How’s that working out for you?
The year’s top reads and more from Expedite
I am not one for predictions. This is probably because everyone seems to have some to share around this time of year and, honestly, they don’t ever seem to change much. This year restaurants will get serious about deepening their guest relationships? You don’t say!
I don’t mean to minimize how important it is to think about the future. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, I interviewed Los Angeles restaurateur Caroline Styne about the future of restaurant growth. Styne was a bit glum on 2023, three years past the start of the pandemic but a year of particularly tough inflation and, in her native Los Angeles, major entertainment industry labor strikes. Next year, she hopes, will be better.
“I am excited for the moment in 2024 where we will no longer be dealing with these crippling strikes, where we will be far enough beyond Covid that we can start to get back to normalcy,” she told me. “Things haven’t been normal since Covid.”
“Restaurants reflect the economic factors around them,” she added, noting that everything can change dramatically over weeks, months, years. “It’s hard to know exactly where you’re going to go, because so much is dependent on those outside factors.”
Those sentiments, I think, sum up this year in hospitality and technology. Of course we’re hopeful for a better 2024 — all of us. The US Federal Reserve, our country’s central bank, seems confident it’ll get inflation under control and even reduce interest rates next year.
There’s more good news: In September 2023, employment at bars and restaurants finally returned to pre-pandemic levels. The work seems to be evolving, too. According to year-end data from BentoBox, a restaurant website provider, mentions of “paid time off” in job listings have more than quadrupled this year Mentions of “paid vacation” were up 175 percent this year; that’s nearly triple what they were in 2022.
Before we think too hard about the future, though, let’s revisit the past. I’m proud to share the biggest and best stories from me this year, both on Expedite and off.