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3 trendlettes we’re watching in July

The dynamics shaping what happens inside a restaurant are constantly changing, from technological advances to shifts in the preferences of the young people who traditionally dominate the hourly workforce. This month, Restaurant Business noticed some relationship adjustments that are impacting operations—restaurants are interacting differently with third-party services, their tech and even their own staff.

Phraseology: shared-economy movement

As more restaurants partner with third-party delivery services such as Uber and Postmates, the benefits of the relationships are evolving, with a payback even in recruitment and retention. In the eyes of employees, these pairings aren’t just about outsourcing functions that a restaurant would struggle to provide; Blaze Pizza, for one, says it gets credit for aligning itself with the “better experience” and coolness of being part of the shared-economy movement, the force behind such phenomena as AirBnb or Lyft.

Minimizing tech interference

As more operators add tech, the new goal is to keep it from being a distraction both to staff and customers, says Lou Grande, VP of IT at Red Lobster. “We wanted to minimize the impact against the restaurants and operators,” he says, referring to Red Lobster’s ongoing switch to a cloud-based IT system.

Know-it-all employees

Bolstered by “knowledge” gained from watching Food Network, Top Chef and the like, crew members—especially millennials—don’t turn off the I-know-food attitude when they step behind the counter of a restaurant, forcing managers to offset preconceived notions with a dose of reality.

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