From The Editor: Resiliency and Innovation Are Key to Success in Today’s Changing Foodservice Market

Photo by Nick Wong

In today’s marketplace, where change happens on a dime, resiliency and innovation are proving paramount to success.

Certainly, the foodservice-and-hospitality industry is no stranger to challenges. Looking back on the past 50 years, one can see how the industry has been forced to evolve, due primarily to a number of challenges it’s had foisted on it. During that time, the industry has had to deal with labour shortages (minium-wage increases), no-smoking legislation as well as ingredient-labelling legislation.

But as serious as those challenges were, they seem to pale in comparison to those that have hit the industry in the past decade. Perhaps they appear more serious because the rate of change is so much quicker, which means operators are barely able to deal with one challenge when yet another one hits them.

What’s an operator to do? And, how can they find success in such a fluid marketplace where the rules change every day? The good news is that where there are challenges, there are also opportunities for growth — partly because challenges have a way of forcing us to look at creative solutions.

In talking to several operators recently, it’s clear many issues keep them awake at night — whether it’s the continuous labour shortages, the impact of changing demographics and the disruption it’s fuelling or the significant changes technology is creating for customers and businesses alike.

At the end of the day, these challenges are forcing operators to get more creative and resilient — whether they want to or not — because the reality is, if you don’t change, and do it quickly, your company becomes irrelevant. As one Top-100 president told me recently, with the velocity of change so much more pronounced these days, operators are being forced to become more agile and adaptable. That spells good news for customers, who have more choices available to them than ever before. But from an operator point of view, as important as it is to be nimble and adaptable, any planned change has to make sense from a business point of view. After all, not every trend makes sense for every business.

As Vince Sgabellone, foodservice industry analyst, The NPD Group, says in this month’s retail challenge story, restaurant operators walk a fine line between sticking with what they know and evolving to keep up with the competition. “Focusing on your core customer is key — who they are and why they’re coming to you. Stand out in the market, do what is best for you and your customers. If you’re not speaking to your customers, somebody else will.”

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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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