E AT I N G H E A LT H Y
WELLNESS CHEF, SUSTAINABLE FARMER AND RESTAURANTEUR
CHEF ERIN WADE VINAIGRETTE AND MODERN GENERAL
Convenience has an ineluctable appeal, its own force field and magnetism. Growing up, there was almost nothing I loved more about vacations than room service. There remains something slightly rebellious about eating a meal in your robe and slippers, like playing hooky on normal dining formalities.
There is a texture and a magic specific to eating houses that cannot be digitalized. A great restaurant is after a feeling, a feeling that roots us and connects us to our memories and our physical beings and one another. It’s Also A Pretty Rough Trade.
Restaurants – healthy successful restaurants – make around a 15 percent profit margin. If a restaurant signs up to be one of the “partnered” restaurants with UberEats, for instance, they are charged 30 percent Without much of a debate, we are per transaction. That’s outside of the at risk of becoming a takeout nation delivery fee charged through to the and trading away the slow appreci- customer. Restaurants lose money on ation of the sights, sounds, smells, the the meal and the profit is effectouch and taste that should define tively transferred to -- or parasitized the experience of food. We are also by -- the delivery app. about to surrender any direct connection to the people who prepare The pitch to restaurants is that higher our food. That empathy counts. It’s sales will make it right down the simple: when someone is looking line. But these networks don’t make you in the eye, you really don’t want money delivering food, just like him to cry in (or about) his soup. Google doesn’t make money being a search engine. They are out to Restaurants build a customer base monetize the information generated People traditionally come together over on that familiarity – and we do it and through food. Perhaps now more with human labor, human flaws and by the networks of people using the than ever, with our patience with each human kindness. We learn our cus- service. other thin and our civic fabric fraying, tomers’ quirks and they learn ours. we need that grounding connection. We know that Darcy Robertson likes Because the value of these companies will ultimately depend on scale, Which is why I am asking you, my fellow Romesco dressing and cherries on what they are ultimately gunning for Americans and restaurant-industry insid- her Cobb. We know that Dr. Smith is not the delivery market, which is ers, to put away your phones and give likes his to-go Salacho meat on the only about $4 billion, or even the food delivery apps like Favor, UberEats side so it doesn’t wilt the romaine. off-premise consumption market, and Grubhub a rest—for the sake of our We know this before they tell us, which is an estimated $200 billion. although they always do. business and our customers’ health. But as someone who has spent the last 15 years building a business growing and serving organic and sustainable food, I worry about the hidden costs of convenience.
Put down your phone and pull up a chair.”
Food & Beverage Magazine |January 2017