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Robin Garr

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"The Restaurant Revolution Has Begun"

by Robin Garr » Tue Jan 30, 2024 11:55 am

This is a fascinating opinion piece about changes in the restaurant business since the pandemic. Any of my food business friends or fans have thoughts on this? Is it happening here?

Restaurant Revolution NYT.jpeg
The Restaurant Revolution Has Begun
Restaurant Revolution NYT.jpeg (432.77 KiB) Viewed 2010 times

The New York Times wrote:The Restaurant Revolution Has Begun
By Anthony Strong, chef and owner of Pasta Supply Co. in San Francisco

Like so many other chefs, I was drawn to the restaurant business because it is exciting. I ignored its dysfunction and accepted that I’d forgo higher education, financial stability and holidays with family in order to share my craft with others.

All it took was a pandemic, an enormous wave of inflation and an impossibly tight job market to force me and many others to burrow to the very core of what a restaurant does for its guests, workers and community and redefine it from the ground up.

This is the silver lining of the pandemic and the never-ending economic uncertainty that has ensued: More places are finally figuring out how to make this business an actual business. ...


Here's a gift link to the full article, no NYT paywall:
https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/20/opin ... =url-share
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Mike D

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Re: "The Restaurant Revolution Has Begun"

by Mike D » Tue Jan 30, 2024 5:24 pm

This was a very interesting and informative article. Thanks for posting it. Most of what he says makes sense to this diner who has never experienced the other side of the business.
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Re: "The Restaurant Revolution Has Begun"

by Carla G » Sat Feb 03, 2024 9:32 am

Yes yes yes! I love this guy's ingenuity and OOTB thinking. The VW van -genius! Sometimes people just want to refuel (drive thrus) and sometimes they want to be entertained, a different experience. Cracker Barrel realized this when they tacked on all those cliche' inspired gift shops aside their restaurants. (I seem to remember that Lynn's Paradise Cafe did well with hers.) Tourist areas still offer "catch your own trout/fish" venues and tables inside the kitchen. and hibachi grills and fondue pots are still a thing. I'm betting we will see more restaurants offering things like "Dinner with a Movie" , "Cook your meal with your chef, or some other added value offering. ( Heck I'd be willing to do tarot card readings for entire tables at the end of their meal.)

This industry will adapt because those that love the restaurant industry HAVE to practice their craft. It's really about selling the love, the attention, the comfort, the experience. They will figure it out.
"She did not so much cook as assassinate food." - Storm Jameson
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James Natsis

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Re: "The Restaurant Revolution Has Begun"

by James Natsis » Sat Feb 03, 2024 5:54 pm

I'm not quite sure what to make of this. Perhaps a new title would help: "The Restaurant Revolution in the USA (read San Francisco) Has Begun."

Prix fixe revolutionary? Tacking on a service charge? Heck, an automatic service charge was always de rigueur in Europe since I first went there in 1982. Prix fixe? That's normal dining in a French restaurant--even for lunch in many places.

San Francisco is a basket case. They went from astronomical growth and folks with unlimited salaries, to being the nouveau homeless capitol. How can anyone base their model off of a place where it costs up to $50 to park a car in a downtown garage (in a tourist area to be fair) or to go to a baseball game, and where folks are (or at least had been) paying several thousand bucks per month to live in a tiny apartment. I can only imagine what some of the rents have been for any kind of restaurant. I just returned from a trip to Daytona where I met a Louisville bartender on the plane who has been here for about 6 yrs, leaving San Diego where he had been for 8 years but got ran off due to the ridiculous cost of living. He sees Louisville, especially Nulu, as a land of opportunity.

Most of those type of articles tend to be a story about some restaurant(eur) in New York, LA or some other huge, expensive city. That's fine. But I think the rules of engagement and survival are a little different in a city like Louisville.
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TimT

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Re: "The Restaurant Revolution Has Begun"

by TimT » Tue Feb 06, 2024 9:20 am

I liked his comment that it was time to abandon QR code menus. Just sayin'.
"I dined at my favorite restaurant last night. It was like Heaven, only better. They let me in".
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Re: "The Restaurant Revolution Has Begun"

by Robin Garr » Tue Feb 06, 2024 1:47 pm

They definitely seem to be divisive between love and hate! I ate at a popular Germantown spot last week that had only the QR option for both food menu and beer list, and I can't honestly say it bothered me.
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Re: "The Restaurant Revolution Has Begun"

by Mike L » Tue Feb 06, 2024 9:36 pm

Robin Garr wrote:They definitely seem to be divisive between love and hate! I ate at a popular Germantown spot last week that had only the QR option for both food menu and beer list, and I can't honestly say it bothered me.


How does that work for someone who doesn't have a smart phone? I guess no menu for them?

I think QR codes are on the way out. They're a huge security issue.
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Re: "The Restaurant Revolution Has Begun"

by Carla G » Wed Feb 07, 2024 8:42 am

Yeah, from a marketing standpoint I'm with Mike L on this. Too many variables that put ordering at risk…no iphone, low battery, left phone in the car, hard to read, small screens. And sorry, just not everyone is THAT tech saavy. Yet. Why leave them feeling awkward when, for some, just trying a new place is anxiety riddled enough? And, BTW, I bet I know the Germantown place you were referring to Robin and while the food is awesome, when we were last there the staff wasn't real concerned about explaining how to retrieve a menu from a QR code at our neighboring table. We were glad to help them but they were definately miffed at the procedure and lack of assistance from the staff. That's the kind of thing that turns off a diner and no matter how amazing the food is, they will not forget that "feeling".
"She did not so much cook as assassinate food." - Storm Jameson
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Re: "The Restaurant Revolution Has Begun"

by Robin Garr » Wed Feb 07, 2024 10:29 am

Mike L wrote:How does that work for someone who doesn't have a smart phone? I guess no menu for them?

I think QR codes are on the way out. They're a huge security issue.


Mike, the place with the QR codes (Four Pegs) actually will offer a paper menu on request, so there's usually an alternative. Still, according to Consumer Affairs, "About 97% of Americans owned a feature phone or smartphone in 2022, compared to 85% in 2015," so we're likely talking about relatively few people.

Security of QR codes is a stickier wicket, but it really depends on whether you trust the restaurant (or its IT staff) not to create a code that points to a malicious site rather than to their menu. Of course, you also trust your server not to steal your credit card info or to short you on the change from your cash purchase. It's a jungle out there.

QR Code Security: What are QR codes and are they safe to use?

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