Executive Briefing

The new table stakes for the restaurant business

As the pandemic recedes, restaurants now have an opportunity — if not an obligation — to reinvent themselves, building better, more resilient businesses in the process.

Quince
San Francisco’s Quince in the before times / Courtesy Quince

Here’s something that’s been driving me crazy for the past year: Seeing some of my favorite restaurants — popular, successful ones — go out of business because of a lease. Because a contract someone signed years ago — which tied their fate to a specific room in a building — went south during the pandemic.

This bothers me — as someone who spends an inordinate amount of time contemplating the value of intellectual property, brand “world” creation, and audience — because restaurants are so much more than kitchens and dining rooms.

Chefs and restaurateurs have built many of the world’s most beloved and influential brands, but they haven’t captured nearly a proportionate amount of value.

Restaurants provide sustenance and hospitality, yes, but also entertainment, education, identity, culture, and community. This has been dramatically magnified over the past decade by social media, global travel, and the popular rise of food culture.

Yet for most restaurants, their enterprise value is still tied primarily to a room full of tables — and a rigid, unimaginative, now-outdated idea of their business.

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Dan Frommer

Hi, I’m Dan Frommer and this is The New Consumer, a publication about how and why people spend their time and money.

I’m a longtime tech and business journalist, and I’m excited to focus my attention on how technology continues to profoundly change how things are created, experienced, bought, and sold. The New Consumer is supported entirely by your membership — join now to receive my reporting, analysis, and commentary directly in your inbox, via my twice-weekly, member-exclusive newsletter. Thanks in advance.

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