What Is A Restaurant? The Definition Is Changing

Americans love convenience and consumer demand for convenient foodservice is changing what constitutes a "restaurant" in America. According to a new report from the National Restaurant Association, off-premise sales now account for 60% of all foodservice occasions. Mobile ordering and delivery are the latest revolutions in a string of foodservice conveniences that have progressed over the past century from traditional table service in sit-down restaurants to drive-thru service in fast food restaurants (pioneered by White Castle and McDonald's) to fast casual, quick service restaurants, and mobile food trucks.

Today, many restaurants consist solely of a brand, an online menu, and a delivery service, with no dining space whatsoever. Others with sit-down restaurants have incorporated mobile ordering, payment, and delivery into their business models to meet the demands of younger consumers who expect that everything can be purchased through a smartphone and delivered. According to the report, 39% of restaurant customers have used the drive-thru channel more this year than last year, 34% have used delivery more than a year ago, and 29% have ordered takeout more often than last year. Restaurateurs are changing their business models and their physical facilities to meet changing consumer preferences. Get the full story here from Forbes.

Photo source: Toronto Star via Getty Images

car at drive up restaurant window

Dave Joachim

AmazingRibs.com Editor David Joachim has authored, edited, or collaborated on more than 45 cookbooks including four on barbecue and grilling, making him a perfect match for a website dedicated to the “Science of Barbecue and Grilling.” His Food Science column has appeared in "Fine Cooking" magazine since 2011. 

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