The Changing Times of our Industry

Geoffrey Sagrans

I came across an industry article last week. The first thing that caught my eye was the name of the restaurant, Le Cirque. This New York City institution has been one I’ve been familiar with since entering the industry in the 1980’s. It was a name that not only diners wanted to be associated with but, the people that worked there as well.

As I read the article I soon realized that this was not another positive review or star sighting. It was actually an announcement that the New York City landmark was filing for Chapter 11 protection. The culinary epicenter once known for being the culinary pinnacle of fine dining in the states was now facing a struggle where their expenses outweighed their income.

After the initial shock of this announcement hit I soon realized that this is just a barometer of where the culinary scene has gone.

In the rear view mirror are 3 hour pre-set meals now replaced by quick tapas-style tasting menus. Gone are the more formal attire and formal settings; replaced by the relaxed, business casual atmosphere. Confined and structured settings have moved aside for free flowing open spaces, as well as greater interaction among patrons.

Hotel F & B has shown its readership through countless articles how hotel outlets have embraced these changes. No longer do hotels have fine dining restaurants because “…that’s just what you did.” Hotel operations embrace their guests needs. Operators also look beyond their own four walls to see how other non-hotel foodservice operations achieve success.

Whether we like it or not, we have transitioned into a “microwave society.” People want to experience many things in a very short time space. They want instant gratification while not investing too much time to do so. I am sure each of us has experienced this first hand.

The question is how your foodservice operation will continue to embrace these changing times of our industry. Until next time…