While we can’t live in the future, we certainly like to try and predict it. Sports books make their money off of this basic human impulse. But the only way of benefitting from future outcome is to lay down a researched bet and hope that your number comes up. Regardless of how much you think you have a sure thing, betting on the future is still a gamble.
My wife and I have placed a bet on the future of food. This bet involves a belief that our general culture will eventually shift in how it views food and the role that it plays in our daily lives. From our vantage point, we see people hungry to slow down, not speed up. We see a desire for deeper connection in their communities. We see a larger concern for the environment and the future of the next generation. In all three of these, there is a common thread woven that involves the future of food.
In the past, I have referred to Clotaire Rapaille’s book the Culture Code, in which he reduces social mores into a simplified, one word code that is easily understood by all involved. Granted, there is a risk in oversimplification, but in broad strokes his approach makes a lot of sense.
He summarizes that our nation’s code for food is FUEL. We treat food much like we treat gasoline; we want it cheap and want a lot of it. This makes sense why our gas stations are often connected to a food shop or series of fast food outlets. We stop to quickly fill both tanks on our way to the next destination. How we dine is secondary to how fast we dine, and how little we spend for it.
When we opened our restaurant seven and a half years ago, we did it on the premise that HOW we dine is just as important as WHAT we end up eating. This philosophy guided us as we designed our space as well as our menu. We wanted to create a place of conversation, centered on the relationship of the guests that entered, and bring food to the table that enhanced that conversation. Even guests who dine alone participate in an inner dialogue of reflection and thought. Ours is a space meant to foster this process of communication.
I believe the future of food will find the creation of more hubs of connection like this. I believe you will begin to see more and more emphasis on relational hospitality rather than anonymous transactions. The old TV show Cheers had it right, we do long for places where everybody knows your name. And this sentiment is nothing new. I remember countless places my parents ate where literally everybody knew their names. It’s why they went back over and over again. They felt they belonged. For some reason we drifted away from this, and now we want to return.
We went all in on this bet on the future of food and hope others will follow suit. Lincoln is full of future food opportunity. It’s ready for new ideas and the entrepreneurs that gestate those ideas. So don’t hold back. Even if you don’t have a dime, don’t forget that money doesn’t generate the vision. You do. Money follows it.