Special Report

21 Ways Restaurants Are Going to Change

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6. Algorithms might produce new taste experiences

As AI systems collect and analyze data about foods, beverages, ingredients, and tastes, new recipes and kinds of food and drink could be created. “Some AIs,” the report predicts, “could become as well-known as human chefs, baristas and bartenders.”

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7. Apps may become more important than restaurants

With the rapid rise of food delivery apps and the expected acquisition of ghost restaurant URLs by delivery services, consumers might become more loyal to the apps than to any real restaurants — at least when they’re ordering in. If they want a certain kind of pizza or a particular Chinese dish, that is, they might not care where it comes from as long as obtaining it is fast and easy.

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8. Food service and health care could merge

Citing an aging population, advances in genetic knowledge, and rising rates of so-called lifestyle diseases like obesity and type 2 diabetes, the report suggests that meals might one day be prescribed by doctors and even paid for by insurance companies. Those companies might also begin to require information about what and how their clients are eating.

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9. Food safety will improve

“Technology will be a game-changer in food safety,” according to the report. Restaurant inspection results will be easily available to the public. Blockchain and bar-coding technology will improve traceability of products. Increased data access will quickly identify sources of foodborne illnesses and remove problem foods. New security measures will help prevent intentional food contamination.

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10. Government regulation will increase

Data privacy, third-party delivery, and environmental concerns are among the areas in which state and local governments are expected to ramp up operating rules. The foodservice industry will respond by employing more lobbyists, especially at the city level.