Welcome to the future of dining
Updated: Feb 25
The Pretty Fork has had our fingers on the pulse of the restaurant scene in Seattle for the past five years, and here is our outlook for the next 10. As you can guess, home delivery, along with other off-premises dining concepts, will continue to grow. Yet, the consumer will crave the social connection of the dine-in experience. The expectation: BIG experiential bang for their buck, as a matter of fact, the experience may be the most essential part of the meal.
We are talking about: super-personalized service, preferential status, and unexpected surprises. Not to mention uniquely crafted food and beverage with engaging themes to match. The ordinary just won't cut it in the next decade.
Here are only a few of the bellwethers we see in Seattle today:
Robot chefs. Yep, it's here! Seatle startup Picnic was previously known as Otto Robotics, and Vivid Robotics emerged in October from their three-year stealth venture with a pizza-making robot capable of producing over 300 pies per hour.
No menus. Expect personal customization and connection. For the past five years, we have experienced our progressive dinners grow in popularity. Before joining us, diners are asked a few questions about their taste preferences from there co-founders Joey Manley, and Michael Watts works closely with neighborhood chefs to 9-courses unique to the table's palate.
Chef tables. The exclusivity of securing a seat at the chef's table will always be an exciting draw. Concepts like Addo: an incubator kitchen by chef Eric Rivera and located in Ballard focuses on tasting menus appealing to a broad demographic of guests, allowing them to connect up-close and personal with the chef, his stories, and their experience.
Entertaining experience. Themed hidden kitchens will require guests to step outside their comfort zone and truly experience food. Expect to see more themes like "dining in the dark," where a 6-course menu presented blindfolded to the classic murder mystery. We foresee the dining concierge to be on the rise for groups looking for that out of the box activity.
Fur the love. From cat bars to beer-friendly dog parks, there is no reason to leave the furry babies at home. Dining has always been a social experience, and the pups need attention too. Growlers coming soon to Columbia City is a covered off-leash dog park offering you guessed it beer on tap! Can't wait? Us either! Help them reach their goals to open here.
Not-to-be-missed events. We have all heard of Outstanding in the Feild touring the world's most iconic landscapes to bring you a truly delicious experience. Still, in keeping it close to home, glamping will change the farm-to-fork experience drastically. Imagine it: waking to the crisp air and mist of the farm with a tour and personal menu selection for lunch — oyster harvesting for dinner, and a private chef bringing the bounty to life for dinner.
Everybody knows your name: Expect "Cheers" on steroids in the future. The connection between server and manager to remember their guests' preferences and dining history via wearable digital assistant devices and reservation profiles will be a must in the '20s and will likely see reservation engine loyalty on the up and up with Tock at the top of our list for the best in dining experiences.
Off-premises dining isn't going anywhere. And in working with hundreds of local restaurants and chefs, the discussion continues to revolve around how to leverage data to customize and enhance the in-restaurant experience. Taking into account diner preferences to create unique dining experiences enticing the customers back into the restaurant is the trend. Whether it's inclusion for guests' canines or having intimate facetime with the chef, restaurants in 2020 are giving consumers sufficient motivation to say, "Let's eat out."
Curious what's happening in the rest of the country? Check out The National Restaurant Associations outlook here.