The present is always a good time to have a discussion about the restaurant of the future.
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Herculaneum in Italy. This is where Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried the village in A.D. 79. Eerily frozen in time, walking the streets offers a glimpse of life before the calamity. As one meanders the still recognizable streets, you can visit the remnants of the shops that once breathed life into this upscale seaside village. I remember walking past the laundry and the bakery, complete with a woodburning oven immediately identifiable nearly 2,000 years after its final use. The diner came complete with the primitive preformed bar seemingly ready to accommodate new soup tureens with the day’s offerings.
My point is that even in the face of a pandemic that threatens to change a great deal aboutthe way we use restaurants, and perhaps even how we define them, today represents the best time to have a conversation aboutthe future. Some will be understandably reluctant to engage in the discussion until we know exactly what the pandemic has in store for usand how long the uncertainty is likely to last, but for the intrepid, now is the time to contemplate and embrace what the future holds. And those, by the way, are the ones who will be best positioned to succeed in whatever the new environment has in store.
We have had some great discussions during our Foodservice Equipment and Design Lunch & Learn series in October and our Restaurant of the Future webcast in November about this very subject. All of that content is available without barrier at FESmag.com/events. I invite you to check it out. In this special supplement to FE&S, Warren Solochek completes his 2020 Vision series on the topic of the restaurant of the future by interpreting the events of today and their impact on tomorrow. Also, Tom O’Brien takes a long look at how the engine that drives all restaurants, the cookline, will continue to evolve to support the way restaurants continue to adapt to consumer preferences. And, finally, we’ve assembled a collection of eight thought-leading operators from various operator segments who share with you their visions of the future.