F&B: No Pleasure, No Future
December 23, 2014 8:41am
For six months, sector sales have been down worldwide because the lack of renewals in supply led consumers -even the most faithful- to shy away from a company and consumption modes that did not keep step with their needs. America's fast-food segment thought it could develop a universal model, based on very exacting standards, bringing comfortable margins and backed by global marketing.
Food reaches too far into cultural foundations for a universal formula to be able to survive without getting tedious and lacking taste. Local color should be found at the counter and at tables to the greater pleasure of a restaurant's consumers who want precisely that. Desire and pleasure are two essential notions for success in the F&B universe.
This is particularly true when it comes to food. Fast-food is an ever-changing sector that has opened up to innovations and imagination, and as such it is very competitive. The sector's established brands have been hit hard by more ethnic formulas, although they try to replicate the latter by giving greater initiative to local operators. The world of fast food has also been upset by the arrival of new players who have dug up old recipes: soup bars, mixed salads, wok and steamed dishes... to refresh the offer. Authenticity, diversity, freshness, diet... have all mobilized a new generation of consumers (women in particular, who have been a driving force for change), and they are naturally drawn to innovation. The economic model makes it possible to offer reasonably priced meals and to capitalize on other advantages, combining simple casual service and revenue from neighborhood grocery and takeaway services.
Some fast food companies have found the right combination by assimilating territorial cultures and then going global with a certain amount of success. Groups like the British Prêt à Manger or the French Le Duff are producing offspring and even being enriched by new American branches that maintain their cultural identity.
What is blatant in fast food is equally so in traditional restaurants that have grown accustomed to thinking mathematically about costs while sometimes forgetting the gastronomic factor. Long-term success cannot only be based on a capture rate from the local population. A restaurant or type of menu is all too often chosen by default without enough consideration of desires. Caution is necessary to avoid brutal and definitive sanctioning by the consumer once he is given the right alternative. The future will be challenging for F&B if the pleasure principal isn't there...
Tags: georges panayotis
Contact: Georges Panayotis
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