Fast Casual Restaurant Interior

November 20, 2018

Fast Casual Homes

Is there a happy medium between complete digital "connectedness" and analogue privacy? We're exploring how the rise of fast casual restaurants could give some indication of the future of smart homes.

Photo Via: Contemporist

We’ve talked quite a bit about the impact technology will have on homes; we’ve discussed aging in place, smart homes, and universal design. We’ve also discussed the rejection of complete “connectedness and its impact on living environments through the growing demand for analogue spaces. However, we hypothesize that both viewpoints will come together to create a “happy medium” for digital tech in t he home. At a recent staff meeting, our project architect, Alycia, drew an interesting comparison between technology and fast food.

Shake Shack burger and friesPhoto Via: Shake Shack
Dominoes PizzaPhoto Via: Domino's

Fast food dominated the restaurant industry for many years; it completely revolutionized the way we think of dining and created an entirely new market that made companies like McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s household names. It also spawned the direct antithesis through the Slow Food movement, creating a niche for farm to table restaurants and organic grocery stores like Whole Foods.

Farmer in field with onionsPhoto Via: Dishing up the Dirt
People eating dinner in a fieldPhoto Via: Bonjour Bruxelles

The Slow Food Movement then metamorphosed to respond to the societal need for fast meals and the emotional want for meaningful, real food. The result is what we now recognize as Fast Casual. Restaurants like Chipotle, Panera, and Corner Bakery have thrived in this niche, causing existing fast food brands to reframe some of their regular menu options in an attempt to bring meaning and customers back to their offerings.

Interior of Fast Casual RestaurantPhoto Via: Timeworn
Interior of Fast Casual RestaurantPhoto Via: Kuudes

Even a decade ago, fast casual was just in its fledging stages, and a decade before that, society would not have been able to anticipate the societal shift in mealtime that is now so prevalent and pervasive. Will Generation Z create the “fast casual” version of privacy within their homes, combining elements of digital connectedness and analogue privacy? Will this result in a mix of rooms for different purposes or the ability to power off the smart home capabilities at the push of a button?

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