The Restaurant Industry Is At A Crossroads

Adapt Innovation to Succeed, Exec Says

At the recent Ideagen Summit, the Association's Perry Quinn said restaurateurs must embrace change and new technologies to survive and thrive.
A dash food delivery person
Third-party delivery service is changing the way restaurants do business

National Restaurant Association

The restaurant industry is at a crossroads. It must adapt to and adopt new technologies and innovation or watch the business model founder, much like traditional media outlets did following the economic downturn in the mid-to-late 2000s.

Perry QuinnThat was Perry Quinn’s message during his Pop-Up talk at the recent Ideagen Global Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. Quinn, Association senior vice president of business innovation development, compared the current restaurant industry landscape to legacy media – print, television and radio – saying that the introduction of digital technology disrupted their traditional advertising revenue streams. Instead of losing revenue and market share, restaurant operators must embrace innovation and the inevitable changes it will bring.

He explained how the Internet changed the way traditional media organizations did business, noting that The New York Times was one of the few organizations that quickly and successfully shifted to a digital platform and established a successful online footprint. Many, however, did not, and added that the restaurant industry must be sure not to make similar missteps.

“We’re going to see that same or similar disruption come into the restaurant industry,” he told the audience. He added that while the disruption isn’t moving as quickly as it did with traditional media businesses, a lot of different factors are affecting the way restaurants operate and how they serve their customers.

Quinn, whose job includes helping restaurateurs successfully adapt to the new technologies, said three disruptors in particular are transforming the industry model:

  • Online and mobile reservation platforms
  • Waitlist services, and
  • Third-party delivery service

He also noted that restaurants play an important role in our economy and are part of the fabric of America. According to our recent research, restaurants employ 15 million people at 1 million locations throughout the United States, and expect to create an additional 1.7 million jobs over the next decade. Quinn said that the massive potential job growth is why we must ensure that restaurants continue to thrive and serve our communities, and help them navigate the changing technological landscape.

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