Of all the trends reporters and firms who generate copy near the end of each year, Baum+Whiteman is oft overlooked. Yet where U.S. F&B trends are concerned, arguably the company’s principals have their collective thumb on the proper pulse of the nation most firmly. So when they say tech is king in 2015, you can take that to the bank.
Courtesy of Baum+Whiteman
Forget cronuts and Negronis. Forget quinoa and kale. Short of putting food into our mouths, technology is upending the way dining out works. Electronic wizardry once hummed quietly in the background ... but now we’re immersed in “front-facing technology” or “guest-facing technology”: all sorts of devices and programs that interface directly with the consumer. More restaurant companies experiment with tablets ... letting guests order food and drink from their tables; play games while they’re waiting; then pay with smartphones ... meeting a waiter when an order is delivered, or when it’s time for a refill from the bar, or for upselling desserts. Tables turn faster by eliminating downtime during which little happens and customers start fidgeting.