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Food 2.0: How startups are changing the restaurant industry
Today's Restaurant Internet Exclusive
Wednesday, 16 March 2011 09:15

StartUps_homepage_1By: Josh Bob

Your grandmother isn’t on Twitter, but she sure loves the Olive Garden.

Social networking is big - no question - but it’s still far from universal adoption, even in one of the world’s most wired countries. But what do all Americans do in droves, from morning to night, by the millions? Go out to eat. A 2008 Gallup poll showed that, despite the recession, 60% of Americans ate dinner at a restaurant at least once per week. Whether for breakfast, lunch, brunch, brinner, or lupper, we love our restaurants.

Food service is typically not full of early adopters when it comes to technology; heck, it took more than a decade for OpenTable to get any hold in the industry, and now even TechCrunch is asking if they should be disrupted. Restaurant service is a low-margin play defined by sweeping trends, few leaders and many followers, and little innovation outside the kitchen. A restaurant owner’s first question on seeing a new technology will usually be, “Who else is using it?”

That doesn’t mean the industry can’t be changed. Here are five ways that startups are shifting the way you interact with restaurants, whether you know it or not.

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