Special Report

21 Ways Restaurants Are Going to Change

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16. More women will rise into management

One of the most likely developments in food by 2030 will be an increase in the number of women in upper management restaurant industry jobs.

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17. More minorities will rise into management

The restaurant industry is already a notably diverse business, but, like women, more minorities will take jobs on the upper management level, and the foodservice workforce in general will become even more diverse.

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18. The definition of ‘restaurant’ will change

Some establishments, the report suggests, might morph into hybrids, offering full service, self-service, takeout, delivery, and meal kits all in one location. Restaurant layouts will be planned or revised to accommodate delivery and takeout functions. Food halls will allow people to combine eating out with food shopping for the home.

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19. Menu choices will multiply

Restaurant menus will offer more healthy (including plant-based) options. As consumer interest in food sourcing will increase and diners’ palates will grow more sophisticated as global cuisines become more and more available around the country, more choices will be added to menus.

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20. Customer outreach will get more sophisticated

Building on existing social media marketing programs, operators will get more personal and localized, perhaps using geo-tracking and even facial recognition technology to anticipate customer needs and wants. Frequent-diner databases and loyalty programs will become more common.

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21. Restaurants will become ‘third spaces’

Futurists think that restaurants could evolve more than they already have into “third spaces” — basically social meeting places that act as a bridge between home and work. The report foresees “American versions of German biergartens, with less emphasis on table turnover and more emphasis on facilitating repeat socializing by customers.” Optimistically, it also suggests that restaurants could become “an arena in which people actively try to undo some of the polarizations that can divide American society.”