My first visit to America in the mid-1990s was a year-long adventure that plunged me into an entirely different world. The sheer size of everything, from the houses to the streets, was staggering. The generous hospitality of my host family was equally overwhelming. And then there was the food, or rather Essen, as it seemed to be a significant subject on its own. Back then, restaurants, whether they were ordinary diners or high-end Steaklokal, were already turning food into an experience. The availability of food around the clock led me to gain a happy 25 extra kilos.
The food culture was quite distinctive. Even a basic item like yogurt could not be just yogurt; it had to be Low Cal, Low Carb, or Fatfree. You could order a pizza loaded with double cheese, triple cheese, or even cheese in the crust. The food could be carried out in special packaging, with take-aways available everywhere. The Local restaurants and their staff stood out with their unique offerings, personality, and exceptional service, unveiling a level of joy of service that I had not experienced before.
This kind of food culture is slowly taking shape in other places as well. Essen or food is getting a new level of attention, with eating out, pick-ups, and deliveries becoming an everyday norm. This shift is reflected in people’s spending habits, which ultimately benefit the Restaurants. However, not every establishment can ride the wave of this new Gastroboom. To truly stand out and cater to the demands of the digitally savvy and food-centric community, restaurants need to offer more than just a standard menu. They need to provide a social environment where food is not just consumed but experienced.