Canadian Pizza Magazine

Features In the Kitchen Ingredients
from the editor’s desk: More than a price point


January 6, 2011
By Laura Aiken


Topics

nother year, another dairy increase. Surprising isn’t the word that comes to mind. Year after year, the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association’s (CRFA) lobbying is commendable. Year after year the valid points of unjustified inequity seem to fall on deaf ears. The price of milk will increase by 1.5 per cent on Feb. 1. No rollbacks. No level playing field for frozen and fresh pizza makers. Looking back at a January 2009 editorial I wrote on dairy prices, it seems I could essentially reprint it today with a few numbers updated.

Another year, another dairy increase. Surprising isn’t the word that comes to mind. Year after year, the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association’s (CRFA) lobbying is commendable. Year after year the valid points of unjustified inequity seem to fall on deaf ears. The price of milk will increase by 1.5 per cent on Feb. 1. No rollbacks. No level playing field for frozen and fresh pizza makers. Looking back at a January 2009 editorial I wrote on dairy prices, it seems I could essentially reprint it today with a few numbers updated.

And, as was the case in 2009, consumer interest in cheese still seems to be ever burgeoning. Last time I peeked into a Chapters, cheese books had their own dominant display in the cooking section. Cheese may be expensive, particularly artisanal varieties, but it’s an affordable and desired luxury for some. For others, they just want loads of cheese on their pizza, and the more, the better. Appeasing this crowd often means offering a competitively cheap price, whereas the foodie crowd is willing to dole out extra dollars without complaint, well educated in the value of what they are paying for. And somewhere between foodie and finger lickin’ good is probably the palate of your average customer, sometimes in the mood to pay more, sometimes insistent on paying less.

This division of customers can be frustrating in the face of rising costs, but pizzerias offer so much more than a price point. As a pizzeria operator you are giving back employment opportunity, nourishment, enjoyment and a sense of neighbourhood. If you’ve been feeling good about your involvement with your community, it’s time to think about nominating yourself for our Pizza with Purpose award. If you haven’t been feeling like a part of your community, it’s a new year and a great time to reflect on what more you can do. The karma in community ties is not only a moral circle, but makes good business sense when you consider the all-powerful word of mouth. The little things count.

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My grandfather owned a pharmacy in a small town for more than 30 years. I ended up working at a pizza place in the same spot as a young adult. I would get to talking with longtime residents who were also regular customers and my grandpa’s store invariably came up, accompanied by a tale of some favour he’d done that they still recalled long after he’d retired. Often it was his willingness to deliver needed medication at all hours. Before his death he was given a Citizen of the Year award in his community, and I remember being so proud of how much of a difference his generosity made. Some people really go above and beyond and we want to recognize our country’s pizzerias for their dedicated efforts. Perhaps you sponsor a local sports team, work with an association like MADD or fundraise for local schools. To be as passionate and proud of the work you do for free is easily as fulfilling as the labour of love you do for pay. You’ll find the Pizza with Purpose entry form online at www.canadianpizzamag.com

Remember, rising costs may feel like a kick in the teeth but you offer so much more than a price point. Be more to your customers and they will pay more to you.