As the technological revolution continues, more and more businesses are disrupted by formerly unprecedented innovation. Perhaps in no other sector of the economy is this more apparent than in the restaurant industry. In fact, the New York Times recently reported that many brick and mortar restaurants in Silicon Valley are falling victim to poaching by tech giants. Names like Google and Facebook are hiring talented chefs to staff their kitchens and feed their employees.
Mom and pop shops don’t stand a chance. They can’t offer the same perks, benefits, or pay as an enterprise the size of Google—but this isn’t just confined to Silicon Valley. New technology is affecting restaurants across the nation. The magazine, Eater, noted many restaurants without dining rooms are emerging. In an effort to avoid the increasing rent in mostly metropolitan areas, many restaurants are providing food to hungry customers solely through the use of apps like GrubHub and Seamless.
While, of course, food delivery is hardly new—restaurants that only deliver are new. David Chang of Momofuku even went so far as to say they “could save restaurant dining.” Now, although this notion is new and its prospective future bright, it is hardly guaranteed to change the dining landscape as we know it today. What is guaranteed, however, is that technology is being increasingly implemented. Delivery-exclusive restaurants are just the beginning.
Inamo, for example, utilizes an interactive tablet to order food so that waiters have less on their plate, so to speak. Eatsa has fully automated its entire hosting and waiting service. There is no wait staff in sight, and this could very well prove a lucrative model to be emulated by many restaraunts in the future.
It is interesting to speculate what technological trends will emerge in the future as the dining norm. Certainly more jobs will likely be replaced by technology, but by the same token, that exact technology will no doubt create jobs in its own field. It is permeating our economy, both adding and subtracting jobs—and the restaurant industry is merely one medium for this.
Perhaps augmented reality and or virtual reality will come to play a role. The road for disruption is always open if not visible, and it is the responsibility of aspiring and established entrepreneurs alike to recognize this disruption for what it is—an opportunity to better humanity.