Volume 47, Number 10
[dropcap size=big]W[/dropcap]ipe the slate clean. It’s a new year with the operative word being new. January always signals fresh beginnings. But who needs a calendar to tell us to recharge our batteries and start anew? In fact, we are fortunate that the dawn of each day provides us with the ability to start fresh; we can undo any past mistakes or shortcomings and start over again, with new hopes, new challenges and new opportunities. These days, we’re reinventing ourselves on a regular basis anyway.
But, of course, the end of a calendar year seems a more official way to mark change. That’s why so many of us make resolutions at this time of the year. It’s also the perfect time to zero in on the year’s hot new trends (see story on p. 18). There’s always a great fascination with these forecasts, because they provide a checklist of menu trends that will hopefully engage customers.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, 2015 is shaping up to be a good year for the foodservice industry. In 2014, sales hit $71 billion. According to Restaurants Canada’s “Foodservice Facts,” commercial foodservice sales are expected to grow by an average of 3.9 per cent between 2015 and 2018, with quick-service restaurants and caterers expected to post the strongest average annual growth. Full-service restaurants are also expected to grow by 3.6 per cent. The industry is set to reap the rewards of an increasingly faster lifestyle with more busy consumers choosing to eat outside the home.
Of course, our great expectations aren’t worth a dime if we get hit by unforeseen circumstances. After all, we’ve learned all too well in the past about the world’s fragility. Whether it’s the outbreak of a new virus, geopolitical tensions or a spike in the cost of goods, fortunes can change in the blink of an eye. You can’t really plan for those eventualities, and that’s what makes operating a business today so challenging. Ask any foodservice operator what keeps them up at night, and the range of answers show foodservice is a very precarious business.
Now, more than ever, operators need to ask themselves how they can make their operations more successful. It’s not just about which trends to follow, it’s about how to make your business relevant to today’s fickle consumer. What will bring customers to your door to choose your restaurant over another; what will keep them coming back; and how can you keep your employees motivated and eager to please?
As important as market trends are (and they are), success isn’t driven by jumping on one bandwagon after the other, reacting haphazardly. It’s about understanding the direction the industry is moving and adapting to change fluidly and seamlessly.
Speaking of change, the January edition of F&H features two issues, and two covers, in one. The front page of the magazine features a tantalizing shot of vegetables taking over the centre of the plate; flip the issue over and you’ll see The Big Black Book, a comprehensive directory of the industry’s leading suppliers. Enjoy!