• Bellwether, Restaurant Insights merge to offer services to chain restaurants

Bellwether Food Group, a strategic planning, sales and brand consultancy firm, and Restaurant Insights, a market research company, are merging to create a new entity to provide "one-stop-shopping" for the foodservice and retail arenas, according to a company press release. The newly combined firm will adopt the Bellwether Food Group moniker.

The merger is expected to be completed by April 1 and will enable Bellwether Food Group to support its clients, which include Fortune 500 companies in the chain restaurant, chain retailing and food and beverage industries, more effectively by providing a wider scope of services — from brand performance and relevancy studies to brand due diligence and customized in-depth consumer research, said Jon Jameson, the group's president

"By joining forces, our portfolio of services will be exponentially broadened," Jameson said. The new company that will offer extensive brand research, including: Awareness, Attitude & Usage studies; new product and promotional platform screening; strategic planning; brand audits, brand architecture; site evaluations; real estate development modeling; employee and management satisfaction studies; and pricing strategies.

"As we began to talk about this a few months ago, it became crystal clear that together we were much better equipped to help our clients grow their businesses by providing a broader range of actionable insights," said Fred Efird, the founder and president of Columbia, S.C.-based Restaurant Insights. "We'll be a much stronger company with greater resources than as individual firms."

With its team of branding, marketing and product experts and research specialists, collectively representing more than 100 years of experience, the new, expanded Bellwether Food Group is poised to become a powerhouse in the restaurant and retail arenas, Efird said. The firm will maintain offices in Boston, Columbia, S.C., Dallas and Asheville, N.C.

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