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Dine In is Dying

So you love food? Then open a restaurant the traditional wisdom goes; it’s grueling work, but if you’re passionate, it can lead to fulfillment and success. Just look at the rise of the celebrity chef: you can earn a James Beard Award (the Grammy of Food!) if you open a restaurant. You might have your own show on the Food Network! You will become a respectable public figure in your community! Open a restaurant! Well, I’m here to say don’t.

Restaurants are dying and there are better ways to leverage your passion in food to make money, earn respect, and be successful.

Let’s explore the traditional restaurant: in its simplest form, a restaurant succeeds by serving guests a quality product and service when they come in to the establishment so that they become return guests and tell other people to come. Keeping the tables full, turning them as often as possible, increasing check amounts, and delighting guests with great service are the keys to success in owning a restaurant (and of course operating profitably). This form of the restaurant is dying.

In today’s world, food service takes many different forms other than the dine-in restaurant and, in fact, the dine in restaurant of the future needs to encompass many of these alternative food service forms in order to be successful. 

The restaurant of the future may not even need to have in-premise service as consumers tastes and expectations continue to evolve. My prediction is that we will see establishments that offer a blend of take-out, delivery, catering, grab-and-go options, wholesale products at other locations, and other forms of distribution that haven’t even arrived yet. These establishments may centralize kitchens, share locations with other businesses, or use other creative forms of production. The restaurant industry as we know it is will be turned upside down.

This is precisely why I a prefer to call the industry “food service” instead of the restaurant industry- restaurants are dying and the businesses of the future will combine many different aspects of food service to delight its customers.