Canadian Pizza Magazine

Features In the Kitchen Ingredients
From the Editor’s Desk: Get your recipes ready!


November 30, 2009
By Laura Aiken


Topics

It’s nearly time to ring in the New Year and the general consensus seems to be that there’s much to look forward to. I certainly think so. It was a tumultuous 2009 for food service, although pizza was well positioned to provide value and a beloved product during the downturn. Still, competition gets stiff in tough times. It was a great perk to have Halloween on a Saturday night this year.

It’s nearly time to ring in the New Year and the general consensus
seems to be that there’s much to look forward to. I certainly think so.
It was a tumultuous 2009 for food service, although pizza was well
positioned to provide value and a beloved product during the downturn.
Still, competition gets stiff in tough times. It was a great perk to
have Halloween on a Saturday night this year.

As we head into 2010, it’s a fitting time to put your creative cap on
and come up with your entry for our annual Chef of the Year contest. We
had fantastic entries last year and it was a tough choice to narrow it
down to three for the bake-off and taste test. I am looking forward to
reading this year’s submissions, which I learned last year is a
sure-fire way to get hungry in a hurry. We had a record number of
entries in 2009 and hope to see even more involvement this year. With a
trip to Vegas and Chef of the Year title up for grabs, what have you
got lose in putting your best recipe forward? You’ll find rules and
guidelines for this year’s contest on page 20 of this issue of Canadian
Pizza as well as online at www.canadianpizzamag.com.

As our Chef of the Year contest kicks off, our Pizza with Purpose
competition closes Dec. 31. It’s not too late to send us your
self-nomination for our inaugural Pizza with Purpose award. We’d love
to hear what you are doing to make a difference in your community and
we want to recognize it on the pages of Canadian Pizza magazine.
Submissions detailing what your pizzeria did in 2009 to provide Pizza
with Purpose are due Feb. 8, 2010. Saputo will award a $2,500 cash
prize to the winner.

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One of my favourite things about heading into a new year is the
tradition of reflection. For the pizza industry, social media played a
big role in the headlines of 2009, which ranged from the Domino’s
YouTube scandal to Pizza Hut hiring North America’s first “twintern”
and becoming the first pizza franchise to launch an iPhone app.
Investments to upgrade and customize online ordering systems and the
development of sophisticated tracking systems for customers to locate
their pizza like a FedEx package sprouted up. It was reported in March
that a pizza page was the fourth most popular on Facebook.

While technology and the nation’s conversation turned increasingly
digital, consumer tastes moved more authentic, artisanal and local.
It’s as if the faster technology moves forward, the more we search for
basic roots, although perhaps not basic flavours. A recent study from
Technomic showed consumers in the United States prefer dining at places
that are innovative with their flavours, and this trend seems to be
reflected here.

Customers are living on a high-information diet that’s becoming
increasingly sophisticated at serving their very niche needs. Being
able to articulate who your pizza is in this customized world, and
knowing how to manipulate that message across multimedia platforms, is
a resolution to keep at the top of your list for 2010. All businesses
are adjusting to the way that technology has changed how we
communicate, but nothing will replace the good old-fashioned personal
touch. It’s just how we arrive face-to-face that’s morphing.

Happy holidays and a very merry New Year!