Food + Tech Connection: the culinary experience in the digital age 

Our understanding of the traditional dining landscape has been evolving and changing; arguably, it is still in flux. During an era where time is a commodity and technology is on the rise, the logical industries to evolve are Food Tech and Hospitality Tech—where convenience and comfort reign supreme. The sharing economy plays a hefty role in the evolution of the aforementioned industries.

Tech companies have been quick to assess the changing dining environment and create solutions that address changing consumer preferences. On the restaurant front, you will find businesses embracing technology to cut down on wait time and human error. Just the other day, I was at Daikaya in Chinatown (Washington, DC) and was given a wait time of 30-40 minutes. My cell number was taken down and I was told that I would receive a call/text when my table was ready so I could roam freely. While I was waiting, I noticed via text that I could actually download an app (NoWait) and be able to see precisely where I was on the waitlist and view how many parties were in front of me. When my table was ready, I received an automated call and also a text. I could reply to the text if I had decided not to wait. My table was then held for a specific amount of time. Gone are the days where you have to lurk by the hostess stand and try to figure out who was before you and who came after you.

Greg Hong, CEO and co-founder of Reserve, spoke recently at the Skift Global Forum—the largest creative business conference in the global travel industry. The SkiftTake on Hong’s presentation was,

Technology helps to make the dining process more streamlined, while keeping the focus on enjoying one another’s company while having a great meal.

We tend to agree. However, we think the statement is more applicable to peer-to-peer (P2P) interactions as opposed to tech in the restaurant industry alone. Food tech within the restaurant industry seems to cut down on human interactions, or at least make them less necessary, something that continues to be increasingly sparse as technology takes over.

In the case of the sharing economy, the response to changing consumer preferences has expressed itself in the form of many different services: grocery delivery, prepped meal delivery, social dining services, chef-on-demand services and more. Online platforms act as an anchor for these trade in services and provide a space to unite supply and demand. ChefXchange, of course, falls into the category of chefs-on-demand and into the broader “on-demand economy”. In the chart below, ChefXchange falls within the “Online/Offline/Communities/Markets” box. We connect Foodies to Chefs who bring the world to their plate.

Food Tech

Food Tech & Media Industry 2015 | created by Rosenheim Advisors

What we are passionate about is keeping those P2P interactions alive—or Chef-to-Foodie (C2F) in this case. You can have a finite amount of time, decide to stay at home or invite people over and still maintain those valuable interactions (and create valuable interactions with your chef). Food technology doesn’t have to be alienating. These days, there is a fine line between, convenience, alienation and isolation. With ChefXchange you only get the former.