The role of restaurants is changing as we enter an age of "hyper authenticity", with customers wanting to know that their food is not just healthy, but where it comes from and how it fits into the supply chain, writes Tamara Sender, from the European FoodService Summit, Zurich This was the message of Christopher Muller, director for the centre for multi-unit management at the University of Central Florida Orlando, as he questioned how the foodservice industry could deal with these challenges. Muller said: "Authenticity comes not just from having a healthy product, but trusting the source of information about the food origin. It's a different role for restaurants. "The idea of farming has been romanticised, but anyone who has been on a farm knows that it is back breaking work. We are high volume businesses, it's nice that the customer wants to know about the origin of the ingredients on the menu, but how much is this an advantage for our companies?" Robert Brozin, chief executive of Nando's Restaurants, told the panel that in these times it was no longer about just being global and that it was necessary to adapt to the local market where your businesses are located. Brozin said: "It's about respecting the community. You have to adapt to the local market, you can't just have a global attitude. Sourcing locally brings trust." He said that Nando's policy was to buy locally sourced chicken where possible and that this had the added benefit of helping to control costs at a time of rising prices. "When you work with small local farmers as well as helping to trace the product back it takes a lot of costs out of the system. With rising inflation and creeping costs you need to look down the supply chain at vertical integration using synergies and networks to make it more efficient." Lori Ann Daynter, president and chief executive of Rosinter Restaurants, said it faced a different problem in Russia as the company had outgrown the supply avenues in the local market and that were struggling to find volume to respond to growing demand from Russian consumers. Walter Seib, managing director of HMS Host in Europe and the Middle East, pointed out that it all came down to how much people were prepared to pay for authenticity. Seib said: "Costs are rising, people have less money left over and are becoming more careful how they spend it. There is starting to be a change in spending patterns." Muller questioned whether it was simply down to economics. He said: "At the end of the day, value makes a difference. At what point does the price of food become the most important issue outweighing everything previously mentioned. Is it all really about McDonaldisation? "You all have stockholders and investors to answer to, so when does it just become an economic issue?" Brozin said that faced with rising prices those businesses with a simple model would be the most successful. "With the challenge of rising food prices, the simpler, cleaner and less complicated concepts will do the best. It's about going back to basics and being more authentic," he argued.