What will restaurants be like in 50 years? Good luck answering that one.
Do you think if in 1966 you were asked what restaurants would be like in 2016, you would've predicted a robotic hamburger-making machine in the kitchen, able to produce 400 burgers an hour and saving the restaurant $135,000 a year?
How about a restaurant that knows when visitors sit at the tables, which triggers a menu image to appear on the tabletop?
Would you have predicted a bar where drinkers could create cocktails from their seats, then post them to a public timeline, earning a commission when someone else orders their creation?
Would you have said, "Hm, I think maybe there will be a sushi restaurant with some kind of code printed on rice paper, using edible ink, that you sort of somehow read with this sophisticated little instrument that you own, and then you'll be able to learn where the fish was caught, the current ocean stocks, and also see a video of the fishermen who caught the fish? € For that matter, would you have predicted restaurants selling little pieces of raw fish for three bucks apiece?
Because those things are happening, or have happened, now. So let's face it – if a time traveller came back from 2066 and told us what dining out was like in his world, it might sound like science fiction.
But there are a few things we can predict in a not-quite-so-distant future: there will be more restaurants where you see no other human being, like ala Eatsa in San Francisco where a staff of five or six cooks assemble the bowls, but they're behind the scenes. The typical customer orders and pays via a smartphone or tablet, then picks up her food from a cubbyhole displaying her name.
It isn't hard to see that with the way things are headed, lots of what were once normal and expected restaurant experiences are going to be passé.
Indeed, in the not-so-distant dining future, hospitality furniture and tables that wobble will seem as preposterous as a cook working with a cigarette dangling from his lips. And, FLAT will be there because even in 2016, we're changing the way we eat at restaurants. So why not tick off one of those New Year's resolutions in your business, solve an irritating problem for your customers and staff and introduce some 21st century technology today!