It was another long commute home on the 405, with the same old radio tunes playing over and over. Smog laden LA air coursed through my lungs as I finished off what seemed like my 15th cup of coffee. I was listening to a guy on the radio, not sure who he was.
In a nut shell, he discussed the evolution of the entertainment industry and how consumers were actually becoming the entertainment. 50 years ago, a few stuffy executives in LA or NY decided who would be on you TV’s and radios. You would have very little control over who you watched or listened to and that’s it. He continued to explain how things are different today. There are TV shows that let you pick who you want to see (American Idol, The Voice) and ways to completely customize your radio listening experience (Itunes radio, Pandora). The interactivity actually makes the audience an integral part of the entertainment itself.
I thought about what he said and see some parallels with the evolution of the restaurant business and its latest trends. Many years ago you would sit down for lunch or approach the counter and be given a few set choices on a menu. You could order the pizza, taco, or burger and that was pretty much the extent of it.
Now, Like the entertainment industry, the restaurant industry has evolved into an interactive exchange between customer and counter. No longer do you have to settle for a derivative version of what you crave. Concepts like Subway pioneered this idea but it has really taken hold with others like Chipotle, Pizza Rev, and Tender Greens, offering competely customizable options and a trillion choices.
Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I see it as a good thing because I am a control freak and like to have absolute choice when it comes to what I eat! I guess only time will tell if the restaurant industry continues to evolve in this direction.
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