From the Editor: Trust your instincts on trends
Colleen CrossFeatures Business and Operations Trends pizza trends
The term “pizza trends” is one of the most searched on the internet. Clearly, a lot of people want to keep up with the trends – from pizza operators to chefs to pizza enthusiasts looking for interesting pizza experiences.
What do we mean by trends? We’re trying to see patterns in what customers are buying, what new or improved ingredients and products are available to help you make a better pizza (and work smarter while doing it). And ultimately, which menu items pizza operators are betting will be big sellers. We’re also looking at what’s happening in Canada and the world and trying to understand how things like the economy and world events such as the pandemic are affecting how your customers spend their time and money.
Pizza Nova president Dominic Primucci prefers to talk about “shifts in the marketplace” rather than “trends.” Primucci made this point during a virtual roundtable on pizza trends that we hosted in 2021, emphasizing trends as more gradual changes in tastes and circumstances – and not passing fads. Successful operators are always paying attention to what’s happening around them.
What people want
Understanding what your customers want is a sure path to providing what they need and maintaining solid sales numbers. I heard Chef Alex Guarnaschelli, of the Food Network’s Iron Chef, speak at Puratos’ Taste Tomorrow industry baking conference in Austin, Texas. There was a lot of talk about mental well-being as a big part of health and of incorporating healthy ingredients such as whole grains and superfoods into baked goods. Guarnaschelli was all for healthy eating and experimentation. But her idea of innovation is not to innovate. “Food must be delicious” before it can be anything else to people, she insisted. The tell-it-like-it-is chef suggested restaurants elevate their food by using high-quality ingredients, developing cooking and baking techniques to make it taste better and focusing on what people gravitate to again and again (including keeping an eye on what’s stocked and selling in grocery stores). More than ever, people want a great experience when ordering food and especially when dining out. That may be why Guarnaschelli is finding that people often don’t do as they say: they are enthusiastic about light, healthy food, yet they will spend their hard-earned dollar on classic, indulgent items such as steak time and again.
Trust your instincts
It’s important to keep up with what’s going on with our customers, our suppliers, other pizzerias and the food industry in general. Once you are informed, you can make good decisions. But most of all, trust your instincts. Would you eat your pizza? Would you feed it to your friends and family? When you have confidence and pride in your product and the experience you’re offering (right down to ordering efficiency and comfy seats), people will come to your business.
Chef of the Year and trends
Every winning Chef of the Year pizza has been creative AND tasted great. Over the years, the competition has both reflected what customers are asking for and pushed the boundaries of traditional ingredients, flavour combinations, styles and techniques.
We’ve seen squid-ink pizza dough, potato pizza crust injected with rosemary-infused oil, styles such as pizza al teglia, pinsa romana and deep-dish take off, wild boar as a topping, fermentation times lengthen and crusts balloon with airiness.
Come to the Canadian Pizza Summit in Toronto on Oct. 30 and watch the fun. We guarantee you’ll see something bold,new, inspiring and most of all delicious!
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