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Est. 1996

Issue 230

February 2016

The Marketplace has changed
Editorial by Peter Grove

 

 

 

 

 

I you listen to many commentators about the restaurant industry in Britain you may be forgiven for thinking that demand for many of the foods that have provided much of the demand impetus in recent years is falling away. Article after article refers to Indian restaurants in particular closing at an alarming rate as people fall out of love with curry and out immigration rules prevent the adequate staffing of curry house kitchens.

Many High Street curry houses do indeed have problems but the reason is far more multi-faceted than than it appears on the surface. The fact is the marketplace has changed. When Chinese then Indian restaurants had their heyday people dined out to try foods they could not get at home in an atmosphere that flirted with the exotic. Food quality was not necessarily that great but spicy food offered an element of excitement to British palates that had been missing in the War years and people had the money to pursue the exotic in both food and travel.

In the present day, demand for spicy food has not fallen as is being suggested but rather that it can be found in so many other places. If looking for a chilli kick, diners can choose Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Thai, Piri Pri, Pizzas - the list goes on so Indian restaurants are competing with all these not just each other.

The other factor is that many people would dine out to try new dishes that one would be unlikely to have at home. Dishes such as duck, venison and lobster. As supermarkets have improved their product choice this no longer applies and consumers can enjoy the best of ingredients and wines at a much lower cost in their own home.

The element that many restaurants seem to have missed and which has not changed is that many people tend to dine out as an event. An event where they are welcomed, cossetted, guided, mad to feel special in such a way as to produce a complete dining experience. Average food can be forgiven with fantastic service but poor service can never be forgiven no matter how fantastic the food. So the message for the future focuses on front of house. Staff urgently need to focus on being pleasant, knowledgeable as well as efficient and capable of the upselling that can make the difference between profit and loss.

 

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Mood Food is published by PCSM, London, England © 2016

Editor:

Peter J. Grove

Editorial office: PO Box 416 Surbiton, Surrey, England, KT1 9BJ

Tel: 020 8399 4831

email: GroveInt@aol.com