The Restaurant of the Future is in Holland, but at first glance it doesn’t seem like anything special. It just looks like a cafeteria, with a salad bar and long tables. But there are things going on in The Restaurant of the Future that make this nondescript cafeteria very different.
For one thing, surveillance cameras are everywhere. Customers sign a waiver before entering that acknowledges the fact that their behavior will be observed and used for scientific research. Each person is weighed with their tray of food at the cash register. And the remnants are analyzed to see how much was actually consumed.
This restaurant is actually a partnership with a Dutch university, and their research has revealed some interesting things about the habits and tendencies of restaurant patrons. Women who are with other women tend to indulge more than women who dine with men. Groups of men tend to compete to see who can stuff themselves the most. And in general, Monday meals are much lighter than Friday meals.
This ongoing research has started to drive “food service science,” or the concept that an exact understanding of consumer behaviors can not only help restaurants grow sales, but improve service and satisfaction as well.