Diving Into the Evolution of Restaurants


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Customer taste is constantly changing and evolving, which forces the restaurant industry as a whole to evolve.

  With over 15 million current employees in the industry, there is no doubt restaurants are at the heart of the American economy. It begs the question, have they changed at all over the last few decades?

  In the year 2020, the American restaurant industry as a whole brought in over 650 billion dollars in profit. There is no doubt that the industry is successful, but with such rapid advancement in technology over the last 20 years, is the average American’s dining experience becoming easier and more enjoyable?

  “From the tech standpoint, online ordering, and payment through our updated POS system has been a huge help… especially during this last year,” Chef and Owner of Raleigh restaurant Capital Club 16 Jake Wolf stated, “Delivery is a huge part of the future and we are currently exploring and trying to find the right delivery service to align with.”

  Wolf’s inference about the future certainly seems accurate, as 2020 saw delivery app UberEats collect $4.8 billion in revenue, which is a 152 percent increase from 2019. According to a 2018 survey orchestrated by Grubhub, 43 percent of people claim they lack a desire to cook, which as a result forces restaurants and the food industry as a whole to maintain high standards. 

  Sean Degnan, Principal Owner of Raleigh restaurants so●ca and ko●an, and Co-Owner of bu●ku, says, “I think the trends towards fast-casual dining, takeout, and delivery have been a long time coming.” He continues, “But the pandemic really fast forwarded things by several years if not decades.”

  Although it may seem that technology in the food industry is getting more advanced and operations are becoming much easier for the consumer, delivery apps charge high premiums, which can most certainly drive up prices. Although the fast growth of technology can lead to more expensive meals, tech has done its part in promoting the restaurant industry— sometimes in indirect ways.

  With television becoming more and more accessible, whether it be on cable TV or a smartphone, one wonders if channels such as the Food Network, and shows such as Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dive’s have made restaurants as a whole more popular. If you look at it this way, television could indirectly be a factor of restaurant popularity.

  Colman Andrews from USA Today writes, “The restaurant industry constantly evolves, responding to changing consumer tastes, social pressures, and new rules and regulations, often adapting to new technologies meant to improve diner experience or bring new tools to business management.”

  According to The Balance Small Business, restaurants should change their menu around once a year. With Andrews’ take on consumer taste constantly evolving in mind, restaurants are essentially forced to evolve as far as menu, technology, and the environment altogether.