The importance of history as a barometer of what can be learned and applied in our lives is not lost on any of us. Taking a step back in time allows us to learn lessons, understand context and, if we’re lucky, avoid future mistakes.
Fifty years ago, this magazine was born amidst social and cultural change. The ’60s were nothing if not revolutionary and the foodservice industry was in its infancy. The concept of fast food was young, exciting and convenient and fine dining was a notch above. Today, half a century later, the foodservice landscape has grown, evolved and become increasingly sophisticated. Fast food has morphed to become QSR, fine dining has gone through exhaustive challenges and changes and casual has spurred an entirely new sub-set called fast casual.
Through it all, Foodservice and Hospitality magazine has stood the test of time. Started as the CRA magazine, the publication has grown to reflect the changing industry, beginning as a quarterly, moving to six times a year and today encompassing 11 issues. The magazine has had staying power and has become the voice of the industry. Now, at 50, it’s technically past middle age, but amidst the changes that have filtered into the publishing industry, the advent of the Internet and the ensuing digital age, this magazine continues to grow, evolve and be more relevant than ever.
As someone who has been at the magazine for 37 of those 50 years, I feel inextricably part of its very fibre — somehow we are linked together.
Last year, the magazine undertook a Starch Readership Study that examined our subscribers’ reading habits, likes and preferences. And, among the findings, we discovered 94 per cent of our readers prefer print to digital. Sure, our readers enjoy our portfolio of digital products, but they clearly have a deep affinity for our print product.
Through five decades of news reporting and analysis, we’ve reported on the key trends that have impacted the industry. Some have come and gone; others have taken hold and inexorably changed the dynamics of the industry. And, along the way, consumers developed an undying love affair with all things food, (see this month’s Food Issue, starting on p. 45). Interestingly, the digital age has only served to reinforce our obsession with food. Who would have imagined 50 years ago that smartphones and “Instagrammable” moments would have intensified our appreciation of all things culinary.
So, as you read this issue, journey back through decades of news, trends and dining-out influences and recall the faces and personalities who shaped this industry, relish the fact that each one of you has played an important role in shaping this industry and that together, the industry is stronger for it.