Trends that sidestep the costs of doing business
Staying afloat as rent rises and consumers demand ever-fresher ingredients requires some creative MacGyvering. Check out these restaurant hacks that address the times.
1. Urban farms
As chefs act on their dreams to bring healthy, hyperlocal, transparent food to the masses, urban farms will help change the rules of engagement, restaurateur José Andrés said at the SXSW tech conference. He envisions growing his vegetable-forward, fast-food concept Beefsteak to 100 units in six years with the help of rooftop farms that can produce up to 4 percent of the food used in the restaurant.
2. Restaurants set sail
With rents soaring, it’s no surprise some new East Coast eateries have gone over the edge—and into the water. Grand Banks is Jersey City’s oyster bar aboard a historic wooden schooner, and Pier 66 Maritime Bar & Grill is stationed on a floating railroad barge docked in New York City’s Hudson River Park.
3. Bright lights, smaller city?
New York City may no longer be the mecca it once was for aspiring culinarians looking to make a name for themselves. With many top chefs opening restaurants in their hometowns and James Beard Award winners hailing from nooks and crannies throughout the nation, many up-and-coming chefs are prefering to refine their game elsewhere. Some believe that’s worsening the Big Apple’s shortage of kitchen talent. Sarah Simmons of NYC’s City Grit recently said, “We in New York are facing a crisis to not have cooks in general."