Canadian Pizza Magazine

Features Business and Operations Customer Service
From the Editor’s Desk: June 2006

They’re coming back


March 25, 2008
By Cam Wood

Topics

What is it that keeps us coming back to the kitchen each
day? Is it the simple notion of having to earn a living each day? Or
maybe that ever-so addictive smell and appearance of a fresh pie, the
cheese melted to utter perfection and the crust toasted golden brown?

They’re coming back

What is it that keeps us coming back to the kitchen each day? Is it the simple notion of having to earn a living each day? Or maybe that ever-so addictive smell and appearance of a fresh pie, the cheese melted to utter perfection and the crust toasted golden brown?

How about the continual quest to perform culinary magic with the dough, sauce and touch of mozzarella?

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Are we on the more sadistic side, and live the vicarious life through the frustrations of our teenage employees; amusing ourselves with the daily drama of their troubled relationships and academic woes?

My days in a restaurant kitchen – albeit only a few comparatively – were spent with a passion to learn as much as I could from the chefs that prepared magnificent dishes with seemingly little effort. It was that education that truly turned me into a “foodie.”

Pizzaiolos are the consummate artisans when it comes to feeding the masses. Sure there are the celebrity chefs that will bend a spear of Peruvian asparagus, drizzle a hint of Himalyan truffle oil and creamed Swedish goat Ekte Gjetost over it and serve it as a entrée. But in reality, the people always come back to the comfort of a freshly made pie.

Pizza has made some slight gains in consumer preference according to the most recent Foodservice Facts report. While remaining firm at nine per cent of overall purchase share, pizza moved into fifth spot in overall consumer preference, up from sixth in the previous year. It’s still the second choice off the dinner menu, behind only French fries.

After three years of continuous decline, overall restaurant meals showed positive growth, gaining a modest 2.4 per cent. And as Canadians continue to rethink their eating habits, a number of key trends are emerging. On the upswing are beverages such as iced coffee and frappes, while hot espresso, cappuccino and lattes also show positive movement. Soft drinks of all nature are losing ground with Canadians as iced tea and bottled water move in. Coffee continues to dominate as the number one beverage for adults.

Canadians are also dispensing with the fattening French fry. As a sideline category, fries took a big hit, declining 4.5 per cent in popularity over the past five years.

Sidelines that are showing strength include salads as a main dish, and green salads. A starch choice would be rice. Less popular choices now include vegetarian burgers, poutine, and muffins.

For those considering sandwich options on their menu, consumers are sending a clear message: hot meat and cold meat subs are waning – with only chicken and turkey showing growth.

Real growth in Canada’s foodservice industry brought a sense of renewal after some significant challenges in the early stages of the decade. Consumers moved past their personal deprivation diets and into a mood of healthy choices. The key now is to recognize the expectations of this new consumer mentality.

The data from the Canadian
Restaurant and Foodservices Association may not prove to be the motivating factor in why we go to our kitchens each day, but it does reveal a positive trend for the smart pizzaiolo. Pay careful attention to what your customer is picking on the menu, and become an artisan with those choices.•


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