Cashierless checkout. Ghost kitchens. And robotic pizza makers.

Those are only a few of the traits we’ll deal with on this episode of 2025: Tomorrow, Today, a brand new podcast created by GeekWire Studios in partnership with Northern Trust.

In this episode, we’re taking a detailed take a look at the way forward for meals. We’ll speak to restaurant house owners about how they plan to rebound in a post-pandemic world, and listen to from innovators who’re remodeling meals manufacturing, the provision chain and the modern-day grocery retailer.

Listen to as we speak’s episode right here, and subscribe to 2025: Tomorrow, Today in any podcast app to catch future episodes. Continue studying for highlights.

Perhaps no trade has suffered extra in the course of the pandemic than the restaurant trade. But throughout these difficult instances, restaurant house owners are adapting in new and artistic methods. We kick off the episode with Rachel Yang, the co-founder of Seattle’s award-winning Relay Restaurant Group.

The previous yr has been robust for Yang, however she’s determining a path ahead and accumulating useful instruments associated to takeout, supply and on-line advertising and marketing that she thinks will assist her eating places survive for one more 10 years.

“It was a big learning experience for all of us,” stated Yang, pointing particularly to the the corporate’s take-out enterprise.

Moving ahead, Yang stated that she believes eating places will come again, and it comes down to at least one phrase: group.

“The heart of restaurants and bars and hospitality, it’s all about this collision,” stated Yang, who helped begin Revel, Joule, and Trove in Seattle along with her husband Seif. “It’s the heart of the community.”

Rachel Yang, proper, along with her husband Seif. (Photo courtesy of Relay Restaurant Group).

Even nonetheless, eating places are present process a shift with not solely the back-end IT programs that make operations extra environment friendly, but additionally within the precise meals preparation. And one of many greatest traits is the dramatic rise of meal supply and so-called ghost kitchens.

Ghost kitchens enable cooks to organize meals for supply and distribution with out the prices or complications of a public-facing sit-down restaurant. Some specialists say that the ghost kitchen development might seize as a lot as 25% of the general dine-in market, a potential tectonic shift within the restaurant trade.

Journalist Kristen Hawley, editor of the Expedite restaurant know-how publication, stated the off-premises meals preparation operations are rising quickly with a whole lot of hundreds of thousands of funding {dollars} flowing. And that’s beginning to take a chunk out of conventional eating places.

“It’s an easier proposition today at this moment to tell a restaurateur that investing money and time into a ghost kitchen concept will net them profit,” stated Hawley. “Six months from now, perhaps when people are back looking for experiential restaurants, that could change. But I believe that the dining behavior that this pandemic has brought out in consumers isn’t going to change when it is safe to go to a restaurant again.”

As the ghost kitchen idea takes root, operators will search for extra effectivity within the meals preparation itself. Clayton Wood is on the forefront of this transformation, serving as CEO of Seattle robotic pizza making startup Picnic. The startup’s robotic system can crank out 300 individualized pizzas per hour.

Picnic CEO Clayton Wood at Picnic’s CES sales space earlier this yr. (GeekWire Photo / Taylor Soper)

“As food preparation is more automated and can deliver on that promise of convenience and quality, then it is going to get more and more ubiquitous,” Wood stated. “You look at Star Trek and the food replicator ,where they push a button and a steak dinner with a glass of wine pops out … that is sort of a vision of where things are going.”

Grocery shops are also present process a large change, and that evolution might see these meals gathering hubs turn out to be much more important to the communities they serve. Shelf Engine CEO Stefan Kalb helps to make grocery shops like Whole Foods and Kroger extra environment friendly with synthetic intelligence software program that helps decide correct portions of recent produce, meats and different perishables earlier than they spoil.

Kalb says grocery shops will look rather a lot totally different within the coming years, carrying much more perishable gadgets than they do as we speak and probably creating extra competitors for conventional eating places. He wonders if grocers within the subsequent 10 years begin doing “everything.”

“The deli and the hot bar at the grocery store is very profitable,” stated Kalb. “It’s continuing to grow and grocers are investing a lot strategically to grow that part of the store. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day you go into a Whole Foods and half of the Whole Foods is actually a kind of a dining experience rather than a traditional grocery store.”

Subscribe to 2025: Tomorrow, Today in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or any podcast app. This podcast is a partnership of GeekWire and Northern Trust. Produced and edited by Josh Kerns of Cypress Point Strategic Communications.