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Editorial

The restaurant industry marketing on a comeback

The restaurant industry is rediscovering the need for marketing. It was about time for the sector was accumulating a serious gap with 21st century consumer behavior. Comforted by their growing financial results worldwide, the major brands of the fast-food industry and theme catering have focused their attention on further expanding of their networks. It became urgent to conquer new positions to balance the economic risks. The wishes of the client could wait a little longer.

But it is impossible to ignore the changes in consumer models for too long. Particularly since the globalization of concepts rapidly reaches its limits when it comes to gastronomy, which is deeply influenced by national cultures. Europe has shown the first signs of resistance to an overly universal restaurant industry. Several sanitary crises and an increasingly hectic lifestyle have generated a triple movement: a quest for nutritional balance, increased availability at any time of day and - almost - night, and a renewal of the propositions largely open to the world.

Marketing is fighting back to transform suspicion into a major sales pitch, to regenerate the desire to go out and share moments of conviviality. The new fast-food restaurants have nothing to do with their ancestors of the previous century. The quality of the products is promoted in a friendlier environment. The various ethnic cuisines have broken into the mainstream to become real concepts and give birth to commercial chains. The traditional meal is destructured: tapas, sushi and other types of finger food have brought a new and amusing dimension to the market, while adjusting to the reality of modern life.

Today, this healthy movement, well advanced in Europe, is attracting investment funds. They are ready to play their role in supporting the development of national networks that, through improved management of their real estate assets, could further combine into European corporations.

In France, the reaction of professionals came late because the constant decrease in the number of guests was overshadowed by the rise of the tariffs. Their trade organizations made them believe that the only issue was the diminution of the VAT rate. They almost missed the mutation of their activity, while the process is well under way in neighboring countries.

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