From the Editor: Making a Statement

0
a-change-of-season

It’s still early enough in 2016 that it’s acceptable to talk about what lies ahead, and the changes we’re inspired to make as we turn the page on a new year.

Certainly in the past decade we’ve become accustomed to a dizzying rate of change, much of it fuelled by technology. But while it may indeed be the catalyst driving change, or as some may claim, the great disruptor, there’s infinitely more at play here.

Take a look at sustainability as an example: while the trend, previously referred to as greening, had its genesis more than two decades ago when consumers and businesses alike started spewing the mantra of reducing, recycling, and reusing, somewhere along the way, our love affair with greening became broader based, encompassing more than just the basics of recycling. In fact, the term sustainability came along to replace greening and suddenly we became more interested in how we treat the planet, the food products we raise and grow, and, more recently, each other.

It’s a trend playing out in various segments across the industry. For example, where once vegetarianism was rooted in a personal desire to eat lighter, today vegetarianism is equally about concern for the planet. So when a world-renowned, Michelin-rated chef such as French toque Alain Ducasse proclaims his fine-dining restaurant at the Plaza Athénée in Paris is going meatless, it’s about more than just offering a different menu model, it’s about making a statement — one met with widespread interest, fuelling increased attention from other like-minded chefs around the world now forced to look at this trend with a different set of eyes.

Similarly, when restaurant chains such as McDonald’s, Starbucks, Burger King and others commit to move towards cage-free eggs, or when America’s biggest poultry producer, Tyson, decides to eliminate human antibiotics use in chicken, and Panera releases a “no no list” of ingredients, they too are making a statement — they care about what matters to their customers and the eco system.

And when renowned New York restaurateur Danny Meyer announced late last year that his restaurants will eliminate tipping and factor the cost of hourly wages into their menu prices, he too is making a statement — he cares about his employees and wants to balance the earnings of the front of the house with the back of the house, ensuring all staff is paid fairly, while forcing restaurant operators to take notice and examine their own business model. Will tipping disappear? Not overnight. Will increased dialogue force the model to morph, evolve and change? You better believe it.

In this new age of enlightenment, what is the next area restaurateurs need to focus on? More than likely, it will be the shameful food waste we are producing, and the role the restaurant industry plays in this dilemma. According to statistics from the United Nation’s Food & Agriculture Organization, a total of 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted annually. According to a recent story in Maclean’s magazine, Canadians waste $31 billion in food every year. Already, several chefs and operators are taking steps to audit their waste and put more controls in place, with more surely to follow. Undoubtedly, it speaks to a brave new world, or perhaps, a kinder and gentler world.

Volume 48, Number 11

Previous articleIn the Kitchen With: Jakob Lutes of Port City Royal
Next articleFebruary 2016 Digital Issue
Rosanna Caira
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.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.