From the Editor: Opening the Digital Door


It’s a new year and with it comes a slew of new issues to tackle. January marks the perfect time for operators to focus their energies on what needs to be improved in their business. It’s time to shed the old constraints that keep us doing the same-old-same-old and embrace changes necessary to grow and evolve.

With the industry changing at a breakneck pace, we no longer have the luxury of free time to speculate, pontificate and deliberate on major decisions. Today’s operators need to be increasingly agile and nimble, willing to adapt to changing market conditions at a fast pace.

In a society obsessed with the latest and greatest, consumers are on the prowl for interesting new menu items, cool, new beverages and the most radical apps out there. As a result, operators need to ensure they’re prepared to address the need for innovation while ensuring they understand the directions the market is headed, before consumers do (see story on food trends on p. 14).

But as important as it is to make sure you’re on trend, it’s even more important to understand the seismic shifts we’re seeing in society. For example, with millennials now the cohort of influence, the industry needs to ready itself to look at everything with a fresh eye — right from menu creation, to service and decor. So if you think changing things up with a new menu item or two will suffice in keeping your operation au courant, think again.

Moving forward, millennials will no longer accept the status quo. They’re shaking things up in ways never before imagined. Take a look at the growth of ethnic foods, and you’ll see it being fuelled by millennials who are hungry for new tastes and authentic experiences. Take a look at the growth of take-out and delivery and you’ll see the influence of millennials who are motivated by not having enough time to cook, and perhaps also by not having an inclination to cook. According to stats from NPD, off-premise dining makes up 65 per cent of millennial visits compared to 54 per cent for non-millenials. NPD also informs us that millennials tend to eat in the car or at work more than other groups.

Not surprisingly, the generation that grew up connected is now having a huge influence in the area of technology, fuelling growing interest in apps and mobile ordering. In fact, based on stats released during a webinar on the digital landscape co-hosted by NPD and Foodservice and Hospitality, a total of $1.2 billion is spent through the digital door (mobile ordering, apps, texting, et cetera.). More importantly, digital-door transactions are growing at a rate of 20 per cent. Interestingly, consumers who order meals through that digital door actually spend more on their meals.

With industry sales growth expected to be slow over the next few years, operators are encouraged to become more strategic in appealing to this burgeoning market by providing greater focus on technology. As NPD’s Robert Carter told webinar attendees recently, “Technology is here to stay. It’s going to play a greater role and the digital pie is going to get bigger.”

Volume 48, Number 1o


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Rosanna Caira is the editor and publisher of Kostuch Media’s Foodservice and Hospitality, and Hotelier magazines. In her capacity as editor of Canada’s two leading hospitality publications, Rosanna directs the editorial and graphic content of both publications, and is responsible for the editorial vision of the magazines, its five websites as well as the varied tertiary products including e-newsletters, supplements and special projects. In addition to her editorial duties, Rosanna also serves as publisher of the company, directing the strategic development of the Sales and Marketing, Production and Circulation departments. Rosanna is the face of the magazines, representing the publications at industry functions and speaking engagements. She serves on various committees and Boards, including the Board of Directors of the Canadian Hospitality Foundation. She is a recipient of the Ontario Hostelry’s Gold Award in the media category. In 2006, Rosanna was voted one of the 32 most successful women of Italian heritage in Canada. Rosanna is a graduate of Toronto’s York University, where she obtained a BA degree in English literature.

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