I finally got caught up on my trade journal reading. You know that stack of magazines that pile up until you have a long plane ride. Included in them were all the year-end predictions of what will be hot and trendy in 2017. One article caught my attention -Disruptors.
Given the tumult and acrimony that swept our new president into office, Trump was at the top of the list, with his promises to reign in regulation and stifle the minimum wage activists. Clearly the “disruptor-in-chief” will have an impact on the foodservice industry; however, what got my attention was Amazon.
We all know the impact that Jeff Bezos’ empire has had on the retail industry, but restaurants? I know that they will continue to provide an option to operators that cannot effectively source specific items from the typical distribution partners, but will they really have an impact on consumers? Well, they are trying. Most recently, Amazon launched a program called AmazonFresh, a same-day, on-demand grocery and meal kit ordering and delivery service. It is currently available in a few areas and will continue to expand with time, in hopes of gaining more of the online grocery shopping market that is projected to be a $9.4-billion-dollar industry in 2017.
So how will the local eateries respond? Obviously, they need delivery options of their own, but more importantly they are going to need to provide that social connection that makes dining out something special. As Danny Meyer says, “High-tech increases people’s need for high touch. People will seek out more experiences that save them time with no cost in quality, no cost in hospitality and that allow them to connect with people.” These elements are the values that I look for when choosing to leave our comfortable homes to venture out for a meal, a drink or a snack.
I look for the successful restaurateurs to raise their game, so that it is not just food that I am being served, but an experience that I cannot have delivered to my door. I welcome the disruptors who figure out how to create that dining event and make me want to come back. What are you looking for when you venture out?