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Friends of Eater Predict What the Future of Dining Will Look Like

A rendering of what a typical fast casual restaurant may look like in the year 2040
A rendering of what a typical fast casual restaurant may look like in the year 2040
Kelly Kleinfelter

Over the past week, Eater.com has been looking into the future with Eater Future Week, where it thinks ahead about the upcoming years of dining and food.

The site has explored topics like: What will restaurants look like in the generations after ours? How are people preparing to eat when the world ends? What exactly are lab-grown meats, anyway?

So we asked some friends of Eater Miami — notable food writers, restauranteurs and just overall badasses — what did they think the future of dining would look like? Check out their responses below.

Steven S. Editor-In-Chief of The Chowfather

Indoor Farms to table server-less dining pods. And RoboChefs of course.

David R, Editor-In-Chief, Food For Thought Miami

Tipping may become a thing the past. There is already movement in this direction, and the political push for minimum wage increases plus the shortage line cooks will create increasing pressure to even out front-of-house and back-of-house compensation. (Sooner or later the light bulb will go off that there's a connection between the low wages for kitchen employees and their scarcity). Putting service staff on salary without a tip credit will be a big shift, but possibly a necessary one. There have been some interesting success stories, including a couple places that give long-term employees a small share of ownership. There have also been places that tried, and then ultimately balked, at using all-inclusive, no-tip pricing. In Miami, anyway, we're already accustomed to seeing "gratuity added" (or not seeing it clearly marked on the bill, but still having it done!). It would make little difference to the diner if instead, it was "service included" that gets shared with BOH and FOH, but it would require a change in how the restaurants operate.

Gio Gutierrez, Executive Producer, Chat Chow TV

Chef Driven Soylent!

Carla Torres, Ocean Drive Magazine

I'll be able to eat whatever I want and not get fat. #mindandpalateblown

Richard Hales, Owner of Sakaya KitchenBlackbrick Chinese and Centro Taco

The future of the middle tier mom and pop chef driven restaurant may be unsustainable. These restaurants operate on low margins and are being squeezed by the bottom and the top restaurant tiers.  The middle tier has always been champions of fair wages and already pays $15 an hour to employees but when the country moves to a minimum wage of $15 an hour plus health insurance it will be an challenge.  The wages wages in the middle tier restaurants will have to rise also to maybe $20 to $25 an hour to stay attractive.  Couple the rising labor cost with the high cost of responsibly sourced products and the menu prices will move from moderate to expensive.  Will the consumer support the neighborhood place with fine dining prices?  Doubtful, the consumer is screaming for fair wages and responsible products but doesn't want to pay for it.  So like the rest of America the middle will slowly fade away.  Just fast food and fine dining with no middle and that will be a shame.

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