, ECM and ACE designations.
Industry Affiliations – We’ve added to an already impressive list of affiliations with related industry groups by strengthening ties during the year with the Roller Skating Association, the Green Restaurant Association and Art House Convergence. In some cases, NAC has been invited to present fresh ideas and concession industry perspectives to these groups.
Government Relations – NAC Government Relations efforts continue to flourish and influence important issues and concerns. This approach is well defined in a new mission statement, “In conjunction with allied industry association partners, the National Association of Concessionaires’ Government Relations Committee provides trending information pertinent to the concession and hospitality community while advocating a sound and factual industry perspective on legislative and regulatory issues.”
The Menu Labeling Assistance Initiative, launched this year, played an important role in the deadline for new FDA mandated Menu Labeling regulations being extended to December of 2016. Other important issues such as Regulation on Refrigerants and Insulation (SNAP), Sugary Beverage Bans, Sugar Taxes, Caffeinated Drinks, GMO and Credit Card Swipe Fees have been addressed during the year and will continually be monitored.
New Scholarship – NAC established the Joe Chabot Memorial Expo Scholarship in honor and memory of NAC Board member Joe Chabot, who passed away unexpectedly on August 4, 2015. The Scholarship will allow an NAC member to attend the full Concessions & Hospitality Expo with hotel and airfare included. This new scholarship will be in addition to the annual NAC President’s Expo Scholarship. These scholarships, along with the more affordable Operator Dues Structure mentioned above, are designed to encourage additional Associate Memberships and allow greater participation and access in the Expo.
Naconline.org – The website, now going into its third year since re-launch, continues to be a daily destination and resource for our members and prospective members. It’s ever changing and fresh content and mobile friendly design allow it to serve the membership at the speed of thought. The Members Only Area has grown at a steady rate with now over 100 of our members having requested passwords. This area includes a constantly updated and searchable Membership Directory which works great on your mobile device. Visit naconline.org and request your password today.
NAC Weekly News –This weekly e-newsletter combs the internet for timely stories that effect the concessions industry. It also provides an effective advertising opportunity for our members to reach out to each other in an extremely targeted communication vehicle.
This list represents the highlights of 2015, but is by no means complete. For a more in-depth look at all things NAC, we invite you to visit our website Naconline.org and join our social media groups on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
We look toward 2016 with the same enthusiasm and never ending quest to grow our membership and enhance our value to the industry. The NAC Board and Staff are here for you and invite you to take full advantage of your membership and encourage others to join.
Have a very prosperous, safe and Happy 2016!