TORONTO — As part of RC Show 2019, Restaurants Canada hosted its annual Breakfast with Champions event at Hotel X Toronto.
Moderated by business strategist Tony Chapman, the “power breakfast” featured presentations by Jessica Cravero, regional VP, Business Development, Technomic Inc.; David Allison, Valuegraphics pioneer and consumer-behaviour expert; Adam Corrin, COO, Freshii; Checuk Muth, Chief Growth Officer, Beyond Meat; Manjit Minhas, co-founder of Minhas Breweries, Distillery and Winery and Dragons’ Den “dragon”; and David Goldstein, president & CEO, Destination Canada.
Restaurants Canada president & CEO Shanna Munro opened the event by addressing the state of the industry. “Today, we are celebrating $89 billion in sales — a $4.3-billion increase and 5.1-per-cent year-over-year growth. And we are projecting we will surpass $100 billion in sales in 2021,” she shared.
Munro also share the top challenges identified by operators, including increases in labour and food costs, as well as labour shortages. “When it comes to labor shortages, we’re experiencing 63,000 vacancies across the country. And we’ve seen the rise of menu inflation to 4.2 per cent from 2017 to 2018 — that’s the highest increase since 1991,” she noted. Given these challenges, Munro stressed the importance of thinking about the “triple bottom line,” taking into account people and planet, as well as profits.
Cravero identified key macro trends impacting Canada’s restaurant landscape, including the continued evolution of delivery, consumer expectations around experience, functional foods and plant-based offerings. When highlighting the continued disruption delivery is expected to cause, Cravero pointed to shared kitchens, virtual brands, delivery-only limited-time offers and the continued channel blurring. She also called attendees’ attention to concepts making innovative moves in this realm, such as India’s Café Coffee Day, Spain-based Glovo and U.K.-based Deliveroo.
“We’ve seen platforms and channels blurring for quite some time now with HMR and retail,” said Carvero. “But we’re starting to see the introduction of more and more niche vending, grab-and-go cases and staff-less concepts, like Amazon Go.”
As the morning’s keynote speaker, Allison introduced attendees to the concept of Valuegraphics — a data tool that gives organizations and industries the data they need to motivate a target audience using core human values.
“What we value determines what we do,” Allison explained. “We now have enough data to predict what target-audience behaviour’s all about and it’s called Valugraphics…its audience insights for a post demographic world.”
Allison highlighted the ineffectiveness of demographics as a marketing tool, noting that, according to the Valuegraphics database, Baby Boomers only agree with each other 13 per cent of the time, while Generation X only agrees 11 per cent of the time and millennials agree 15 per cent of the time. By comparison, a random sampling of the population in the database agrees eight per cent of the time.
The Valuegraphics database is currently comprised of 100,000 surveys from a sampling of the Canadian, U.S. and Chinese populations and focuses on 380 different metrics, including World Values Index’s 40 core human values.
“We learned that if you target people based on their values, you can get anywhere between 76- and 89-per-cent alignment on those same 380 things,” Allison said. “With demographics, we have the description [of the target audience]; in psychographics, we have some sense of past behavior, but we have no forward looking data.”
To illustrate how Valuegraphics could be leveraged by the industry, Allison shared highlights from Valuegraphics’ The Canadian Restaurant Report, which explored the values/motivators of the country’s most frequent diners — the 30 per cent of the population that eats in a restaurant at least once a week (approximately 11-million Canadians).
The data revealed that this group (“The Regulars”) breaks down into four main groups, which Allison dubbed “F&B adventure junkies” (31 per cent), “contented loyalists” (24 per cent), “super-social debt-divas” (19 per cent) and “workaholic brand-eaters” (17 per cent) — each with their own set of values that influence their dining decisions.
Notably, personal growth and belonging both ranked among the top values for three of these four groups, with personal growth being the highest ranking value. “[So,] if you want to just take a broad swath across all four groups, the best thing you can do is think about personal growth — how can coming and having an experience with you and whatever your establishment is about make [guests] feel like they’ve grown a little bit as a person,” noted Allison.
Corrin, Minhas and Muth each took the stage for Q&As with Chapman as part of the event’s “Gamechanger” lineup to discuss how their respective companies are reshaping the industry, touching on topics such as sustainability and social responsibility.
Next, Goldstein took the stage to discuss Destination Canada’s recently released 2018 results, as well as the role of restaurants within Canadian tourism. He also highlighted Destination Canada’s efforts to showcase and promote Canada as a culinary-tourism destination, including marketing partnerships with Le Monde and the Washington Post.
“Culinary is one of those cultural connectors and it is a tremendous way for us to connect with an international traveller,” said Goldstein. “Just as you’re thinking about the regular customers coming through your doors on a regular basis, I want you to think about this international customer.”
Goldstein also revealed plans to further enhance Canada’s standing as a culinary destination. “We’re going to be increasing our partnership with Restaurants Canada to make sure that we’re both telling the same story appropriately to the right audiences,” he shared.
The event closed with the presentation of Restaurants Canada’s Leadership Award. This year’s honouree was chef Jean-Francos Archambault, founder & CEO of La Tablée des Chefs.
The organization has recovered more than 200 tons of edible excess food from chefs to fee more than 500,000 Canadians in need annually. La Tablée des Chefs also runs culinary workshops in 125 high schools in Quebec and 22 additional schools across the country. And, thanks to recent funding, Archambault noted that the program is set to expand to a total of 500 schools across the country in the next five years.
“I want to recognize Restaurants Canada for recognizing the work we have been doing,” said Archambault. “But, this is only the beginning and, as I’ve been very successful in Quebec, I will need your help to get [the program] across the country, to every regions and every city, to help the people in need.”