From the Editor: Your community matters
Colleen CrossFeatures Business and Operations Community involvment
When we speak with pizzeria operators, quality of ingredients is almost always the top consideration. Many put quality front and centre. Rightly so. It is a clear way to stand out in a sea of pizza. And it is the top reason customers give when asked how they choose where to buy their next pizza. But it isn’t everything.
Value for money is a close second and never more so than now when the price of almost everything is sky high. But it’s almost comparing apples to oranges because we’re talking about two different customers: people looking for a great pizza they can’t make at home made by proud artisans who know their stuff and people who are looking for a good deal.
I want to talk about something that comes a very close third. A sense of community. In fact, it bridges the gap between these two customers because every Canadian knows the value and comfort of being part of a community. People have many choices of where to get their pizza. The more they know about your pizzeria, the more likely they are to want to return again and who you are, who your staff are, when and why you opened the business, how you’ve grown over the years, what setbacks you’ve overcome, how you make your pizzas, which local ingredients you use, what other businesses you work with and what you care about.
Community means different things to different people. It means sharing information among an industry – the focus of Canadian Pizza. That means holding events that allow operators to share information and ideas at the Canadian Pizza Summits in Vancouver and Toronto. It means hosting webinars (Show & Tell: Canadian Pizza Innovation) in September. It means holding virtual pizza summits such as our 2021 event highlighting community where we heard from pizzeria operators in B.C., Alberta, Ontario and Prince Edward Island about how they were connecting with their communities.
Community means creating your own world consisting of your favourite customers, their families, friends and connections. It means building a strong relationship listening to them, understanding their needs and responding. Incidentally, that’s something that can be done well through online channels if it’s done with care, intention and consistency.
Community means building strong relationships with local retail businesses who have common goals and interests and can work with you on charity projects and events. You can see this in community festivals across Canada and in any strong BIA. Hamilton, Ont., is a great example of a thriving, collaborating food scene.
It means finding associations that share your background, challenges, goals and interests. On the news page you’ll find information about the Baking Association of Canada. The longstanding industry organization, which is run by volunteers and represents all those involved in baking in Canada, invites pizzerias to become members. BAC advocates on behalf of pizzerias and bakeries to government on all issues that affect their members, including pushing for easier access to temporary foreign workers.
The BAC is a hardworking, well-connected and highly motivated group looking out for the interests of related baking businesses. Our parent company, Annex Business Media, and sister magazine Bakers Journal have long worked closely with BAC to organize its annual Bakery Showcase and Canadian Pizza Summit and Chef of the Year Competition, to be held next May 14-15, 2023, in Vancouver.
We hope to see you in Vancouver! We are proud as punch and excited to help bring this exciting event offering educational sessions, demonstrations, a vast array of baking- and pizza-focused products and, of course, our own Chef of the Year Competition!
There is much to look forward to in 2023! Wishing you and your loved ones a prosperous and happy holiday season surrounded by your community – whatever that means to you!
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