The Restaurant of the Future? Only If We Can Say Goodbye to the Sports Bar

This infographic was forwarded to me a few days ago by another blogger, and I decided to publish it. It suggests the path that will ultimately result in the restaurant of the future – a sort of gaming lounge. It makes sense, given the advances in technology, particularly the marriage between smartphones and games. It’s not my thing, I have to admit. Yet it’s something I’m kind of rooting for. The reason?

I hate sports bars!

I Won’t Shed a Tear If Sports Bars Become Extinct

Sorry jocks. But it’s not for the reason you probably think. I hate them because I despise going to a restaurant and being surrounded by dozens of wide screen TV’s showing dozens of sporting events, from the obscure to the insanely popular. To me, they’re a distraction. And if it’s a major sporting event, like the World Series or the World Cup, eating in a restaurant can be something like having dinner in a ballpark. That’s seldom what I’m looking for when I go out to eat. My wife feels the same.

Even if I have no interest in the sporting event whatsoever, my eyes naturally gravitate toward the screen. And when there are dozens of screens, I’m on sensory overload.

This is not what I come to restaurants for. I came up in life during the 70s and 80s, where restaurants were low key places, with quiet, soothing background music, and dim lighting. It was a perfect place to take a date or to break bread with friends, enjoying casual conversation and each others company. That all began to change – as the 1990s unfolded – and one restaurant after another converted to the sports bar model.

Once that happened, eating out was no longer different – it was what you could do at home. No more respite, no more quiet music, no more bonding with people in a way that builds long-term relationships.

I suppose that the marriage between sports and restaurants is a happy one – for the restaurants. After all, there’s always been an intimate relationship between sports and alcohol, especially beer. For restaurants, the sports bar format has probably enabled them to sell more beer (especially in pitchers), as well as over-priced finger foods that might go well with beer – like one perpetual Super Bowl party.

That kind of “menu” is probably more profitable since it involves a lot less preparation and table service than multi-course dinners. And as we all know, restaurants really make their money on liquor, not on food. Sports mean that they sell more liquor. Score!

Anyway, should these gaming lounges begin to replace sports bars, I for one will be over-joyed – as long as they don’t have me surrounded by dozens of gaming screens while I’m trying to enjoy a quiet meal.

Look at this infographic and see if you can imagine the restaurant of the future becoming something like this. I’m not naive enough to believe that we’ll ever go back to restaurants as being quiet affairs from days of old, not given our current orientation and apparent emotional need for 24/7 entertainment and distraction. But a change in the nature of the distraction might be a welcome development, don’t you think?


Any thoughts you’d like to share on this possibility???

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