Restaurant Development & Design

SEP-OCT 2018

restaurant development + design is a user-driven resource for restaurant professionals charged with building new locations and remodeling existing units.

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S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 8 • r e s t a u r a n t d e v e l o p m e n t + d e s i g n • 4 3 By Caroline Perkins A ccording to Yogi Berra, "The future ain't what it used to be." As it turns out, he could have been talking about today's restaurant industry. For decades, the restaurant of the future was expected to be more of the same, tweaked a little here and there but essentially featuring no sig- nificant advances. When the future arrived, it was what it used to be. Today, that notion is far from true. Three disruptive events continue to shape the outlook for the restaurant of the future: labor issues, which include a shortage of qualified people and higher costs of employment; growing demand for convenience; and skyrocketing real estate costs. As a result, in five years, the restaurant industry will not be what it used to be. Virtually all aspects of a restaurant will continue to evolve, as will the way consumers use restaurants. The labor situation is critical. Unemployment remains at historic lows, which means restaurants continue to compete for qualified people — if they can find them. And when a restaurant operator does find someone qualified, they have to pay them more to remain competitive with other businesses. None of this takes into account some cultural changes shaping the Ameri- can workforce. "For the first time, teenagers are choosing not to go to work in restaurants for their first job," points out Fred LeFranc, change agent of Results Thru Strategy. "In this gig economy, other jobs pay more than minimum wage." To help offset the scarcity and higher cost of labor, progressive operators continue to turn to technology. TECHNOLOGY AND CONVENIENCE: THE RESTAURANT OF THE FUTURE

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