From The Editor: On-Demand World

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Photo by Nick Wong

In this ever-shifting, dynamic landscape, one message is clear and pervasive: we’re living in a world where we consume want we want, when we want it and how we want it. In many ways, we’re living in what can be considered an on-demand world. No longer do we want to consume programming based on a network’s schedule; we want to consume it when it fits into our own. We still read the printed word (yes, print is still very much alive) but we also devour content digitally. And, closer to home, restaurants are undergoing massive changes as consumers become more enamoured with ordering food digitally and from faceless restaurants that aren’t really restaurants, in the traditional sense, at all.

Gone are the days when restaurant operators and chefs dictated what was on the menu, when they offered it and where they sourced products. Now, consumers want to know where their product is being sourced, whether it’s produced ethically, and how their food is prepared. It’s all about choice and, with so much choice before us, consumers are becoming increasingly demanding and powerful. As Chris Elliott, chief economist at Restaurants Canada said during a presentation at the RC Show, “The future is more blurred. The future is more convenience. The future is more personalized.”

Operators have no choice but to become more creative, opportunistic and receptive to change. Fuelled by the tentacles of technology, and a sophisticated millennial mindset that prides itself on breaking barriers and boundaries, operators are being forced to reinvent themselves almost daily or risk being left in the sand. And, just when we think we finally understand the millennial mindset, Generation Z is now arriving on scene with a whole new set of demands.

But, as challenging as that might appear on the surface, it’s also fuelling some of the most imaginative and exciting offerings. For operators who play to their strengths, the potential is huge.

As brand strategist Tony Chapman noted at last month’s RC Show, today’s consumers want more and less — more functional foods, more plant-based offerings, less friction, less effort and less waste. And, in this topsy-turvy new world order, expect them to continue to fuel the war on plastics. But, rather than begrudging the changes being foisted on us, we should find solace in the fact such zealous commitment to the environment is pushing us forward and helping us save our planet.

Certainly, as scary as change can be, as Chapman reminds us, “What’s even scarier is becoming irrelevant.”

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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.

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